Why are people Cutting the Cord on Cable?
The most common reason given is obvious – saving money. The reasons all these people want or need to save money is in debate right now. Cable operators mostly argue that the current recession is driving some families to eliminate luxury costs however they can.
Another argument is that the new era of cheap or free “over the top” (OTT) content streaming over the net is making people realize they no longer need a paid provider. Strictly speaking a cord cutter is someone who replaces Cable with content on the internet.
Who is correct? We likely won’t know for several years. “Basic video subscribers” have been in decline for sometime at the major MSO’s (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision etc). When we come out of this recession a key indicator will be if this number levels off or not.
Benefits of Cord Cutting:
- Save $100 or more per month.
- Buy a new HDTV with the money you save.
- Bragging rights. Cord cutters are still way ahead of the crowd today.
- Less time flipping through channels you don’t care about.
- Spend less time watching commercials!
So How does Cord Cutting Work?
Basically you are going to get your video entertainment from two sources:
OTA: Over the air. Free broadcasts using an antenna.
OTT: ”Over the top”. Video content you get from the internet.
Internet content itself includes free material like Hulu and Youtube as well as paid content like ESPN3, HULU+ and Netflix Instant. Netflix instant is only $7.99 per month and is rapidly becoming the leading provider of OTT content for cord cutters. Amazon Prime is growing competitor to Netflix. See Getting Online TV.
A Basic Cord Cutting Plan: Internet Streaming + Netflix + Off Air
There are many variations, but here is one basic 3 step plan to get you started. This is how I did it after doing some basic research on the various boxes and options out there:
1. Purchase and install an outdoor TV antenna.
2. Order a Roku box and sign up for Netflix at $7.99 per month.
3. Cancel your CableTV/Satellite service.
What will you be giving up?
Besides writing hefty checks to the cable operator, there are only two disadvantages I can think of: Live sports and what I call the “passive experience”.
Cable operators are using pro sports as leverage and these games are often hard to get without a paid channel plan. However some cracks in this system are starting to emerge, e.g.
TWC and NFL Network
The other one is personal. One thing Cable is good at is the channel surfing experience. If you prefer to scroll up and down a channel guide of hundreds of live channels, maybe the $1000 or so per year is worth it to you. The Cable experience is “just there”. Cord Cutter Tip: Cut the cord for one month and decide for yourself. It costs very little to try and if you don’t like being a cord cutter you can always switch back. This might be a good thing to remember when you are dealing with what Ryan over at OtherWaysToWatch.TV calls “The Significant Other Factor”. And for some background on what others have experienced check out our collection Cord Cutter Stories.