As part of minimalism, we try to reduce stuff from our life every now and then. Like Bruce Lee said, “hack away the unessential”. You may recall some of our minimalism activities from the past like selling our car or the minimalist wardrobe. This time around we wanted to experiment with cutting out satellite TV from our life.
How it started?
For starters, none of us in the family watch satellite or cable TV that much. The only interesting thing we watch together on TV is cricket. My parents watch news at random times, but regularly in the morning and night. My mom watches a couple of comedy shows in one channel. That’s pretty much all that happens with satellite TV. We do watch some movies once in a while on a couple of channels. That made me wonder if I can make some arrangements for news, cricket, movies and get rid of satellite connection altogether.
The first thing I did was arrange a TV with a media player for my parents. I already had an old 32” TV from 2005 which we stopped using since we purchased a new TV in 2011. It was still working. I also had an old android media player too. We stopped using it since it is unable to play 4K formats. So got a new media player which replaced it. Given that the 32” TV cannot anyway display 4K video, it can be coupled with the old media player.
I placed the TV and media player in my parents bedroom and explained how they can use it to watch youtube videos. In no time they learned enough to be able to search, browse and watch their favorite news anytime. In fact once in a while they would come tell me that they visited switzerland or some other exotic place on youtube. With that, we don’t need satellite TV for watching news at random times anymore. They watch what they like when they want.
Live news and cricket
For live news and cricket we depend on JioTV running on my android TV. Since we have a couple of Jio cell phone connections, JioTV comes for free. Of course we don’t get all the channels that we used to watch. So we do lose some cricket matches if they are not aired on the channels supported by JioTV.
For movies we again depend on JioTV, YouTube in addition to Amazon prime. That pretty much takes care of all our entertainment needs.
Our experience so far
I started this as an experiment in January 2021. I called up my satellite TV provider and asked them to disconnect it for 3 months. And in those 3 months, we did not feel the need for satellite TV at all. But just to be sure, at the end of 3 months, I called up the provider again and asked them to extend for another 3 months. They agreed on the condition that I need to pay a reconnection fee when I need the connection again. I agreed. However, nothing changed in our behavior. We were perfectly fine using JioTV, YouTube and Amazon prime. Yes, once in a while JioTV might have connection issues or slow network, but it did not bother us.
So finally at the end of 6 months, I finally decided to disconnect the satellite TV for good. I called up the provider to disconnect. I had to lose whatever amount was left in the account, but it does not matter. Now we are free of satellite television!
This is one more experiment in minimalism that was successfully executed. The point of this exercise is not to save money, which ia already a small amount to start with. Neither is it to reduce our distractions. It was a plain and simple question of whether satellite TV is providing us any value. An exercise we like to conduct on each and everything we own as part of our minimalism clean up activity.
As a side effect of this clean-up I have more free time too. You see, every few months or so, the dish antenna would not receive signal. It is usually cloudy here in Bangalore, so unless the dish is directly pointed to the satellite, it does not pick up properly. I have to call up the satellite TV provider and they would make a house visit. They replace some joints, or connectors or cables, adjust the dish or replace the setbox and charge me for that in addition to the service charge for visiting our place to repair. This got very frustrating for me. Now, I don’t need to call those folks anymore and waste my time on them!