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No Phone, No Cable… Living Just Fine

I just saw this report over on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website talking about the cancellation/removal of land-line phones in favor of cell-phone-only service. We are apparently at a point where one-in-five American homes have removed their plain ol’ telephone service in favor of exclusively using cell phones. The wife and I have been this way since 2004 when we moved into our first apartment, and continue to be this way in the new house. In addition to that, we also canceled our cable television service shortly before moving, and continue to operate with no traditional television service.

You know what? Things are just fine.

In terms of telephone service, it makes complete sense to abandon the land lines. While the quality of cell phone calls still leaves a lot to be desired, it suffices more than enough for my phone conversation purposes, which typically do not last longer than one minute unless I am calling my parents. If I am on the road or otherwise out and cannot be reached, my simply not answering the phone is exactly the same thing as someone calling me and not being home to pick up the phone. Combine that with text messages that completely replace voice mail in terms of disseminating tiny bits of information in quick, easily-digestible form… well, you’ve got a winner.

As for television, it is equally fine without it. We have enough things to keep us busy after the move that we have no time to just sit around and mindlessly watch television, anyway. Once things settle back down a little bit (which they are already beginning to do), we still have more than enough viewable-passive-media to keep us entertained until the ends of time without needing to obtain anything else. Throw video games into the mix, and I have a hard time understanding why I would ever actually need cable service on my television. In fact, the word “television” does not accurately describe that 50″ Kuro in my living room now, since everything from that to the “old TV” to the computer monitors are really nothing more than display surfaces of varying sizes and aged technology. Whether it’s a video game, a DVD, a Blu-ray, episodes downloaded online and burned to DVD+RW for viewing on the PS3 or 360… all of these display surfaces act in exactly the same way without needing to pay someone to be constantly broadcasting a live signal to them which I have no interest in tuning into, anyway.

I will admit there is a strange sort of “learning curve” to not being able to just sit down, hit a power button, and expect an in-progress video. Everything must be manually initiated. In the long run, I prefer this. Beyond the cost savings, I find that I gain precious minutes here and there that might otherwise be spent mindlessly flipping channels before realizing there is nothing to watch and starting up some other activity. Now-a-days, I just go right into whatever that “something else” would have been.

I’m constantly reminded of that Seinfeld episode where Kramer wants to cancel his mail. Can we do that, yet?

4 Comments

  1. Tekkaman-James

    May 11, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    My wife and I have been land-line free since about 2000, and cable tv free since about 2003. Much like you’ve said, cellphones have evolved enough to warrant not having a land-line. As for tv, high-speed Internet has really made this an unnecessary luxury. Between services like Hulu and all the major tv stations’ streaming services, having cable is all but pointless. Ain’t the future grand?

  2. My parents stopped using land lines about three years ago and we’ve been using cell phones ever since. My parents still can’t give up cable tv, and I only use my own tv for cable on Wednesday nights when new South Park and Lost airs. With Lost ending soon, season wise, and South Park being on break I’ll be watching no TV until next fall or so.
    I’m pretty sure I won’t be having cable once I move out. Lost will be over by then, and I can catch South Park online for free.
    Then, of course, I’ll be wanting to watch and catch up on anime and video games. I still need to catch up on One Piece, and I need try Fall Out 3…Yeah I have no XBox…The newest consoles I have are PS2 and a DS Light.

  3. I don’t have a land line right now, but I do actually want one. It’s so much better and cheaper for overseas calls. I suppose Skype is an option for that, but the quality isn’t as good and those 10-10 numbers give great rates. If I had a little extra money, I would consider a land line.

    I’m trying to cut back on TV actually, the main reason a lot of it being the mindless flipping that you’re talking about. I still watch certain things (just watched a new episode of House and when football season is here, I need it!) so I won’t be giving it up soon.

  4. Yeah, I use my cellphone for all calls. I didn’t ditch the landline, but I have bare bones service for it ONLY in case of a 911 emergency (with cellphones they can’t pinpoint you without asking you yet).

    As for cable tv, I’m too addicted to Doctor Who and Torchwood to give that up (takes far too long to hit DVD Vs broadcast for these shows), plus adult swim Bleach watching (I gave up on Code Geass some while ago xD).

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