When I got a place of my own in Dallas back in 2002, I didn't get cable TV for one primary reason: to save money. Whatever I would've spent on it each month would go towards books, CDs, DVDs and/or a high-speed Internet connection. Plus, the chances of me really liking the books, CDs and DVDs were much greater than the repeated viewings of the Creed Behind the Music episode.
Despite moving into a bigger place with a housemate in 2004, neither he nor I have seriously considered getting cable. Speaking for myself, I think my life is a lot better this way. I don't know if I will always feel this way, but it sure is nice to have options whenever I want to entertain myself.
For some reason, if I had cable, I'd feel obligated to watch it. I'd watch a lot of it, actually. I'm paying for it, so I should get my money's worth, right? Besides, I just can't channel-surf for a few minutes and turn the TV off. There's always something worth finding to watch, even if it's something as silly as Secretos: Houston. This can go on for hours and I wonder where the time goes. So not having the obligation to watch cable, I watch stuff on YouTube, read blogs/message boards, watch a DVD or read a book or magazine. It's pretty liberating.
(I still have a pair of rabbit ears on my TV. They barely pick up any channels, but the one channel that comes in crystal clear is ABC. That ensures the only show I actively watch gets taped every single week.)
Why I find this all so liberating is the reduction of exposure to crappy programming. I don't feel compelled to see how bad Jeeper's Creepers is. I don't feel compelled to see wall-to-wall coverage of the Anna Nicole case. I don't have to be bugged about this stuff because it's not coming through my TV. Of course, there are plenty of great programs to watch on Comedy Central, HBO, VH1 Classic, IFC, and Bravo, but the cost doesn't justify forking over all the dough to get all these channels.
Again, I find something much more worthwhile with reading books about the making of Star Wars or people talking about their jobs than watching another interior design show or a lame "reality" show. I can get something more out of watching a rented DVD than seeing the same movie in pan-and-scan with commercial interruptions. I want to be entertained just like everybody else, but I don't want to just settle with the TV to be my main form of entertainment. And this is coming from somebody who watched TV for most of his life.