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My Life Without (The) Sky


A couple of months ago I bought a new TV that happened to have an integrated digital decoder. This meant that I could receive Freeview which is, perhaps not surprisingly, free. I've had a Sky Digital subscription for the past 6 years and at £40 a month it occurred to me that if I could live without it, I'd have paid for the TV in two years.

On thinking about it some more I realised that the only things I actually watch on Sky (which contains several hundred channels of mostly rubbish) are The Simpsons, some Spanish football and the odd Premiership match. Oh, and a couple of series like Stargate SG-1 and it's cousin Stargate Atlantis (well, we've got to get our sci-fi fix). Since The Simpsons and things like Stargate can be downloaded from file sharing networks for free (as we did with Lost Season 2 – we devoted an entire weekend watching all the episodes back to back – I only wish the ending was worth it!).

Freeview has 30 or so channels including Sky Sports News which meant I could still watch Soccer Saturday from my sofa when I was feeling lazy. So I decided I'd cancel Sky and see how I got on without it. Now that's not as easy as it sounds.

If you try to cancel Sky they'll put the pressure on to try and keep you thereby lowering their churn rate. It's a well known fact that you can get Sky for half price by threatening to cancel, getting offered it at half price for three months, then doing the same in three months time. Oh, call during the week if you want to try it out! But if you really want to cancel then you have to battle through a half-hour gauntlet of hard-sell. I didn't want that because I knew I could be tempted to keep it. So I did the decent thing…

…I told them I was moving to New Zealand! Within 3 minutes it was cancelled and they were wishing me good luck. Although it would be 4 weeks before they actually turned it off. And that happened to be Monday of last week.

So I've had over a week without Sky and it's been tough going cold turkey. I've missed the sound of Homer Simpson saying "D'Oh!". I've missed several good football matches. And I've missed randomly flicking through the music channels. Initially I wanted to pick up the phone and be re-connected, but now I'm realising that there are plenty of other decent things to watch, and more importantly there are many more interesting things to do than watch TV!

Of course it could be that I'm in such a good mood that finally the vastly under-rated yet hilarious Garth Marenghi's Darkplace has been released on DVD that I'm pretending life without Sky will be okay. Only time will tell…

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

5 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Well done John! I haven’t got Sky or even Freeview.

    The holiday cottage that I was staying in last week had Sky and I couldn’t believe how many channels there were! I found it absolutely bewildering, particularly when presented with about twenty channels all showing the same programme. The only thing I found that appealed (apart from laughing at the home shopping and religious channels) was The Simpsons, some sci-fi and bits of BBCs 3 and 4. And they show the best of those last two on the terrestrial BBC anyway.

    I’ve done the maths for you John: 12 x £40 = £480, which is enough for a Mac mini with the RAM upgraded to 1 GB and an 80 GB hard drive. What are you waiting for? 😉


  2. You have to pay for the simpsons?
    Its on free to air tv here, pay tv is nowhere near as common as foxtel would like, I think less then 50% of people have it

    we have 6 channels in perth, the ABC, SBS which is like ABC but smaller (a lot of anime’s are dubbed and subbed by SBS, they do good work with international content) and the 3 ad supported channels (one of which has the simpsons)


  3. John: Tell you what, if I manage to actually save that money over the next year (rather than spending it on sweets) then maybe I’ll finally get one!

    Murdats: Only 6 channels?! Actually, back when we used to have 4 channels in the UK (I remember those dark days when we had just 3) you were always guaranteed something decent to watch – but as the channels went up the net quality went way down…


  4. Well done sir. Furnish Murdoch’s pockets with nowt!

    Freeview is just as good as having the million Foxified channels. The only things I miss are the footie (=good excuse for visit to the pub) and the US CNN (which I wouldn’t even get with Sky).

    News 24, Sky 3, ITV3 and BBC1 are more than enough entertainment for anyone with an IQ above that of a lettuce.


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