Your TV Tech Fix: Save Money By Cutting Back on Your Cable

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Who’s this crazy Matt guy telling readers of to cut back on TV of all things. The nerve!”

Well, I am. And listen up, because this could mean hundreds, possibly thousand of dollars in savings to your bottom line every year. After all, being a TV addict has nothing to do with how much you pay for TV, so why not be a TV addict with a bit more coin in your pocket? 

Did you know that a long time ago, in what seemed like a galaxy far, far away ALL television was FREE. No really. Before cable and satellite, there was actually a time when people had these crazy-contraptions called “antennas” on their rooftops that allowed them to pull in something called “local broadcasts.” You know these today as “the networks.” 

I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out.  Take a long hard look at what you watch on TV. Grab the list of every channel you subscribe to in your package, and circle the ones you frequently watch. What may surprise you is how much of it is available from local networks, like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, etc.

Now ask yourself, if 90% of what you’re watching is available from local broadcast over the air via antenna (not to mention legitimate online viewing options like… why are you spending $80 a month for 150 channels you don’t watch? 

Worried about quality? Don’t. With TV now broadcast in all-digital form, you can get high-quality HDTV from that old, rickety antenna rotting in the attic. Don’t want to give up your DVR? No need. TiVo owners can still DVR their favorite shows, or if you really want to go no monthly route, you can build your own DVR/PVR using a properly configured PC.

Not willing to give up cable entirely? At the very least consider dropping some premium channels or going for a smaller package. You may be able to shave off $30 to $40 bucks from your cable bill and wind up not missing a thing. In fact, premium stations are ripe for cutting out. You can easily drop $20 or more by cutting a few premium stations, like HBO and Cinemax, and replacing it with a subscription to Netflix. Sure, you’ll have to wait for some shows like DEXTER and WEEDS to hit DVD before you can watch them, but movies are pretty much available right away. 

What does this mean to your bottom line? Assuming you can at least shave off $10 from your monthly bill, we’re talking $120 to $1,440 per year. 

Do you know how much technology is costing you? See my 15 Ways to Stop Technology From Emptying Your Wallet at

Satisfy your inner geek while fueling your TV addiction… TV Tech Fix is a column by Matt Whitlock, editor of the Consumer Electronics Community (plus several other gadget-focused community websites), and lover of both technology and TV. In this column, he’ll cover a wide variety of tech topics aimed squarely at the TV addicts of the world – from tips and tricks to help you better your TV experience, to gear recommendations, to the impact technology is having on the TV shows we love.

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  • Nick

    Thanks for this insight, Matt. It boggles my mind why/how people spend so much on cable every month…when there are so many free options.

    I pay the $14 basic/econo cable rate for channels 2 thru 20; and sure, there are other things I *wish* I could see…but the next tier jumps to over $50 a month. That is not happening.

    Ever wonder how many unemployed or low-income families prioritize? Cable seems to be one of the last things to go. Unbelievable.

  • Nick,
    I wish i spent $14 on cable per month! Sadly to get one I spent per month, you have to add $100 to your monthly bill!

  • Linda B.

    I pay around $130 a month to DirecTV. That is for all the premium channels (HBO, SHO, etc) and 3 DVRs. Sorry, but I'm not cutting back. I don't want to wait for Dexter or other great shows to hit DVD. I like the convenience satellite brings. I don't have to hunt something down on the internet. All i have to do is program my DVR and it's ready for me to watch. 🙂

  • Linda B.
    $130 WOW! Thanks for making me feel a little bit better about my monthly bill

  • dragos_ionut2004

    thank you

  • dragos_ionut2004

    This is a very interesting thing if you want to save some money from your cable, but I don't think there's need for that. I use an easysaver program and it helps me a lot. I don't have to cut anything and the money stays still in my pocket.