Today’s post, “Free TV: Stop Paying for Television” is courtesy of me, trying to sound like Nelson Smith from FinancialUproar.
I don’t know how many articles need to be written about how you can get free TV before everybody clues in and stops paying for it.
Worse, the average TV bill is $60 a freaking month.
Quiz: what technology product increases in price 5% per year, but doesn’t improve?
Yup, the average TV bill has gone up 5% a year. Cheap credit ruins everything. I should throw all my money into Rogers, BCE, and Telus stock.
One pastime for Canadians (besides endlessly discussing how we’re different from and superior to Americans) is complaining about the telecomm oligopolists that I just mentioned. Guess what? YOU’RE the one stuffing their pockets, TV subscriber. If you don’t understand the term “sub”, read Fifty Shades of Grey.
When I got dinged for a $2 rate hike on my internet — when Rogers thought they could change my binding contract with them midterm — I fought. I got my ten bucks back, even though it was my ten bucks in the first place and it wasn’t worth my time. Most of you schlubs did nothing to fight the power. You opened that letter, shrugged, and proceeded to bend over for Rogers, like the obsequious Canadians that you are. Oh, don’t worry about Roger’s CEO, Nadir Mohammed. He still got his $8.5 million and a raise this year.
If you’re paying for television, and are desperately trying to reconcile this with your belief that you’re not a loser, do something. Don’t waste your time on excuses (“I need TV for sports!”, “I won’t be able to catch my fave series” — I can actually hear a whiny loser voice saying these things in my head right now, should I get that checked out?). Just stop paying for television. Cancel it. Maybe it won’t take effect for one billing cycle, but get rid of it ASAP.
Here’s my guide for living free of cable bills and getting free TV:
Free TV Tip #1 – Get a VHF/UHF Antenna
Thanks to the digital transition (brought to us by America and copied by the CRTC), you can get absolutely FREE, HIGH-DEFINITION television. No need to pay an extra $20 a month for a stupid “high def” package. I live in the country, so I get one channel, CTV (yuck, I’ll take the crab juice). If I bothered to put up an antenna, I’d definitely get a few more, e.g. CBC, TVO, and possibly Global, but I don’t watch enough TV anymore to bother.
Free TV Tip #2 – Call Up Your Internet Service Provider
Negotiate a lower rate or switch to a competitor’s cheaper offer.
Notice I’m not telling you to call up your TV provider and negotiate a lower rate. Because you should cancel your TV service. You don’t need it. Your internet is the king of all connections — it is your portal to free TV (see the rest of this list).
Trust me, your TV provider will grovel when you cancel. In fact, your internet provider might even grovel. When I refused to take TV with my cheap internet, Rogers pulled out all the stops. I got offered cable TV for $15 a month, all in, for my entire contract. You haven’t seen desperation until you refuse the Rogers bundle. Unless you’ve seen my ex-girlfriends (this is an homage to Nelson, remember?).
Free TV Tip #3 – Focus on good shows…
…and watch them for free. Don’t just sit down and watch three hours of reruns. Focus on getting the maximum possible value from the time you waste on television. Paradoxical, I know.
I’ve chuckled at The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, but the greatest TV comedy of all time was Arrested Development. And it was cancelled in 2006. How does anything top that? Mercifully, it’s returning for a fourth season in 2013 (apparently only on Netflix, which may convince me to finally use the “free trial”).
Shows that are worth watching, in your opinion, should be limited (otherwise, you have no taste). Focus on those.
Here’s my personal list of shows worth watching:
- Sons of Anarchy
- Breaking Bad – although I haven’t watched past the third season so it may have gone downhill. If you post any spoilers I’ll ban your IP.
- The Walking Dead
- South Park
- The Simpsons
Dexter – it jumped the shark a few seasons ago but I’ll keep watching it.
- Til Debt Do Us Part
- Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule
A lot of these can be watched LEGALLY and for FREE on the Internet. Don’t want to watch them on your dinky laptop? Do you have a nice big flatscreen like me? Refer to #4.
I am a major newshound. How do I get my news without cable?? I read. No Peter Mansbridge’s shiny forehead for me. But, if you want, The National airs on the CBC’s website, as does the excellent program Marketplace.
If you can’t watch your favourite shows on the net, then borrow the DVDs. From friends? Nah. I watched Weeds, up to and including season 5, courtesy of the Peterborough Public Library. Thanks for your tax dollars, I really learned a lot.
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Free TV Tip #4 – Buy an HDMI cable
An HDMI cable is awesome, so long as you have a laptop with an HDMI output. I bought an HDMI cable a couple years back on eBay for like 2 bucks. I’ve heard they have them at Dollarama now. Don’t be an idiot and buy Monster cables. Don’t even pay the Wal-Mart price. On a recent trip to a Canadian Wal-Mart, the cheapest HDMI cable they offered was $12, and it was out of stock. All of the other options were $20+. Ridiculous. So much for “low prices”.
When I’m working around the house, I’ll hook up my laptop to the big screen with my HDMI cable and listen to Dave Ramsey for background noise.
Want to watch a DVD? Hook up your laptop to the TV. Playing Team Fortress 2? Hook up your laptop to the TV. Streaming a show (legally) from the internet? Hook up your laptop to the TV. Watching a (legally) downloaded movie? Even the average Canadian could see the pattern by now.
Free TV Tip #5 – Defy MoneyLifeandMore
OK, so you can’t figure out the subtext of Tips #3 and #4 and you want to pay for your entertainment.
Clearly you’re incapable of making decisions and planning ahead, so sign up for Netflix. It’s vastly cheaper than the “on demand” ridiculousness peddled by Rogers and Bell.
Another option is using RedBox — even though MoneyLifeandMore FIGURED OUT THE CONSPIRACY OF THE SUPER DANGEROUS HIDDEN COST OF REDBOX.
Finally, if you MUST, and I really mean MUST, you could always pay to download episodes of a show on Amazon or iTunes. It’s something like a buck an episode. If you only have a few favourite shows, that’s cheaper than cable; still too rich for my blood.
Free TV Tip #6 – don’t watch so much TV ya dinghus
I’ve been off work since the start of May and I watch vastly less TV than ever before in my life. I see now that TV was an opiate. Sure, it helped me de-stress after a long day. But, at the end of the night, I wasn’t any further ahead. I have not sat down and watched TV since the Olympics were on in July. Even then, I might have watched one hour of coverage when my brother visited. I got bored of it and went upstairs to argue on the internet.
Since leaving work, I’ve watched Sons of Anarchy, Til Debt Do Us Part, and a lot of great movies. That’s it.
Seriously, there are already so many time sucks in modern life — reading books, spending time with your family, arguing with me on the internet — that TV just isn’t necessary anymore.
Liberate yourself, and your wallet. Stop paying for television. Comment if you want but I’m not asking a question to encourage it. </Nelson>