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Prompted By Cutting the Cord

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Neither of my children has a landline, nor network TV. One doesn’t own a TV. If he wants to watch a streaming service, he has a projection system hooked up to his computer. He projects the image on a wall or screen opposite the projector. My other child uses her TV for gaming, watching movies and such. The notion of network TV is far-fetched, antiquated for them.

We have lived in our home for 36+ years, so of course we had phones in most rooms when we moved in. There was no alternative at the time. In fact, we installed a phone system, which ties into the doorbells. It rings through the phone. This was very modern at the time, but now would require us to tear out the whole system (embedded in our walls, so a major renovation). We even had two lines – one for outgoing FAXs and also used for business calls. We dropped that line long ago.

Our cable provider is Comcast and we have their “triple play” service, that is- we get our phone, internet and cable service from them. My husband has looked at dropping one of the services, but it is MORE expensive! We also live in a rather large stone house and there is virtually no cell service in certain parts of the basement (which is finished and has a large TV in one room), so relying just on our cellphones isn’t practical. Also, we have been in the house so long, we still have certain accounts that are tied to the landline phone number.

My husband is an early adopter of technology and we bought TiVos (for three of the TVs in the house, and they are linked, so we can watch shows recorded on one from other TVs) years ago, and have upgraded them as they wore out. TiVo is the brand name of a type of DVR. All our TV is run through the TiVo, which runs through the Internet. When the Internet goes down (which seems to happen frequently these days) we lose the program guide for the TiVo, which programs about 10 days ahead, so we can set up shows to record that far in advance. We set up a “season pass” for series that we want to record over and over again, like “Jeopardy”, which we watch every week night, whether we are home or not. We can go back any time and catch up.

We can record on multiple channels at a time, have access to various streaming services, etc, though we do have to pay for each, so we do NOT have Paramount+, for example. We subscribed to Disney+ for a while, but found we weren’t watching much on it, so unsubscribed. We do not have Peacock, so cannot see the NBC shows after they initially air. But we usually record what we wish to see. We did invest in an Apple TV+ device a few years ago. I HATE the remote control and find it very difficult to control, but do enjoy many of the shows on that service.

So we are somewhere between modern and not, streaming more and more shows, but not giving up on that landline (though I never answer it these days). The only person who still uses the landline is our Martha’s Vineyard caretaker, who still doesn’t call on our cellphones. I know if someone calls on the landline, they don’t know us and I won’t answer.

Still, we won’t cut the cord.


Profile photo of Betsy Pfau Betsy Pfau
Retired from software sales long ago, two grown children. Theater major in college. Singer still, arts lover, involved in art museums locally (Greater Boston area). Originally from Detroit area.

Characterizations: been there, right on!, well written


  1. Wow Betsy, thanx for the tech tour. And indeed it’s a generational thing – neither our son nor his friends seem to have a landline.

    And altho we still have one, no one we know calls us on it, we never answer it. and never check for messages – but we too hesitate to cut the cord!

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      We also screen calls to our landline, Dana. One person we know still calls the Newton line, one the Vineyard line. That’s it, so I do monitor them, but we rarely pick up any longer, as you point out.

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    We have pretty similar arrangements, although we also get Netflix and Hulu. I am not very good with the remotes other than Comcast, but thankfully my husband has mastered them. I keep saying I need to write down the directions. Also big Jeopardy fans.

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      Even without cutting the cord, we do subscribe to several premium channels, Laurie. We’ve long had Netflix, Prime and HBO. A few hears ago, Dan (my early adopter) got an Apple TV+ device. With that we could subscribe to that station, as well as Hulu, the Criterion Collection, and a few others, so we pay for other streaming services (Netflix, Prime and HBO as part of our Comcast package and have regular, scheduled programs. Now we also get “Max”, which is HBO’s streaming service, so we can watch their shows and others, at any time of the day). Too much to choose!

  3. pattyv says:

    Betsy, coincidentally my sis had just bought up her Comcast Infinity bill and was at a loss what she should do with it. So much money for watching one or two shows a week and a few good movies. She called and the rep made her more confused. I actually couldn’t help as my one and only advice is to “cut the cord”. and start anew.

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      We actually watch a fair amount of network TV (though I suspect some of it we could pick up elsewhere if we had the correct subscriptions). These days, so much is streaming; it depends on what how much you want to subscribe to after you cut that cord. The people you speak to at Comcast are all terrible (I don’t mean to cast aspersions, but I don’t think many are actually based here in the US and that may be part of the problem; actually getting to talk to a human takes fortitude). Wish I could offer advise to your sister, but I don’t have much at the moment. Right now, several of our channels aren’t working (HGTV, TNT) – they are all pixelated, which is terribly annoying. But we just got back from a trip to London to visit our granddaughter, so didn’t have time to spend on hold, waiting to speak to a service rep to see what they say about this (can they boost the signal, install a new cable card?). TBD.

  4. Dave Ventre says:

    The best aspect of cutting our landline is that we can set it to ONLY accept calls from our contact list. This excludes the calls from Microsoft Security, Amazon Fraud Protection, The IRS, Social Security, Medicare etc, all of whom seem to be hiring only reps from New Delhi.

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