Starting off with this update because in the half decade since originally writing about cutting the cord with the cable company there have been sweeping changes to modern lifestyles.
Originally saving $60 a month when money was tight seemed like great advice for people living with less. It has actually been people with more money in their pocket, active lifestyles, and home ownership that have cut the cord more often. I've also heard about the new reality of $100+ cable and satellite bills, which is even tougher to justify when times are good. Cutting the cord seems easier than ever.
Along with it has been the growth of interest in Netflix, Google Play, and other online media outlets. The newer alarming trend is when Canadians choose to get US Netflix, which usually comes with an associated proxy fee or some other hardware cost. It catches me by surprise how many people are choosing to pay for video services acquired through piracy. It is clear that Canadian online offerings aren't matching demand or the trend toward globalized media consumption.
Keep cutting the cord folks.
In 2009 I started getting those "I'm getting ripped off" feelings again. Understandably the new water meters and power meters have a mixed purpose of conservation and socially engineering use away from peak hours on a tight system. (Inevitably they may experience'mission crawl' and be misused for profit or punishment) But, one thing I couldn't understand was the steady price increase on local cable bills. In our area Cogeco has been granted regional monopoly on services - which is ok in Welland where the above ground wires practically never fail. In St. Catharines outages are frequent especially near St. Paul and Queenston. I felt sorry for my friends in St. Catharines who could not experience the freedom from high prices and shifty business practices.
As I looked over the utility bills it struck me to evaluate other TV/Phone options. Turns out that the price of Cable TV went from $43 to $55 on the bill (approx. $60 after tax). This wasn't worth it since everyone in the family was either too busy or not interested in watching TV (esp. during this beautiful summer). It was obvious and easy - cancel cable TV. But this is where the interesting part starts.
I have been advocating the use of photovoltaics (solar panels) to make a ONE TIME PAYMENT for lifelong electricity. Due to the impending ATSC conversion in North America all of the local antenna stations have digital transmissions, and even they will after the Canadian analog shutdown in 2011. So I acquired some antennas. No regrets - better TV, local TV, one time payment TV.
Addition (2010): Things continue to go well without Cable Television. Cleaned up the coaxial wiring layout in the house to get much better reception. Changed the Antenna from a Motrak antenna to an Antec. Tested a DB8 antenna at a relatives house. Still working on a DVR, but trying to make it a DIY job with Linux to add a AM/Shortwave record component.
I included a channel list with this article originally, it has been moved to http://www.kurtismccartney.com/niagaratv
Also afterward I began listening to the radio more, see: http://www.kurtismccartney/radiorenaissance