Is it time to pull the plug on cable TV?

Plenty of couch potatoes have already said goodbye to cable (or satellite) in favor of cheap/free alternatives. Are you one of them? If so, how's it working out?

You may need cable for your Internet service, but do you need it for TV, too?

Last week I asked if it was time to pull the plug on home phone service , and the response was through the roof! Thanks for all the great comments and suggestions. Much to think about.

Next up: cable, the white whale of monthly subscription services. I gotta have my Internet, obviously, but can I live without cable TV? That's an extra $70/month or so I wouldn't mind keeping. (Heck, it would pay for my iPhone!)

Obviously there are countless ways to watch TV that don't involve cable. Services like Fancast and Hulu stream all kinds of good stuff to my PC, while Netflix goes the extra mile and streams shows on-demand straight to my TV (by way of Windows Media Center, an Xbox, a Wii, some Blu-ray players, etc.). Netflix can also deliver shows on DVD, natch.

I can watch (and record) HD network shows using an inexpensive tuner and my media center, which, incidentally, I've done for years. That means I can catch the latest episodes of, say, "Community," and still discuss them around the water cooler the next day.

However, these options will get me only so far. If I want to watch shows like "Breaking Bad" or "Mad Men," I'm sunk: they don't air anywhere except on AMC. My only option would be to wait for them to come out on DVD. And even then, they won't be high-def.

I also have kids who would probably require hospitalization without daily doses of "iCarly" and "Phineas and Ferb." Granted, both are available through Netflix, but not the latest episodes.

And then there's sports. I don't watch a ton, but I do like my college basketball. The question is, do I like it enough to justify $70/month (especially when the season lasts only six months or so)? Dunno.

Ultimately, I don't think I'm willing to make this move just yet, though I'm really sick of ever-increasing cable bills. You're on notice, Comcast: push is rapidly coming to shove.

What about you, fellow cheapskates? Have you cut the cable (or satellite) cord? If so, how's it working out for you? Do you miss the convenience and versatility of the cable box? I'm really interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Bonus deal: As you may have heard, Barnes & Noble just cut the price of its 3G-powered Nook e-book reader to $199, down from $259. At the same time, the company introduced a Wi-Fi-only model for $149. What do you think? Deal or no deal? One thing is certain: Amazon will have to cut the $259 Kindle's price. I predict this will happen within a week day (update: the Kindle is now $189).

 

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