After deleting all the infomercial, sports, and cooking channels (things I don't watch) from my basic cable package I ended up with only 6 channels remaining. The old rabbit-ears give me 9 channels for free so I dropped the cable service.
In both cases I use the TV Guide to select and enter everything I want to watch into the VCR recording schedule for viewing later. They even have VCR's that will flag the commercials so that you can skip over them. Why wouldn't this work for you?
As for being able to select not only WHAT you want to watch but WHEN you want to watch it (on demand -- without recording), that's what 'digital' cable is doing now according to their latest ads.
BTW... I'm old enough to remember when cable TV was invented and marketed as a way to eliminate all those commercials and that's exactly how it started out -- NO COMMERCIALS! Then, after everyone bought into it, a small ad was posted in the news paper stating that cable customers should NOT be alarmed by some new commercials to be aired because it was purely "experimental" and for a limited time only. I'll never forget that ad! NOW we're being slammed with more than twice as many commercials as we were BEFORE cable TV was invented. This is why TIVO and the like were invented.
With as many commercials as they are throwing at us now, cable TV should be absolutely FREE! I'm sticking with rabbit-ears and rented movies as a personal protest.
Oops... sorry, got off topic a bit.