it's the only thing the cable & satellite companies will understand - basically cut the cord and buy your content à la cart on DVD, blu-ray, or a streaming service.
I set up a Mac mini DVR at the end of 2012 for off-the-air content - based on my last scan there's 115 channels available via antenna here in Houston. Once I got everything working (my HDTV predates HDMI so I had to get a solution to convert HDMI to Component Video) I then cancelled DirecTV in January of 2013. I buy cable series on blu-ray and iTunes, as well as watch some series on Amazon via my PS3. I've saved over $2000 since then (what I used to pay DirecTV less content purchases).
more info in my DVR Project blog entries.