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…