Living Without Cable TV

Some of you may be considering the mobile lifestyle, but wondering how you’ll get your TV fix without cable. The obvious answer, certainly being yelled at their screens by visitors here from the minimalist blogs I’ve been frequenting of late (more about that in another post) is “Stop watching TV!” or at least “Watch less TV!”

While I can agree that television is a big time sink and a bad influence, I’ll also admit to watching my share of it. So if you are going to hit the road without having to go off TV cold turkey, what can you do?

There’s satellite TV. It will work almost anywhere, except that nice shady spot in the deep woods. It is also expensive – they don’t give you a free system for an RV like they do for a fixed house; you’ll pay $1000 or more up front.

If you have a decent internet connection, there’s a lot of good TV to be had online. Many shows, old and new, as well as movies, can be found on Hulu, but if you are on an internet plan with a usage cap, be careful. You can certainly watch a few shows and maybe stream a movie from NetFlix once in a while, but if you want to veg out all night you’ll hit your limit very quickly, unless you have a truly unlimited plan. To my knowledge, aside from grandfathered plans, the only carrier offering truly unlimited data is T-Mobile.

Of course there’s always the antenna. That old bat-wing antenna on your roof will pull in the new digital stations from as far as 50 miles away, and I know this from actual experience. Right now I’m over fifty miles from the nearest TV station but I get a crystal clear picture and sound of all the major networks, PBS, and assorted independent channels, about two dozen in all, for free, using just the antenna that was already installed at the factory on the roof of my 30-year-old motorhome.

Here’s a good article on watching TV without cable or satellite. It has links to a few good sites for finding shows online that you can’t find on Hulu.

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2 responses to “Living Without Cable TV

  1. Is Apple TV something? $99 I read, but I still (sort of) don’t understand the concept, although I’m sure it’s something like buying TV shows on iTunes.

    I don’t watch TV normally, in fact, even with a TV in the hotel room I am in right now, I don’t find it interesting. I’d rather watch my DVDs or movies. OR read.

    I love this blog by the way 🙂 BF and I have thought about the RV lifestyle.

  2. HomelessOnWheels

    Good question. Apple TV is one of a number of different hardware devices that allow you to view content from online (in AppleTV’s case, that includes movies and shows from iTunes) and files from your computer on your television set. It connects to your TV and your network. Google TV is similar, though it is available as a standalone device or built in to DVD/Blu-Ray players. There are also game consoles and other boxes that will let you stream NetFlix. You could accomplish the same thing without needing another box and another remote by connecting your computer to your television. I’d say if you rarely watch TV shows and prefer movies, you’d be a good candidate for ditching the TV entirely and using your computer. It probably already has a DVD player, and you can also stream movies from Netflix, Amazon, etc. Only limitation might be screen size; if you are used to a big 30, 40, or 50-inch screen, it might be hard to downsize to a 15, 17, or 20 inch laptop screen or desktop monitor.

    I’m glad you like my blog, and as for the RV lifestyle, if you move around alot or just enjoy traveling the country it is a great option. You don’t have to unpack and repack everything each time you move, and you get to sleep in your own bed every night, no matter where you are. It helps that you are already comfortable as a minimalist – I’m still in learning mode in that department, but getting there.

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