I have been doing without any cable or pay satellite service for five years or so. I am one of the few relying on a big, motorized satellite dish.
You know, when I did have those pay services before, of the hundreds of stations, I found I was watching maybe ten with any regularity. Now I get more than enough choices, some premium channels (usually these are temporary) and plenty of HD.
There is no hacking going on with me. These stations are broadcast unencrypted. In those five years I have paid for equipment and some construction materials. I own everything, which I wouldn't if I subscribed. I have learned a hobby, which I wouldn't if I had subscribed, and I get more than enough stations.
I do get fewer local stations, so I have to rely on the internet for local news. That's a small downside.
I also get no satellite or cable bills every month. Once again, I am hacking nothing. It's all perfectly legal. Five years. I'm still happy.