What Is The Cable Project

The Cable Project: How our family is getting rid of cable


So, what is the Cable Project?

Welcome!! Simply put, the Cable Project is our family’s attempt to eliminate our cable bill and find alternative tv sources (e.g. Netflix, digital antenna).  This blog serves as a testing ground and recap of what’s worked and what hasn’t along the way.


What’s in it for me? Why should I bother reading The Cable Project?

Good question!  As we started out on this journey, the information we came across was interesting on the surface but really pretty limited in terms of how to put it into action.  If you’re looking for ACTIONABLE, STRAIGHT-FORWARD tips to trim down your own cable bill, then you are in the right place.  Looking for something other than “buy an antenna, cancel cable bill”?  Not sure how to proceed and don’t want to spend a small fortune trying to do it, then you’re in the right place!  We’ll give you in-depth reviews of products, services and strategies that we’ve tried…check out our Resources page for more information.  Any questions or something you’re curious about?  Send us a message and let us know what to cover.


Why are you going through all this hassle?

The short version…we just don’t watch enough TV to be spending this amount of money every month.  What’s held us back has been a fear of technology and our laziness.  It is frankly pretty easy to just drop yourself on the couch, push a button and zone out. Simple!



Cold, snowy winters like this will make you re-evaluate your cable needs!!

The long version…
It was a brutally, cold winter in Chicago, shortly before our youngest child turned one.  One cold night we got our DirecTv bill in the mail and surprise, surprise…our rate was going up!  Fellow subscribers might sense my sarcasm.   Now, the actual increase wasn’t all that significant (~$7/month).  Didn’t matter – we/I had reached our/my limit.  Could we afford the increase?  I guess so.  Did we really feel like coughing it up?  NO!  You see this was one of the COLDEST winters on record in the midwest, with record snowfall and multi-day stretches where we were forced to huddle inside and avoided even opening the door.  TV would have been a big activity you’d think.  Even though we were locked inside a good portion of the time, we realized that we just simply don’t watch TV very often.  When the TV was on, we tended to watch movies and kids shows that we’d recorded or purchased.  There were few actual series we watched on a regular basis and of the few that we did watch, they weren’t even current shows on the air.  So then, WHY were we tied to a satellite bill feeding us 100s of channels that we don’t even watch??  At over $100/month now, the cost outweighed the benefit and we started to consider how we could break away from the trap.  And yayyy the CABLE PROJECT was born!


Our Goal: figure out if (how) we can get rid of cable.


Our Challenge: figure out how to NOT miss out on sports, and NOT get overwhelmed by technology options, and in general NOT make life more complicated.



What’s been holding you back from trying this before?
Mostly just fear of missing live sports events to be honest.  We are big sports fans — NFL, MLB, college.  It’s our go-to thing to watch when we can’t find anything else…which seems to be pretty often.  Since we don’t have time to watch a lot of other shows, it’s easy to just pop a game on.  One big fear has been if we get rid of cable, how do we keep access to live sports events?  Oh yeah…and being lazy.  Just seems like a lot of effort.


What are the rules?
Well, we aren’t planning on stealing cable or pirating anything…I guess that’s a rule.  Other than that, not to many rules.  There are a couple items on our list though that we’d need to have.  These aren’t what I’d call rules but are more of features/things we’d need to have or would not be able to cut the cord.

  • NFL viewing option.  We are big NFL fans…though for different teams.  At least it makes for interesting Sundays.  We’ve gotten the NFL Sunday Ticket in the past but as our family’s grown and life has gotten more hectic we ended up missing some games here and there.  Plus, with more games being shown during the week, not really worth it in our view.  That being said, missing an entire season just because we cut the cord isn’t going to fly.  At a minimum, we’ll need to somehow pick up the local games.
  • MLB.  Yes, we’re also baseball fans.  Do you see a sports theme emerging?  🙂  This one is less complicated though with most of our viewing time spent on the Chicago White Sox.
  • Other sports.  College football, basketball come to mind.  It was interesting to see CBS Sports stream all the games for the 2014 NCAA Tournament and am hoping that becomes more common going forward.  We don’t routinely get to watch our alma maters, so would put this in the “nice to have” camp.
  • Kid shows.  We have three kids — soon to be four — and let’s face it…they like watching their shows.  At this point, we have a lot of episodes from Disney Junior, NickJr and PBS recorded. As long as we can maintain that kind of access somehow, we’ll be fine.
  • No overly technical setups.  Did I also mention we’re lazy?  Lazy might not exactly be the right way to describe it.  I don’t want to have to connect six cords, go to a settings menu and then login to five different programs in order to watch one show.  I’m the first to admit that part of the lure of cable has been simply pushing a single button, turning on shows and mindlessly flipping through 100s of channels (I never watch).  In order for this to work, we need a relatively easy setup that we can replicate on all three of our TVs.  Hopefully not asking for too much.


Wow!  Cutting cable, you must be pretty tech saavy?
Well, I know how to open a web browser and get this site up and running (yay me!).  However there are a whole host of other scary tech and home renovation projects we’ve procrastinated over and avoided due to our technical capabilities….I’ll spare you the details but for now I’ll rank us in the “average” category.


Ok – when do you start?
Right now!!  We aren’t canceling our service just yet but the goal is to try to make the switch as soon as we address all of our above needs.  We’ll provide as much detail as we can on the different options we try.  Consider our family your crash test dummy in the cable cutting arena!  We also welcome any suggestions you might have.  Thanks for following along!