There is one sub-category of cord cutting that I think the Cable MSO’s regard as a necessary evil: budget channel packages. One example is Time Warner Cable’s “Essentials” package. This package has been test marketed in Ohio and NY and leaves out the most expensive networks, like ESPN. Prices range from $30 to $50 according to the Fierce Cable article cited above.
But does this budget line-up make sense for the consumer? We as cord cutters know that Cable’s most powerful draw is the sports channels you can’t get over the air or online.
Next in line would be probably the pure cable channel exclusives. Things like Desperate Housewives of (fill in the blank) on Bravo. Note that the Essentials package does include Bravo. I should point out though that Bravo is obtainable without cable. I’m watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta for free on Hulu at the time of this writing. Granted it is on my laptop. But for $7.99 per month I can subscribe to Hulu Plus and watch it through the Roku/TV setup.
So far Comcast, Cox and TWC all are offering or testing similar economy packages. You’ll notice these aren’t advertised, and I wasn’t able to find the Essentials package even listed on the TWC site. You’ll have to call and ask.
If you are on a budget, and don’t care about sports at all, there is no reason not to call you cable operator right now and ask if they offer a budget plan. The worst thing that can happen? You don’t like it and switch back. And if you do? Go to the next step. Buy yourself a Roku box, and an antenna.