Ironically, you bailed right as the big push for more original cable programming was starting. While there's still plenty of crap, there's actually never been more good stuff out there before these last 5 years. In fact, cable seems to be making more of the good stuff that the broadcast networks used to make - but would cancel in 6 weeks or less now.
The percentage of good cable shows that make it through multiple seasons is far higher now than the big 4.
I bailed in 2008 because of the quality was so low to go along with the high prices. Plus I go to a friends house that has cable and flip through the channels every week so I know what is on and its not worth the price. Its mostly reality crap and dramas. Don't start talk about how great The Walking Dead is. I don't watch horror and if its the best cable has to offer then its not enough. I like football and that is what kept me hanging on for the last 3 years before I realized I was being nickel and dimed to death.
There are good shows OTA that have lasted a long time. Like SNL which is in their 37th season, 60 minutes whch has been on a very long time, and The Mentalist and Hawaii Five O which is doing well. I get these programs in HD for free.