Have you ever had that rather urgent feeling that you’ve had enough of cable (or dish) and just want to sever it from your life? The monthly bill is outrageously high, often upwards of $200, and with smartphone contract fees being this generation’s must-have monthly expense, something has to give. Not to mention the notion that hardline cable seems to have lost its allure in the 21st century—a time more in tune with online entertainment and streaming services. To many, cutting cable would be a no-brainer, except for the lure of live programming. What about live sports? Local news? Or, for that matter, the kind of timely cable programming that many of us have become hooked on?

For me, the idea of finally cutting cable (something I’ve longed to do for years) has only recently entered the realm of feasibility. Oh, and let’s get this out of the way immediately: Of course anybody can cut cable at any time, given the ascetic fortitude. It can be a matter of “just saying no” to the lure of everything cable has to offer. Some people are great at that. In fact, when my first daughter was born, we did without cable for the first five years of her life and were quite proud of the switch. We spent more time reading (and writing) and nurturing our daughter in a healthy TV-free home. I admire people who can do it, especially for the long term, but for a lot of us, media and entertainment on the TV are a central part of life. (I would say that for too many of us, it’s the central pillar, but that’s a different article.)

When we re-introduced cable into our lives, after moving into a new home, it was clear what we’d been missing. Yes, it’s common wisdom that the majority of cable programming is repellent trash (which fuels many people’s furious insistence every month that they just cut it!), but there’s also quite a bit about cable that I personally find essential. The first is simply HD convenience: Through my cable DVR, I have a large (and growing) selection of HD programming to choose from, and I can record it at will—and even remotely from my phone. The schedule is broad and voluminous, full of thousands of hours of enticing crap, virtually everything that is available in the TV realm. The next thing that comes to mind is sports: Cable and dish offer sports programming that is unrivaled online or on any streaming service, providing the ability to watch multi-regional baseball, NFL games across the nation, and every Olympic event. And another thing I truly value is the availability of obscure programming on TV channels that would be tough to find elsewhere. I’m thinking of Adult Swim and Sundance Channel, as examples off the top of my head. And what about PBS?

(Read the rest at Residential AV Presents: Connected Home.)