Will TV Providers Finally Realize That People Really Are Cutting The Cord — And Not Just Because Of The Economy

from the bye-bye dept

This week, my wife and I finally decided to drop our satellite TV service. We almost never watch it. I turn it on maybe once or twice a month, at most. For what we’re getting, it’s crazy expensive. There are some TV shows I’d like to see, but it’s just not worth what’s being charged. Even if I agree rationally, for about a year I’ve been emotionally attached to hanging onto the account “just in case.” But that’s silly. We just don’t get that much value out of it. For years, we keep hearing the TV folks insisting that such cord cutting is largely a myth. But the fact is my wife and I are not alone in this. A new report says that we’re actually a bit behind the curve, and that people are cancelling in droves.

Of course, the Associated Press buys the TV industry’s very questionable claim that it’s all because of “the economy.”

The chief cause appears to be persistently high unemployment and a housing market that has many people living with their parents, reducing the need for a separate cable bill.

I don’t buy it. I would bet that a lot of folks cancelling are like us. We can afford it, but we just don’t see the value. We don’t watch enough to want to pay the rates that seem way out of line with what we’re getting and using. Even more ridiculous, though, is that the AP mentions this kind of reasoning as a problem rather than an opportunity for the industry:

But it’s also possible that people are canceling cable, or never signing up in the first place, because they’re watching cheap Internet video. Such a threat has been hanging over the industry. If that’s the case, viewers can expect more restrictions on online video, as TV companies and Hollywood studios try to make sure that they get paid for what they produce.

Wait, what? Because more people want more convenient options, they should expect to get less of them? This is the logic of dying businesses (both the TV folks and the AP). Restricting people doesn’t help you get paid. Giving people what they want and putting a smart business model around it does.

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Comments on “Will TV Providers Finally Realize That People Really Are Cutting The Cord — And Not Just Because Of The Economy”

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Pippers says:


Wish I could feel the same way about it. I pay near $200 a month, and my Tivo is almost out of room from all the fun shows on these days. Entourage, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Bored to Death, Dr. Who, Boardwalk Empire, Amazing Race, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, Auction Hunters, American Pickers, Weeds, Selling New York, Design Stars, Falling Skies, The Walking Dead, Mad Men, and maybe a few more I can’t think of.

I remember back in the day when there was only Seinfeld and that was it. Now I don’t have time to watch all this stuff.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Sigh

That’s all the more reason to switch to online.

You stream and find the shows you want to watch. I can’t tell you how many shows I’ve missed because they come on a certain time that I’m busy with work or school.

But then, I’ll go to stream that last episode and watch something else interesting.

The only reason my family likes to watch Dish is because of the very expensive Asian channels. For just one little extra dish, you have to buy the basic service PLUS the Asian package. How is that for customer service? Make more money off the fact that customers can’t pick and choose their own packages…

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Sigh

> I can’t tell you how many shows I’ve missed
> because they come on a certain time that I’m
> busy with work or school.

You do realize that you’ve had the ability to record TV shows when you’re away from the TV since the late 70s, right?

Being able to time-shift your viewing isn’t some new feature available only on the internet.


Re: Re: It's just not that simple.

Have you ever done the math for this stuff? With the exception of some rather narrow situations, it’s not any cheaper to use a lot of these cable cutting alternatives. They aren’t free either. Some of them are PPV and that can add up fast.

Most people don’t have any awareness of what they really use or how much it would cost in an alternate delivery format.

OTOH, I don’t think it really matters so much. A lot of people are cutting the cord for economic reasons. People are spending less and getting less. However, that doesn’t matter so much as people will adjust to that and be far less likely to go back (to cable).

In the end, the alternative just has to be good enough to make the extra cost of cable discouraging.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Sigh

Agreed. If you aren’t watching it in real-time, there’s little benefit to a live broadcast. What’s the difference if you wait a week or a year to view something? Cut the cable, record broadcast shows via any number of non-Tivo options and buy/rent the DVDs for the series that aren’t broadcast.

Paying $200 a month for something you don’t use is just stupid.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Sigh

> I watch HBO shows on my phone while I am
> waiting around at various places

What a dreadful way to watch a show. If I’m interested enough in a show to watch it, the last thing I want to do is see it on a tiny screen, with horrible audio, in a crowded place with all sorts of other noise and distraction.

If it works for you, more power to you, but other than the occasional YouTube video, I won’t be using my phone as my entertainment center any time soon.

taoareyou (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Sigh

Yes, it would be nice if you could subscribe directly to HBO-Go without having to have a cable service provider. We have Uverse because it’s the best thing going in our area, Internet wise. We have the basic TV package because it’s the only way we can add the HBO package. Ideally, I would subscribe to Internet only, but that’s not an option.

I don’t pirate anything. If I want to see something premium I will pay a subscription if I feel there is value in it. If not, then I won’t see it. I pay for Netflix streaming, I pay for Spotify Premium, occasionally I pay to go to the movies, I will even buy DVDs of things I know I will want to watch multiple times. It’s not a moral issue for me, I just think paying for content you like is a fair thing 🙂

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Sigh

I agree with you that paying for something you like is fair. I pay for Netflix streaming, Hulu+, and buy some newer movies on Amazon’s Video OnDemand offering. If I could subscribe to HBO and/or SHO and get their shows on my Roku, even as much as a week after they aired, I’d happily pay for that. After that point, it becomes a matter of principal to me, and maybe a little bit moral, but not about piracy…

If I’m willing to pay, but they aren’t offering me a way to do so that I find reasonable, then I won’t pay. If their reasons for not offering it as such are just, like if it really was something difficult to do, then I wouldn’t fault them, and I’d likely wait around until I could get it for a fair to me price, or until I forgot about it. I used to wait a few months and buy used games that were only alright, because an alright game is not worth the full asking price to me, though like you said, it’s fair to pay for certain things. But, when they aren’t offering it to me because they want to drain my pockets via a cable subscription, and then the premium package I would need to get, then it’s clear that the only reason I’m not served properly is because they are greedy, and thus, I will not give them any money until they remove their heads from their asses. I’m not going to miss out on Anna Paquin just because of their greed…so then I may or may not pirate it…

taoareyou (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Sigh

Any justification for piracy is simply that “justification”. Make whatever excuse you want: it’s not available at the price point or format I want, etc. so that entitles me to experience the content for free.

Whatever excuse you have (your strong desire to see Anna Paquin, et al.) does not entitle you to view the product for free if it is not being offered for free.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Sigh

cAN i ASK..

When did they take the POOR, out of the concept of capitalism.

When did the BALANCE between what can be afforded and THEY CANT, disappeared??

there is SUPPOSED to be a balance..NOT UP-UP-UP-UP=UP..
IF’ the CORP cant adjust the availability/price/Quality of a product to SELL IT..they should go broke. The small companies GO BROKE.. WHY NOT THE BIG ONES??

THEY forced the change in the laws..to make ALL of there goods, Perpetual..but NOT for the artist.
Where are his rights?

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Sigh

I was in your boat too, really enjoying all the shows on the premium channels SHO, HBO and Starz… Most regular network shows I liked I found on Hulu, many of which I can actually watch on Hulu+ (and those ones actually get watched, while I miss a few of the non + available ones…). But really, $200/month was flat out unreasonable. I wait a little bit for stuff on Hulu+ with limited commercials – it’s better than my old TV plan when you consider paying extra for the DVR and then having to FF through commercials. I wait extra for stuff on Netflix to catch up and what not, with no commercials, it’s great. I pay $76/month for what I used to pay over $200 for, counting my internet connection which is the only thing I kept from Comcast, I watch a little less TV, but I hardly ever get stuck watching something I feel stupid for having watched, and if I do start something like that, I stop it, rate it with 2 stars, and remove it from my queue and move on…. The savings has also helped me to order newer shows and movies on Amazon Video OnDemand, which has most of what Netflix and Hulu miss out on…

If only HBO and SHO would offer Roku channels, I’d gladly pay them directly for the content they offer…

Lord Binky says:


It sure is a threat to the industry that I want something delivered to me in a way they don’t want to offer. They are the big guys, I’m supposed to do what they want, or else THEY walk away, not me. I don’t have the option to walk away because they are just that BIG. Of course I could just not try going through them or even around them, and just go the opposite direction completely. Then they are left all alone and not where the my money is.

If things don’t go smoothly for you, there’s a good reason why. That’s The Law.

John Doe says:

I would love to cut satelite and land lines

My wife is the only reason I have a land line phone and if it were up to me, I would probably drop our Dish subscription as well. Though I do watch more TV than I should, I really need to cut it out. Especially after Dish dropped some of my HD channels. Which is a real gripe of mine, we are well into the HD era and yet they are dropping the HD version of some of the channels????????????????????????/

Big Mook (profile) says:

Re: I would love to cut satelite and land lines

The HD channels they dropped, such as ABC Family, were pretty much not going to get watched anyway, at least in my household. Now, I was a little upset when they dropped ESPNNEWS HD, but I won’t be really mad unless they mess with one of the good channels, e.g. ESPN and ESPN2, TBS and TNT, TCM, etc.

Eric Barrett (user link) says:

I cut the cord

I cut the cord about 3 years ago. I found myself caught between two forces. The first was that no matter what I did (or how often I cut tiers out of my service) my TV costs would creep up consistently year after year to over $100 / mo. That was just a lot of money to pay for watching one or two channels.

The other factor is I got engaged (and then married). I was already busy. Now I’m insanely busy. I have VERY limited “free time” and while there are a few shows I would like to watch, frankly I’d rather use my spare time playing video games or reading a book or going out with friends.

TV is nice, and I’d like to watch more – but not at the expense of rearranging my schedule to watch inconveniently timed shows. OR for $100+ a month!

AJ says:

Let's be honest here....

Regardless of how hard the cable companies make it, you can’t stop evolution. I need a connection to the internet anyway because of work/banking, and since I spend more time online than on the tv, why not just watch what little tv I watch online?

The cable companies really screwed up when they made people pay separately for an internet connection. They should have just integrated it into your tv packages and left well enough alone. Now people recognize that they are separate, and only one is really needed. Regardless of how hard the cable guys try to re-bundle it now, the cat’s not going back into the bag…

The economy has some to do with it I would imagine.. but IMO Internet connection is to TV what a cell phone is to a land line.. it’s just the natural next step.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Let's be honest here....


From discussions here over the last last couple of days, there may be an opportunity pointed out here. There was a bit of talk about digging ditches. Maybe a large resolution to several issues might be fibre to every home as a public utility (the end user gets to decide what services to use or not). Then let anyone provide service to every connection. While at the project, double or triple the backbones, I would suggest 100% more than current projected possible needs.

This doesn’t require a lot of research, the technology exists. It would give jobs to a number of levels of skill. It would open competition in a variety of crossover areas, correcting current market abuses. Stimulate the economy, now with jobs and later with greater digital opportunities, ie. more jobs and economic flow (isn;t unlimited growth the only way out of these jams we get ourselves into? What a system we created).

Some may think that this might look like nationalizing the current digital infrastructure. Let’s think about that for a moment. I remember when my phone bill (think pre AT&T breakup days) included a surcharge for line maintenance or something, that was an additional charge to the rate payer to build out the network. WE paid for that network, and not as customers and corporate profits, but as Utility customers who were charged additionaly for the Utility to build the network. I do think there is an argument that at least the original backbone is is already ours and was ‘taken’, or at least assumed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Let's be honest here....

Yeah, you’re totally right. If they bundled the 2 from the start, people wouldn’t even consider that the cord COULD be cut. They’ve clearly defined them as two different things, and for the vast majority of people, only one is needed.

Sadly, the “evolution” will involve moving all their TV service to their Internet lines and jacking up the price to cover the difference…

Dave C (profile) says:

I've "cut the cord" twice

I have the misfortune of Comcast being the only option for me to get quality Internet. When I first moved into my place I let them sell me their crazy packaged deal. About a year later I called them up, asked how much each of the channel packages cost, and each time they gave me a number I said ‘get rid of it’. I did this right down to the bare minimum of channels you can get. At which point they said if I dropped the last bit of channels my internet cost would go up. So I kept them. I called them about 6 months later to drop them again because my bill was still higher than I liked, turns out they were mis-billing me. Either way I completely agree with the article I find no value in having to spend $120 a month to get the 2-3 things I actually would want to watch. With the prevalence of on demand even through their own service it is insulting to one’s intelligence when they claim that they can’t do a la carte service and that by packaging you get the best deal. I would pay to get 5 channels I wanted plus Live sports for my teams games. That would be a service I would be interested in. But until then I can wait for shows on Netflix or DVD or other and use all my saved money to buy tickets and see a few games in person instead.

Anonymous Coward says:

We made the decision after spending an hour surfing through channels trying to find something to watch. Let that sink in a bit. An hour, just trying to find one thing to watch. This is even with the DirectTV DVR that had a few shows on it.

We cut the cord and ordered a Roku. We watch a bit of Hulu on the computer but don’t pay for it. I’ve considered hooking up a digital receiver but I don’t like the idea of having to be at home at a particular time in order to watch something. We also hit up redbox which has an indoor location a ? mile away so I’m getting exercise. Take away the $80 difference in what we now pay and it easily paid off the Roku and all of the movies with a nice chunk left over for steam games.

If internet video becomes more difficult to obtain(Hulu, Crackle are what I use) then I’ll likely just stop watching “TV” altogether. For what it’s worth I don’t even bother with bittorrent or trying to download shows. If it’s not convenient then I just don’t watch it. This caused me to miss Mentalist and NCIS which I loved but they are not on Hulu and I missed a week of each so I fell behind.

What the broadcasters and content creators should really fear is the freedom people find when they discover they can do without the entertainment of moving pictures and break away from the addiction. Now that I don’t feel the “need” to be glued to the set and catch my shows I’ll have a very difficult time ever trying to fork over that $80 per month for something I don’t need.

Ed C. says:

Re: Re:

Well, you could get an HD turner for your computer, basically making it a DVR. That’s what I did about 5 years ago when my local stations started switching over. The only problem is that since I’d moved, the reception has been harder to get.

BTW, NCIS is not on Hulu was because CBS had a hissy-fit about Hulu’s rates and moved all of their shows to TV.com and their own cbs.com. Since then, however, they dropped many shows from tv.com too. That really sucks because the tv.com player was at least usable. They both have ads, just like Hulu, but some of the ads on cbs.com will drop the video out of fullscreen. Even worse, they’ll do this every time you pause as well, and sometimes won’t switch back to fullscreen on its own when you resume. As for Mentalist, it’s never been online as far as I know.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I have considered using my desktop as a media center to record things over the air but decided it wasn’t worth the time. I turn off my computer when not in use (most of the day, work/laptop instead) so the annoyance of leaving it running 24/7 isn’t worth the time of setting it up for me. If it’s something I need to see that bad I’ll wait for it to go on sale on DVD and pick up a season, commercial free, for $15 (yeah, I’m cheap.)

I did leave out Big Bang Theory, which I caught every week. It has been the one show that was worth dealing with CBS.com (I think that’s it) in order to watch.

The hissy fit that CBS had with Hulu lost them at least 2 pair of eyeballs on two different shows. Sad because I kept pace with both of them since the start.

Ed C. says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t exactly leave my HTPC on 24/7 either. It’s actually in standby most of the time. It just wakes up to record or update the guide, then automatically goes back to sleep when it’s done.

BTW, CBS leaving Hulu pissed a lot of people off, especially when their own player sucks so much! TV.com, which CBS bought out, was a usable middle ground until CBS started redirecting their videos to the CBS site.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 BIG RE:

HULU is nice.. All your shows in 1 area..

And the contracts hulu has to PUT UP WITH..is stupid.

Then look at the Corp sites..SyFy?? NBC?? the rest…trying to install THEIR OWN servers and run there own progs?? and NOT know that it takes TONS of bandwidth AND following into line with a Standardized PLAYER..that works with All forms of devices.
Let them learn the hard way..
Funny that 5 MAIN CORPS control all the channels.. Check the bottom of the page on SyFy..

ts says:

I cut the cord over 2 years ago, and I have an HTPC setup with an antennae, so I still have a DVR… but only 10 channels. I just couldn’t justify the cost of paying over $100 a month when I would only watch it for 4-5 hours a month (and only 4-5 channels). Between local channels, Netflix, and other online streaming sources, I do not miss cable at all. The only thing I do miss is some NFL games – Monday nights on espn and the Thursday night nfl network games.. but if I really want to watch them, I just go to a bar down the street.

Khyle says:

I think the numbers are under-reported too. We cancelled DirecTV about 15 months ago, but kept basic cable with Comcast for $2 a month. So we don’t count as Cord Cutters.

My belief is that there are a lot of people with incentive to deflate those numbers. Netflix doesn’t want to alarm Cable and Satellite providers. Those providers don’t want to worry their investors. No one is incentivized to report them accurately.

out_of_the_blue says:

"Restricting people doesn't help you get paid."

Sure DOES if means EFFECTIVE restrictions on piracy too. You people keep using the premise that no restrictions on internet content /can/ be made, but they’re NOW putting on quotas and buying equipment to do deep packet inspection.

And, how is it that “free” TV costs $200 a month? Is that some sort of disconnect reverse where you champions of “free” actually PAY out the wazoo for the crappy fare? Hmm. A few facts always illuminate better than argument.

John Doe says:

Re: "Restricting people doesn't help you get paid."

And, how is it that “free” TV costs $200 a month? Is that some sort of disconnect reverse where you champions of “free” actually PAY out the wazoo for the crappy fare?

You either truly don’t get it or you get paid to not get it. Nobody said or believes everything should be free. In fact, pirates spend a lot of money to be pirates. The pirates I know have many, large hard drives, home theater PC’s and they pay for encrypted newsgroup access. And as you point out, we “pay” for “free” TV through cable and satellite service.

So you see, free is only part of the business model, not the whole business model. Get it now?

Squirrel Brains (profile) says:

Re: "Restricting people doesn't help you get paid."

Price is only one factor. I would argue that convenience and value are more important. Paying $100 for content you want (even through piracy) is better than paying $200 for 200 channels of crap. What if I only watch Lifetime, Oxygen and OWN? If I could pay a la carte, even if the per channel price was higher, it would be a better value.


Re: Re: Sorting through the crap.

This seems to mostly come down to how hard it is to find something at a particular time and the sorry state of technology in PVR appliances. By engaging in patent abuse, Tivo has helped stiffle innovationin their part of the market and weakened it in general. This also harms the percieved value of cable in general in the process.

It’s a nice double whammy that demonstrates the folly of patent litigation and the “be careful what you wish for” principle.

We nearly canceled cable ourselves back in the 90s before we got our first Tivo.

Today cable would seem even more worthless if not for my MythTV setup.

Paul (profile) says:

Re: "Restricting people doesn't help you get paid."

I think truly effective restrictions on piracy would….

… Drive people to reading their ebooks
… Encourage more time on Social Networks
… Allow Internet based programming access to more people
… Boost sells of video games
… Increase Movie ticket sells
… Provide more opportunity for Web based sports offerings
… Finally deliver reform of copyright in favor of the people.

Let’s make something really crystal clear. You are increasingly talking to a high tech generation. Kids are used to seeing price cuts of 50% on 3 or 4 year old technology. Every year, their dollar buys MORE and BETTER technology than it did the year before.

Why in the world do you think that the Content Industry (who gets to benefit from drastic cuts in costs to produce content, market content, and distribute content) is not going to be expected to produce MORE and BETTER content for the same dollars spent?

Who died and exempted the Content Industry from competition?

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: "Restricting people doesn't help you get paid."

Trolling grade: D-

You’re alleged argument is incoherent and poorly phrased–it sounds as though you’ve recently escaped from the nursing home and are suffering withdrawal from your meds.

Breathe, take your time, assemble your arguments in a logical, persuasive, consistent manner and I’m sure that grade will improve.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: "Restricting people doesn't help you get paid."

Why do you assume this is automatically about piracy? You seem to assume that the content is a necessity and will be obtained no matter the obstacles. That is a vary bad way of thinking. If it’s too much of a pain in the ass to watch Dr. Who, people just won’t watch. Simple as that.

What makes you think that people will pay large sums of money and jump threw insane hoops if somehow the easy method is removed?


Re: Re: "Restricting people doesn't help you get paid."

Chances are everything in that $200 channel lineup is ad supported. IOW, someone is double dipping. They are getting paid twice for the same thing: once from the advertisers and then again from the consumers or the cable companies.

Then there’s stuff that gets shoved down our throats by being shoved down the throats of cable operators first.

Anything with ads should be freely re-transmittable to anyone that doesn’t alter the content. Cable companies should be making money off of the clean signal they can give you and not be subject to upstream leeches.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Big Media mindset

Big media thinks that it can force people back to cable because they can restrict content. They think that the solution is to stop distributing over the Internet, and people will come flooding back.

There are three problems with this philosophy.

1) Like most content providers, they over estimate the value of their content. They may produce some great programs, but there are lots of other forms of entertainment.

2) They assume that they have exclusive control over the making of of programming. Netflix is already getting into original production, and others are following.

Major league sports is still one thing that big media still mostly controls. As the cable and dish market declines, sports may see the opportunity to open up Internet access.

3) They assume that things will stay the same forever, or at least for a few years. But if you want to see cable cutting in action, go visit a college residence hall. Note how many rooms have no TV. If they do have a TV, it is most likely used for a big screen display for video games or Internet content. And consider that cable TV is probably being provided free or as part of the room fees. Once upon a time if you walked through a residence hall on a fall Sunday afternoon you would hear nothing but football. Now maybe one room in 10 has football playing.

Big media and pro sports had better wake up or they will lose an entire generation. Or maybe they have already lost them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, I have to say I am shocked. All this time you spend bitching about the networks and their inept business models, and you have been paying them to keep doing it.

Wow. Congrats on cutting the cord.

So now, unless you can find it legally for free, please remember that you have not paid for in any manner most TV shows, cable network shows, etc. So downloading them for free from a torrent site is no longer some bizarre form of time shifting, it would be piracy.

Honestly, if you cannot find something, anything, to tivo in a week, you are probably better cutting the cord anyway. For me, it proves that your taste and your feelings about content are not at all mainstream.

charliebrown (profile) says:

Same Old

I had it regularly from 1999 to 2009 (minus 2005 due to expesne reasons) but got it cut off at the start of 2010. Then when they offered six months free on a one year contract, I got it again. Since getting it back in November, I have watched about 10 hours worth. I’m just riding out the contract and then it’s going again.

Why? Commercials galore. Lack of shows I want to watch (plus too many repeats of shows I’ve seen to death or am not interested in! Not everybody loves Raymond!) I’ve got perfect free TV reception, a large DVD collection of TV shows, a BluRay player and a nice new 42″ TV. Who needs a monthly ongoing cost for something they generally don’t use? Not me!

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

I was never attached to the cord.I grew up with out cable. My wife and I never bought cable. The only time we ever watched satellite television was when we lived with my parents for 6 months. After that, it was back to over the air.

We get plenty of television options with just over the air, Netflix and Hulu (and the occasional “3rd party” site for those shows not on Hulu)

We never saw the value of cable even when we could afford it. The only channels I ever watched were Sci-fi (back when that was what it was called) and Cartoon Network (back when they had good shows) My wife watched HGTV, but she has been able to live without it.

The internet is awesome. It has brought convenience back to television watching. TV producers would be wise to embrace it.

Now if only my DSL provider would let be cut my land line.

Charles K. (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Ditto. I moved to the US 4 years ago and figured I would far rather have $700 in my pocket than fork it out for cable over the course of a year. I’ve subsisted just fine on Netflix, etc. etc.

Cord cutters are not the people that companies like Comcast, DirecTv, etc. should be worried about, they can always be bribed into coming back.

It’s folks like myself who never get it in the first place. We’ve never seen the value and thus it takes a lot more convincing to get us to buy service.

Anonymous Coward says:

we cut the cord in the last couple months too, it was a great geek project attempt for me. I ended up with a win7 box on each tv, along with either a roku box, or a game system+netflix on each.
even paying for the btguard account we saved enough to move up a tier of internet and still come out 40 dollars to the good.

Plus there’s an enormous amount of satisfaction in knowing i control every device in the house, and made them all talk to each other. i can download anywhere, pull files to anywhere else and watch whatever i want on every tv..which is a lot better than being tethered to the living room with it’s single DVR.

Squirrel Brains (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The previous AC did mention a Roku box and Netflix, so he/she/it is paying for at least some of they content. I think the bigger picture is that the AC is willing to consume content and is willing pay money to consume content, but the content providers are not placing themselves in a position to get that money. The times have changed. People want to point to piracy and yell, “Bad!” But from another perspective, it is a content consumer revolt. The era of the monolithic giant controlling the media consumption of the plebeians is coming to an end. They can sit there an yell while the people slip through their fingers like grains of sand, or they can place themselves to be part of the revolution.

rubberpants says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They do have one other option. They can use their considerable wealth, influence, and self-righteousness to convince the government to pass and enforce laws that *force* consumers to continue to do things their way and only their way.

This is the option they’ve chosen.

Will it work? Not a chance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You realize that consumers are never forced to do anything with content, right? They come willingly because they want the content. They are not chained to the wall and forced to watch it. It’s a leisure time activity that they choose to do.

There is no “force”.

If you want to do something, and that something belongs to someone else, you get to either borrow it from them or pay them to use it. It’s not a big deal.

If you want to prove there is no force, just stop using the evil content for a while. Nothing stops you from stopping, except your own desire. If you have the desire, you should have the respect to get the content in a legal manner.

No force – if you want it, get it legally. If you don’t want it, nobody is forcing you.

Ed C. says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Apparently you don’t realize that there are few, if any, legal ways to get content in many countries. There’s a number of reasons for this of course, but the biggest one is that the publishers don’t really even try. And when they do, they often screw up. For instance, US game publishers rarely bother to check exchange rates when setting foreign prices. A $50 game will often sell for ?50, or ?60 after tax, which actually comes out to ~$97.67. Even if there was absolutely no piracy, you can’t expect decent sells if you price far above the market, if you even sell at all! As Mike has pointed out well over a hundred times by now, piracy is a symptom–not the cause.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You realize that in most cities in the US, you can pick up HD broadcasts of the major networks for free with an antenna. The broadcasts aren’t encrypted and are higher quality than what you get from a cable or satellite company (less compression).

Add a video capture card to your computer and some software and you can put together a pretty nice DVR.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:



TV Shows


The Guild(the new episodes are on Bing)

Web Therapy(Lisa Kudrow)

Biker Mouse From Mars

I could go on, but you could do a quick search with MIRO and even choose to only watch CC programs and there is a lot of them today.


Re: Re: Smug Jerks

Take what you spend to merely “rent” content and instead focus on trying to “own” it and you can quickly end up with quite a big pile. You can easily exceed what iTunes or Amazon has to offer and have the appearance of being able to run your own TV station.

“piracy” is not at all necessary.

There is a glut of cheap media these days.

Valana Schomer (profile) says:

we cancelled long ago

we cancelled long ago. my husband some 6 yrs ago and me for the second time about a year ago. when i go back and watch at someone else house i wonder how i could had been habituated to that stuff. we have much more time now, save a lot of money and feel calmer since we are not listening to the yelling and manipulating of the various news organizations. this is true of liberal and conservative. mainly making mountains out of molehills and brainwashing the populace. we can afford it but up to 100 dollars a month was wasted and our time on earth was squandered. now we talk, read, knit, surf the net, garden, cook, etc. we have netflix for “tv” in limited amounts and movies. we read the news and i for one do not listen to video reports and cacophony of them is now to much for my ears now that i have been weaned from TV. It is addictive and you can get the good parts when you want in limited quantities without the commercials.

JoeCoolest (profile) says:

Cutting the cord

While I thoroughly adore the TV that I watch… the invasion of my enjoyment my animated pop-op graphics jumping across the screen to “catch” my attention has only caught my ire.

Then there are the constant logo’s (in the corner) which were bad enough by themselves, but now they are helpfully “supplemented” by persistent text advertising some show I’m not watching on top of the show I WANT to be watching.

I am someone who loves TV shows, but I have come to loathe the TV experience. I am cutting my cable (Time Warner) in favor of buying the shows I really enjoy through iTunes (sans logos and pop-ups). I’ll supplement this with services such as Hulu to evaluate new shows… at least while they still have access to such content.

Also, I fully expect in the very near future that TV will largely consist of only cheaply produced “reality” shows anyway… so why would I want to pay for cable while TV rides that wave into suckdom.

Octothorpe (profile) says:

Cutting the cord

I cut the cord 3 months ago. It has been fantastic. I now get all the shows I watch via Hulu. Sure there are shows I enjoy that I can’t get such as anything on Discovery Channel, but I just don’t see a minimum of $60+/month value for just one channel. And Yes, I do PAY for my hulu+ account, $7-8 I can justify, $60-80+ NO. I am more than willing to pay for the content I watch, but only for the content I watch. I would be happy to pay a couple bucks a month for the few shows I watch (notice I said SHOWS, not channels). But I don’t need to pay for content I don’t watch nor desire (aka bundled packages). Give me the content I want, delivered in a convenient manner (streaming like Hulu is quite convenient), at a reasonable price ($2/month per show (not each episode) with commercials or $3 without commercials I can handle), and I am happy to be a PAYING consumer of television content.

Comcast, Dish, DirecTV, and the rest ALL need to realize that:

I don’t like DVRs, too restrictive
I don’t want to need a DVR just to watch the few shows that I like at a time that is convenient for me
I don’t want to pay for content that I don’t want
I want convenience
I really don’t mind paying reasonable pricing for good content.

Joe Coolest (profile) says:

While I thoroughly adore the TV that I watch… the invasion of my enjoyment my animated pop-op graphics jumping across the screen to “catch” my attention has only caught my ire.

Then there are the constant logo’s (in the corner) which were bad enough by themselves, but now they are helpfully “supplemented” by persistent text advertising some show I’m not watching on top of the show I WANT to be watching.

I am someone who loves TV shows, but I have come to loathe the TV experience. I am cutting my cable (Time Warner) in favor of buying the shows I really enjoy through iTunes (sans logos and pop-ups). I’ll supplement this with services such as Hulu to evaluate new shows… at least while they still have access to such content.

Also, I fully expect in the very near future that TV will largely consist of only cheaply produced “reality” shows anyway… so why would I want to pay for cable while TV rides that wave into suckdom.

Chris ODonnell (profile) says:

Just last week I called DISH to cancel my service. They kept making offers to get me to stay, and they finally pulled out what must be the last ditch offer – $14.99 for all my local channels plus about 20 cable channels, including the only two channels my wife watches (HGTV and Food). $15 a month to keep the wife happy, as she wasn’t really sold on the cancel cable idea? I’ll take it!

Scooters (profile) says:

I'd like to cut the cord, but...

…I’m married and the wife just will not let go. Despite coming in and seeing my TV hooked up, she’s just not comfortable everything she “wants” to watch is online.

This is when I tell her, “Remember all those series you said you wish you could watch? They’re on Netflix now.”

No budge. If it doesn’t have 3 letters in the title, I’m forced to pay more than I want.

The worst part of all this is I can’t even reduce my cable bill by removing channels/services I don’t use/want because of the “bundle” I’m in. If I were to shave $60 off my monthly bill, I could rid the HD over-charge they offer, but nope: dropping this $60 package will add $80 to my bill.

1/1/2012 will be the day cable does not enter our home.

Fickelbra (profile) says:

Same boat

I am about to be doing the same thing. I currently have ATT U-Verse and am paying $140 for internet and cable (2 tv’s, HD, etc). The problem is I’m not sure I’ve actually turned my cable on in 2+ months. There is no alternative to the internet speed I am current getting, the best I can do is switch to DSL that is half the speed, but 30 bucks a month. Thinking that is the way to go, not because I can’t pay the $140 but because I just don’t want to anymore.

Jeffrey Nonken (profile) says:

Eh, we cut the cord years ago

The only reason I have a TV at all is to watch DVDs and, occasionally, tapes (more often to transfer the tapes). I also have my old Mac laptop hooked up to watch streaming and things like (see old rant about an American movie only available in region 2 format, or on VHS).’

I haven’t paid a cable bill in over a decade.

Anonymous Coward says:

I long long ago cut the cord. When the broadcasting media went digital, I didn’t buy a tv nor a black box. I elected instead not to have a tv. Before that, I had a tv but no outside hookup for it to receive anything. At the time, I was renting movies when I wanted to watch.

I’ve gotten so fed up with reruns, commercials, and lowest common denominator programming that not even the news or sports can make up the difference.

You know what? Today I don’t see commercials. I don’t miss the silly tv shows. Couldn’t even tell you what they name them or what they deal with. Instead I find I have more time for what I want to do.

My neighbors tell me I could get a dozen or so public tv channels for merely putting up an antenna and getting a tv. I have no interest in doing that.

ECA (profile) says:


A little historical data…

CABLE started with 1 of 2 promises..

1..You pay for it, and we give you NO/LESS commercials.
2..YOU DONT pay for it, and we get money FROM the commercials.

NONE of which has happened..for many reasons.

For those that dont get it..THE FCC has been TRYING for the last 10-15 years to get Cable/SAT to create ALA-CARTE channels.
Cable/SAT dont want to do this…it would take to much TECH and cost TONS, they say.
BUT, if you look at WHAT WAS’, they can do it..IF they wanted, as they had done in the past.

The list of channels gets longer and LONGER.. And the CRAP gets higher and higher.. They sell a BASIC package, that YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR..then the optional channels(cant get them separate)

ESPN and 1/2 the basic channels USED TO BE EXTRA.. NOW they add them in.

IT USED to be $10 per month, THEN ADD the extras…sports, and news, and others..
NOW you pay $50 and get 200 channels…and PROBABLY only watch 10-20.

Which would you rather do…
Pay $1 per channel..so you GET what you want, and pay for..($10-20 per month)
Pay $50-60 for 200 channels…and only watch 10-20..then every ONCE in awhile watch one of the OTHERS.


That LAST sale they had?>? Anyone read the FINE PRINT??
These guys are acting as bad as most BANKS and CC companies..They can change the RULES any time, and YOU AGREE TO IT.

Dan Smith (profile) says:

cutting cord

I cut the cord in April, and yes, I do miss some shows, but due to the fact that adding 100+ channels so that I can watch 5-10 of them, is a waste of money. I have the money to pay for it, I just don’t care to. I have netflix streaming and will not give it up. I have DSL at 6mb and can stream 2 shows to 2 different tvs at the same time. Other than that, tv is over-rated. I still get terestial stations through and antenna so if I want to watch the fox, nbc, abc, cbs and pbs I can, but do I now? not much. There are a lot of tv shows on netflix that can fill the gap since there is such gaps in the 20 show seasons of regular programming.
Now I go outside more. I personally think it is better.

scott says:

Comcast Caved

I called up comcast a few months back complaining that I could not afford their $80 a month prices. They dropped the price and some of the channels I liked. I called them back and told them they either give me back my channels for the same price or I was dropping them altogether. Through whatever slight-of-hand they do, they gave me everything for $50. I got the distinct impression that if you get close to cancelling they pull out the stops to keep you. Maybe they are smart enough to realize that is costs them zero to keep me and they may as well get something as opposed to nothing.

Berenerd (profile) says:

So I cut the cable...

I called to cancel my service with XFINITY! last week. I am getting just a internet from them. when they asked me why I stated I found something cheaper. An online source of better content and I watch when I feel like wanting to watch it. its also legal. They stated they can’t put that on the reason as why I was canceling service so they put me down as moving out of area.

This is why they don’t believe people are cutting the cord.

Keni Marie Haswell says:

Let’s see. had cable one, albeit, my friends said noting was ever on it. They were so right, 150 channels. Of those i might have watched 6 or 7 which were the included movie channels (not the pay extra movie channels). Due to my work scheduled at the time, i could only watch it late in the evening or the early morning hours. When i turned it on, all i seen mostly was “paid advertising” on the included movie channels. So here i was, paying the cable company my money to watch its paid advertising on what i thought was an included movie channel. Seemed to me the cable company was making money off both ends and i, their customer, didn’t get a movie –which is why i got the cable in the first place.

Color me: A never again cable or satellite tv service person again.

Would rather rent a movie and *&^%$# the ads.

ECA (profile) says:

Another BIT you may not know..

I dont know if this is still standing…

But while back the FCC, said that you have the RIGHT, to buy the box..FOR YOUR OWN PURPOSE. and not be chaged for the box, PER MONTH.

1. try to find one..
2. find the correct one, version..
3. TRY to get one that you can USE,
as the SAT version with DVR, is encoded on the HD..and the SMALL USB port on back, is turned OFF(so you cant transfer the data, easily.

lostalaska (profile) says:

I wish I could cut the cord... but it's packaged

I live in Juneau, Alaska and we have 3 options here. WiMAX (~$50, 2Mbit, no caps) which I tried, but it constantly disconnected and anything I tried to stream would constantly be buffering. So I canceled that after a month. Then I tried DSL (~$80, 4Mbit ,no caps) bundled with phone but for some reason I had horrible pings in excess of 1000ms on pretty much everything, although I was generally able to stream netflix or hulu without too many pauses for buffering. So after a few months I tried the 3rd internet option which is our local cable company (~$80, 10Mbit, 100GB cap). The problem is you can’t just get internet access. They have it bundled with phone and TV, so to get a 10MB connection with a 100GB cap I’m paying over $200 month with a little over $120 of that for services I don’t care about or use. Now the internet charge is only about $80 a month, but I’m also forced to pay for TV and phone because they only offer “convenience” bundles where it’s all lumped together and I rarely ever watch TV since I use Netflix and Hulu when I want to watch a show.

Honestly the cable companies “bundle’s” is IMHO propping up the numbers of people who haven’t cut the cord yet.

Elsee Sea (profile) says:

Cut the cord for about 1 year already

We cut the cord about 1 year ago here in Kansas City area, and just our TV for OTA HD channels. I believe we have 20 of such channels. Saving about $70/mo. We don’t miss it, and we do have Internet service for ecommerce, work, games for toddler, news and entertainment, hulu, comedycentral.com, etc.

We don’t have landline phone. And, we bailed out of our cell phone contract, and have no monthly cell phone bills for about 1 year now. We went to prepaid cell through Verizon, and we make most of our calls through Gmail call phone. This saves about $150/mo.

All in all, that’s about $225/month, or about $2700/year. While that may not be much to some, we feel the added savings adds flexibility to our purchasing habits.

Ed C. says:

“But it’s also possible that people are canceling cable, or never signing up in the first place, because they’re watching cheap Internet video. Such a threat has been hanging over the industry. If that’s the case, viewers can expect more restrictions on online video, as TV companies and Hollywood studios try to make sure that they get paid for what they produce.”

I agree, that’s BS. “TV companies” don’t “produce” anything–they merely provide the service. However, the monopoly infrastructure built solely for providing that service cost them a lot of money. They could have deferred the majority of that cost years ago by opening it to other companies to provide other noncompeting services, but they just couldn’t stand to have anyone else profit from it.

For years, they manged to get people to pay the high cost of their monopoly, but then others came along and built an open network that any company could connect to and use. Even they eventually manged to connect their own infrastructure to it as well. They didn’t have a problem with it at first, it was just another way to milk more money from their monopoly. Then this “other” network became advanced enough to provide competing services.

What they don’t get, however, is that now they have the choice between the paying 100% of the cost for their own monopoly infrastructure or just use their “last mile” network to connect users to the open internet. The internet option is far cheaper because the actual cost is shared by many other companies providing millions of other services. Yet, they refuse to let go of their expensive monopolies. The only way around them, of course, is to bypass their monopolies completely. Many towns have tried this, but they continue to beg and bribe politicians to stop it.

I don’t feel one bit of sorrow for them at all. It’s their own monopolistic practices that have got everyone in this mess in the first place. They have the chance to change their ways, but just won’t. It’s their choice, so they’ll have to pay the consequences.

Ed C. says:

Re: Re:

And of course, the same applies to the Hollywood studios too. The people who what to create movies and other entertainment will do so, one way or another. If the studios won’t change, it will just be done without them. It’s only a matter of time before people find ways around them and make their monopolies obsolete.

Jake says:

The number of television channels available has multiplied by a factor of two hundred in the last fifteen years. The number of new television shows being made that appeal to me has remained static, and since these channels have to air something the airwaves are reduced to small, isolated pockets of good stuff in a vast sea of mediocrity.

I never even had a cord too cut, and when I left home for college I left the TV in my bedroom behind. Damn, anyone remember when that was a big deal when you were a kid?

Deirdre (profile) says:

I was a member of the first generation to be babysat by television. I’ve seen all the television that I need to see in my life. I cut my personal cord in 1997. We still had cable at the office. We got rid of it in 2009.

I’ve noticed the box with the cable interface is left open at my house about every 6 months. Apparently the sole available cable provider cannot believe that I am not pirating cable and keeps coming by to check after 14 years. I wish he would learn to close the box.

Dirk Ruffly says:

Satellite/Cable addiction

When you take away someone’s favorite addiction, for economic reasons or otherwise, they often discover (surprise!) that they can get along just fine without a regular fix. Even if people are actually dropping cable because they can’t afford it, many will never be back regardless of their future good fortune.

Ed C. says:

Re: Satellite/Cable addiction

I thought it first was a status symbol of disposable income to pay for TV. Then, when the majority were paying, it became the “my channel package is bigger than yours” race. When that started to flame out in a sea of crap shows, digital and HD channels became the next “big thing”. Now that’s the norm, people are starting to notice that they really aren’t watching all that much TV anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Satellite/Cable addiction

I live in an apartment complex where basic cable (2-99) is included in my rent. Bright House (Time Warner subsidiary) is our only option. Originally I paid $15 for an HD box and $50 for basic cable Internet. Then I got a PC and hooked it up to the TV set. On average, we use the cable box maybe half a dozen times every month. We were set to get rid of it, only to find out we were in a promotional plan which would have driven our monthly bill up $2/mo if we surrendered the box. Whatever.

We moved to a larger apartment in the same complex, and decided to upgrade the Internet to the “Lightning” service, which promises 40 mbps connections. My fat white heiny… I’ve never topped 12 mbps, which is only two above what I was supposed to be getting with the basic tier service. I know broadband speeds are never as advertised, but c’mon!

Back to the original point, though… we gladly pay $8/mo. for Hulu Plus, I get my sports fix through ESPN3 (Canadian football FTW)… we opted against Netflix due to the subpar on-demand movie offerings (and the TV shows mainly consisting of programs we’d already access via Hulu). There are also robust online offerings through The WB (their lineup suggests that AOL’s old In2TV service was folded into them), Spike, Adult Swim and CBS. It’s all the television I can handle, and my once-endless habit of torrenting has slowed to a trickle; I can count on one thumb the number of shows I’ve nicked off of TPB in the last two months.

Clearly this wouldn’t work for everyone; if your favorite programs are different than my favorite programs, then the above might well leave you wanting. Thing is, I’d be more than happy to pay more than $8/mo. for a comprehensive on-demand resource. I’d also be willing to pay $10 a pop for downloadable, DRM-free films instead of DVDs, but such sensibilities always fall upon deaf ears. I suppose I can’t really call myself a “cord cutter” so long as I live in these apartments, but it’s stunning to truly reflect upon just how little of my entertainment is chosen by my remote control, when compared to my wireless mouse and keyboard.

Galashiels (profile) says:

Innovative Technology

Technology is always ahead of established businesses. What may mark individual companies as different, is their ability to use, or innovate, using existing & future technologies. Many of todays ‘buggy-whip’ manufacturers are innovating & using new technology with web sites such as Hulu, lastFM, Netflix or any of the more innovative firms trying to offer the legal services for consumers.

Although these ‘buggy-whip’ innovators are building on the established ‘product’ of Hollywood, MPAA, RIAA, etc, the companies producing & making this ‘product’ fail to see how well these other companies are marketing their [Hollywoods] wares.

Remember too, that the new fanged horseless carriages have flag bearing runners out in front, to warn pedestrians that they are coming; the various P2P, Torrent & streaming video sites fit well in this analogy, & yet Hollywood would prefer legal sanctions, & police action to shut them down, rather than welcoming new & innovative services that lead the way to where consumers want to go.

ECA (profile) says:

For those that dont understand

There was a time that ANTENNA was your only source of TV.
Cable came along and made TONS of promises(none fullfilled, as the TV corps changed the contracts)

MANY, of you have never seen TV without CABLE/SAT..
Many of you dont know what is required or even how to set it up..and SOME of you live in areas that RESTRICT outside building of ANYTHING.

The TV/CABLE/SAT corps looked around and found locations that had NO TV/Broadcast access, or at least very limited.
So they jumped into the market. Start cheap and RAISE prices.

The Mmovie/music industry WANTS a perpetual/vertual Product that they can use as MONEY.
They are fighting DISTRIBUTION more then ANYTHING ELSE.
They WANT control.
they dont see and WONT see…That 90% of what they have, SHOULD BE in the public domain. and that they HAVE TO CREATE. They arent CREATING much of anything NEW.
Lookup REMAKES on the net…There are TONS they are coming out with, and a FEW have already released. and I MEAN a few. They are going to remake ‘rocky horror show’..

The problem the corps have at this time…seems to be WHAT they should have done 3-5 years back. USE THE NET.. They could have created there OWN MAIN sites to SHOW/distribute there shows. but THEY wont do anything without PROOF of concept.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

Cutting the cord

We have been buying the minimum price Comcast, but recently we find:
1. The price is going up with no real reason for it,
2. The quality of content is getting more and more abysmal,
3. Over the air (free) TV gives us more channels, much better channels, and is more responsive to our desires in many, many ways.
We are definitely going to cancel. For several years, we got channels we weren’t supposed to have, but Comcast invaded our space and took them away – and we found we didn’t miss them!

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Cutting the cord

There are 20 broadcast channels in this area…And Im in a rural area.

i wonder how many the big cities are getting, with good antenna/AND BOOSTER..


Ya know,,
I dont think CABLE gets the hint..
They SHOULDNT NEED to pay corps to broadcast the channels. They should give the Ultimatum, “PAY US to get to your customers”.. Standard LOCAL broadcast does it.

Peter says:

DVR Monopoly

I can’t afford satellite TV and I only get analogue cable so I only have 2 options:

1) Buy second hand VCRs which can only record 1 channel at a time
2)Buy a Hard Drive Digital DVD recorder that only records 1 channel at a time.

No one told me that the so-called replacement for the VCR wouldn’t be sold IN NORTH AMERICA by the big consumer electronics companies, and that Satellite & Cable companies would have a monopoly on DVRs – using them to get customers. It seems like extortion to me. “Buy one of our TV packages OR say goodbye to recording TV shows”

The DVRs from satellite companies only work with satellite TV and the cable ones, if available, are about #20 per month ($240 yr). Even that is a lot for me on top of the monthly cable fee. My British Columbia disability income is only $10,687 per year!

VCR’s had no user cost except blank tapes. I expected DVR’s to be essentially like “digital VCRs”.
Unfortunately most people don’t care because they want satellite TV. THey don’t even know there’s a monopoly.

Patti says:

Streaming TV

I keep reading that streaming TV is free. It is not free. You pay a monthly fee for Hulu, Netflix, Amazon or any other source you want to use for streaming. The difference is the monthly charge and the shows you want to watch. Cable forces you to pay for channels you don’t want or watch because they are “bundled”. I cut the cable cord many months ago, I now use a Roku Streaming device and I no longer have to pay exorbitant fees every month for trash television. I watch what I want and when I choose to watch it. Cable is in a death spiral and it cannot come soon enough for me.

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