The Hidden Benefit Of Canceling Our Cable

by Mike Julianelle
cancelled cable

We cut the cable cord about a year ago, and it’s been paying dividends ever since — in some unexpected ways.

We just didn’t see the need anymore. What with our Roku offering easy access to Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon Prime, plenty of pay-per-view options, along with our HDTV antenna that allows us to see what hilarious hi-jinx the Today Show crew was getting up to (RIP Billy Bush), cable no longer seemed necessary. My favorite sports teams aren’t local anyway, so I’m used to going to the bar to see the Dolphins on Sunday, and my wife doesn’t let me watch baseball in the first place, so that was a non-starter regardless.

The one thing we thought we’d miss was the DVR, but who needs a DVR when everything is streaming already?

Once we’d gotten rid of Time-Warner’s hellish, antiquated cable services (when are you going to do away with those unwieldy, super-expensive packages that include dozens of channels no one watches and go a la cart, cable? You idiots!), we were saving money. Even with the handful of subscriptions we were utilizing to get everything we need. And then there’s the hidden benefit of cord-cutting.

Remember when you were a kid, and you would spend all Saturday morning watching cartoons? And then you’d spend all Saturday afternoon begging your parents for the stupid toys being shoved down your throat in commercial after commercial? Well, say what you want about the dangers of technology, but now that we don’t have cable, my kids don’t see any of those ads. They’re forced to learn about toys on the playground, or on playdates, or at Target.

It’s amazing, really. Obviously, I can’t pretend that my son doesn’t get wind of toys via other means — of course he does. And TV shows have found, and will continue to find, other, perhaps more insidious ways, of shilling. But there’s something really nice about not having to worry about my son falling prey to an ad for a terrible toy after seeing it five times during his favorite show.

Think about all the ads you saw as a kid. Think about all the times you ran to your parents and asked for a toy solely because you saw an ad for it! I remember I wanted this idiotic remote control truck. I think it was called “The Claw” because little claws were on the tires to help it climb on tough terrain, such as you would find in the grassy backyard of a house in the Connecticut suburbs. The ad was killer. When I finally saw the toy in person (it was not my destiny to acquire one), it was a piece of junk. I blame TV.

Thank god, then, for streaming. Most of the stuff we watch has no ads, so much so that when we are at my parents and a commercial comes on, my son is almost disoriented. And then he immediately wants whatever terrible and loud, expensive yet worthless, loosely Star Wars or superhero-related toy was being shoved in his face. Then I tell my son, no, yell at my parents, and grab the bourbon.

Without cable, there’s a lot less yelling. Well, not really. But there’s definitely a lot less awareness of new toys. And that is a tremendous benefit. Not only do we save money by getting rid of cable and paying a handful of small subscription fees, we also save money by reducing my son’s exposure to idiotic toys he’ll stop playing with two weeks after he can’t live without them.

Which is exactly what would have happened if my parents had bought me The Claw. I still want it though.