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The Internet Entertainment Technology

Cord-Cutting Still Doesn't Beat the Cable Bundle (wired.com) 421

I'd like to cut the cord, writes Brian Barrett for Wired, then, the very instant I allow myself to picture what life looks like after that figurative snip, my reverie comes crashing down. From an article: Cutting the cord is absolutely right for some people. Lots of people, maybe. But it's not that cheap, and it's not that easy, and there's not much hope of improvement on either front any time soon. Not to turn this into a math experiment, but let's consider cost. Assuming you're looking for a cord replacement, not abandoning live television altogether, you're going to need a service that bundles together a handful of channels and blips them to your house over the internet. The cheapest way you can accomplish this is to pay Sling TV $20 per month, for which you get 29 channels. That sounds not so bad, and certainly less than your cable bill. But! Sling Orange limits you to a single stream. If you're in a household with others, you'll probably want Sling Blue, which offers multiple streams and 43 channels for $25 per month. But! Sling Orange and Sling Blue have different channel lineups (ESPN is on Orange, not Blue, while Orange lacks FX, Bravo and any locals). For full coverage, you can subscribe to both for $40. But! Have kids? You'll want the Kids Extra package for another $5 per month. Love ESPNU? Grab that $5 per month sports package. HBO? $15 per month, please. Presto, you're up to $65 per month. But! Don't forget the extra $5 for a cloud-based DVR. Plus the high-speed internet service that you need to keep your stream from buffering, which, by the way, it'll do anyway. That's not to pick on Sling TV, specifically. But paying $70 to quit cable feels like smoking a pack of Parliaments to quit Marlboro Lights. You run into similar situations across the board, whether it's a higher base rate, or a limited premium selection, or the absence of local programming altogether. It turns out, oddly enough, that things cost money, whether you access those things through traditional cable packages or through a modem provided to you by a traditional cable operator.
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Cord-Cutting Still Doesn't Beat the Cable Bundle

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  • Antenna is cheaper (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ken_g6 ( 775014 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @01:44PM (#55058259) Homepage

    For between $20-$50 up front, plus maybe a $20-$50 tuner, you can get several channels at no additional cost!

    • by jacoby ( 3149 )

      Depends on where you are. Where I am, I could basically get one.

      • by saloomy ( 2817221 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:32PM (#55058707)

        Even so. Seems like a poorly researched article.

        Direct Tv Now starts at like $10 if you have AT&T Wireless, doesn't count against your data usage, and has like a hundred channels and add-on packages.

        Even if you don't have AT&T Wireless, it was available with their "go-big" package for $35 for life. They gave me an AppleTV just for signing up.

        With all the apps on that device, you absolutely don't need a cord unless as far as I can tell you have to watch sports.

    • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @01:52PM (#55058315)

      For between $20-$50 up front, plus maybe a $20-$50 tuner, you can get several channels at no additional cost!

      I get about 25 channels with my crummy $10 antenna in a window plugged into my television. If I paid for an rooftop antenna, I could probably get about 40 channels.

      Beware gentle readers, some television companies don't include a built-in tuner with their televisions anymore.

      • by slashdot_commentator ( 444053 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:30PM (#55058689) Journal

        Any TV manufacturer that advertises a television flat screen will include an ATSC tuner; that is required by federal advertising laws.

        A flat screen that does not have a built in ATSC tuner is a monitor or flat screen. They can be used to view "TV" programs, but that does not let vendors advertise them as TVs.

        • You are correct the manufacturer can't call them a TV BUT Vizio has taken to selling "Theater Displays" which don't have a tuner, a fact that Vizio does not go to great lengths to let you know and everybody knows that Vizio makes TVs, right.

      • $10/month with Netflix, plus a one time cost for Roku at $100. Instant savings. If I added both Amazon and Hulu it's a huge savings. I don't care about sports so if poeple want to pay another $100 a month to stick with cable/satellite just to get a few games, then that's their decision. You don't need FX either, any decent show is on Hulu or Netflix a year later, and it's not hard at all to wait a year to save $900 to $1000. And saving that money means you can also drop a lot of mediocre shows off your

      • by darkain ( 749283 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @03:28PM (#55059207) Homepage

        About 35 miles outside of Seattle, and I get 56 channels with my roof top antenna here. Also, it is running through a HDHomeRun so a TV tuner on the TV itself doesn't even matter. With that box, it is a dual-tuner that'll stream the channels to just about any device on the network, including the media box on the TV, desktops, laptops, tablets, cell phones. This setup has been a dream ever since I installed it! ~$150 total for all of the hardware/wiring combined.

    • Most TV's still come with a Tuner built-in. Put it to work with an antenna [cordcuttingreport.com]. Often, the HD you receive is better quality than what you get with cable, because most cable providers compress.
      And even an indoor antenna can be split with coax splitters between multiple TVs.
      Just need to know if you live near some broadcast towers, and here's help with that [nocable.org].

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      But what's the internet speed?

    • by Megane ( 129182 )
      I've heard that they even make some LCD displays with tuners built in! Will technology ever cease to amaze us?
    • What is this magic antenna you speak of? It's almost like TV was made to be broadcast over the air and received by antennas.
  • by Adambomb ( 118938 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @01:47PM (#55058277) Journal

    Seriously, the majority of people cutting the cord aren't looking to ensure a 1:1 replacement of all channels they may or may not have been watching previously, and the industry damn well knows it. A lot of people are perfectly happy with general internet news, available content on youtube, and maybe 1 or 2 streaming services (netflix, hulu, hbo go, amazon, etc).

    Given that people are unlikely to subscribe to cable but not internet, the cost of internet is a non-factor making cord cutting very reasonable to a huge number of people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This seems a lot like a 'But If I do this stupid thing, that isn't what everyone else is doing, it costs more!' piece. If you want the 300+ pointless channels, get cable tv. If you're only watching a few shows/channels, internet only is way cheaper. $50 for internet, + $15 for netflix, and then prime is $7.50 a month.. you're at 72.50 a month. $50 for internet, then another ~$60 for cable, and they want to 'save you money' by bundling in a home phone, that no one will use for another 10.. you're at $120, an

    • Really it's the death of push content
      • That was a given since it has been possible to have billions of videos instead of hundreds of channels.
    • Having a lot of mind rotting time filling trash in easy reach leads to compulsive rather then deliberative TV watching. Pay as you go has the important psychological benefit of me thinking to myself do I really want to pay $4.99 to watch that movie? This brings to mind that I'm also paying with my lost time. Sometimes the answer is yes but sometimes it's no. And it's often "No" in cases where had I already paid to see (via the cable bill) I probably would have just tried to get my money's worth rather t

    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      "Seriously, the majority of people cutting the cord aren't looking to ensure a 1:1 replacement of all channels they may or may not have been watching previously,"

      EXACTLY THIS.

      People who want all the channels they currently have, in multiple rooms, with kids, and live new channels, and sports... aren't looking to 'cut the cord'... they want the cord.

      And it is also no surprise that replacing the cord... with another cord that does exactly the same thing costs as much as the original cord.

    • Yup! As I see it, if/when I do finally dump cable, I'll lose some stuff, but there will still be plenty of stuff on Netflix and Hulu, and the combined cost will be much less than cable.

      • For many people I think the boat anchor is live sports. For that group an antenna often serves the job, but there are others who are addicted to ESPN. They're not going to change. For people tired of the ESPN tax, cutting the cord is easy. I suspect most cable subscribers that don't watch sports, they don't realize how much of their bill goes to paying for ESPN.

        Also people should learn to do more with their time than just watch TV. For me, Netflix adds more stuff I really want to see than I have time to

      • That's what happened when we cut cable two years ago. Time Warner Cable wanted to raise our cable TV+Internet rate from $87 a month to $115. When I asked for a better deal, they claimed this WAS the deal. Mind you, they weren't giving us anything extra - in fact, we'd have had less features. The nearly $30 price increase led us to cut the cord. Our Internet cost went to $35 a month. The rest was savings.

        Now, we were already subscribed to Netflix and Amazon Prime. (The latter mostly for shipping, but music a

    • In reality, this post should have been titled "Sling Still Doesn't Beat the Cable Bundle", since that's pretty much the only option they looked at - and even that is disingenuous, since cord-cutting normally involves people who have decided to turn their back on the traditional TV channel idea.

      It's not surprising that a person who must rely on cable internet (which is most of us) and still wants local network channels will probably find the cable company to offer the cheapest option.

    • False equivalence and strawman argument, yeah. "I get Netflix and watch the series I want to watch." "BUT! You don't get the CHANNELS!" "I only care about channels when they carry content I want; I'm just buying content now." "CHANNELS!!!!!!!"

      Soon, the TV stations will provide free streaming of their channels with ads built in. Go to http://foxbaltimore.com/ [foxbaltimore.com] and watch Fox Baltimore live if you're into that. CSPAN and CNN have live streams, too, if you don't want to watch network programming but jus

    • by MagicM ( 85041 )

      Don't forget about free local channels via OTA antenna, which is a very good option for anyone in a (sub)urban area. ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and usually more. There are some costs for the antenna and DVR (if you want one), but no monthly fees.

    • by DuckDodgers ( 541817 ) <keeper_of_the_wolf@yaho o . com> on Monday August 21, 2017 @04:26PM (#55059653)
      Plus:

      1. Cable television brochures lie worse than politicians, and everyone knows it. That "Bundle that adds television service for just $10 more than you're paying for internet" doesn't include the $7 regional channel fee, $5 regional sports fee, $7 monthly equipment rental, $9 monthly DVR network service fee, two year contract with a $30 price jump after the first year, and $5 charge applied to customers that handle their own billing instead of providing the vendor with their banking information so they can use auto-billing. You're actually adding $58 per month across the two years to your bill, not $10. Netflix et al don't lie on their price advertising like that.

      2. Most of these customers are going to have internet, Netflix, and Amazon Prime anyway.
  • by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @01:48PM (#55058283) Homepage

    Bad assumption.

    We bought cable as part of a bundle with Internet access when we moved two years ago. We've never used it - not even once. Next house we won't bother, no matter how cheap it is. Lifestyles change.

    Broadcast TV was always annoying, and gradually better forms of entertainment have emerged.

    • Same here. We still have cable, the basic package (which is pretty comprehensive) comes pretty much for free with our Internet subscription. The only reason we got it is so my mother in law could watch Eastenders on the BBC when she visited, and I still haven't gotten around to putting up the FreeSat dish to get BBC for, well, free.
  • >> looking for a cord replacement, not abandoning live television altogether, you're going to need a service that bundles together a handful of channels

    What you're looking for is free, digital over-the-air broadcasts, which are available using inexpensive, one-time-purchase antennas. Way back when I was a TV newbie like the author of the article, I got started on this because the local cable channel actually wanted extra money to send me HD signals.

    If you want specific shows, movies or sporting events
  • Add in splintering (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @01:49PM (#55058291) Journal
    The success of Netflix has led to competition in the on-demand game, and the recent Disney defection from the Netflix umbrella likely an indication of an increase in on-demand providers.

    Right now, you can still bundle Netflix with Amazon Prime and an HBO subscription to get a good bit of the market for a reasonable monthly outlay, but as industry watchdogs have suggested, Netflix only works if there aren't too many Netflix-type providers bidding for content.

    • IMO that will be the case for a few years. We'll get a sort of "dark ages" for on-demand where you need six different subscriptions to hit all the good shows, and end up basically paying cable-like prices for a hodgepodge of big internet packages.

      But someone will realize that model sucks (probably already does, and is working on a plan to fix it, if I'm talking about it now), and will come up with an aggregate plan. It'll end up being a lot like cable, but probably with a much broader range of grouping opti

  • Weird reasoning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @01:50PM (#55058297)

    That looks like Cable Company Math, talking about the number of channels per dollar.

    That doesn't at all reflect what I've observed people doing when they cut the cord. Most of the time, they realize that they may have a hundred channels for their money, but they only watch two or three of them (and usually only a couple of shows on each).

    On a per show cost, for those people, cable is crazy expensive, and it's really easy to bring that number down.

  • by DaveyJJ ( 1198633 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @01:51PM (#55058303) Homepage

    "Assuming you're looking for a cord replacement, not abandoning live television altogether ..."

    How'd we go from a title that talks about cord-cutting, to one about replacing the cable with just another form of getting the same crap?

    • by green1 ( 322787 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:10PM (#55058499)

      Because this is the way the cable industry thinks. When I called my local cable company 17 years ago and told them to discontinue my cable service, and after all the back and forth about how I simply didn't want it and wasn't watching it, and after they finally agreed to disconnect me, their final words for me were "see you in a couple of months". The person on the other end of the phone just simply couldn't grasp the concept of a person without cable.

      That attitude hasn't changed. It's not that they're trying to trick you here, they honestly just don't understand the concept. This is also why people are cutting the cord, because the cable industry doesn't understand their needs. The fact that they cling to the concept of airing shows at a certain time on a certain day and not just adding them to the VOD library at that time, the fact that they cling to channel packages instead of lone channels, the limitations on viewing on specific devices in specific locations. All of these things show that they just simply don't understand their customer base.

      This "article" is just a shill for the cable companies trying to convince people not to cut the cord, but as usual, they've just shown how little they understand about what people actually want.

      • the fact that they cling to channel packages instead of lone channels

        To be fair to the horrific hellspawn that are cable companies, packages are a requirement placed upon them from the content providers. That's the only way the content providers can get most of their channels into homes.

        ESPN says to the cable company, "if you want ESPN you have to bundle it with ESPN27 that shows nothing but Albanian thumb wrestling". ESPN is critical for the cable companies, so they accept the bundle demand.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @01:51PM (#55058311)

    Do you really need all of those channels? When I canceled my cable, I switched to over-the-air networks (for free), and Netflix + Amazon Prime (which is effectively free since I'd have prime even without the streaming).

    If you want the same set of channels you had with cable, it stands to reason that it's not going to be cheaper.

    I've found more than enough to distract me without cable, I don't need to replicate it with streaming.

    • by e3m4n ( 947977 )

      Exactly. I dont give two retarded shits about toddlers & Tiera's, the bachelor(ette), people fighting over abandoned storage rentals, pawn shops, or any other fucktarded reality show. I refuse to pay these fucktard's salary. Wonder why the fuck these assholes make $10,000 per episode? Because cable subscribers are FORCED to pay their salary, even if they don't agree with it. I would rather pay MORE and get LESS for the mere pleasure of putting that Fat PIG of a mom (honey boobo) out of a fucking job. Th

    • Netflix, Prime, YouTube, NASA TV, PBS website, Twitch and a SilconDust Homerun for OTA TV on my wifi network. Cheap used PCs turned into HTPCs on every TV. Cut the cord in 2010. TBH Hulu can SMD. I will not watch ads anymore.

  • by Megane ( 129182 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @01:53PM (#55058341) Homepage

    You could, you know, just watch what's on the antenna for free? The only thing I normally watch that isn't on the antenna is current anime from Japan. (The current season is actually one of the best in years. It's just not big enough of a business for anyone to care about people torrenting that shit.)

    Really, the only good reason to still have cable is because of live sports, which some of us can live without.

    • But most people want to watch certain shows. How easy is it to cut the cable and get current seasons of Game of Thrones and Walking Dead? Those shows are a small percentage of the content I get with a cable package but I have to jump through a lot of expensive hoops to get them.
    • You could, you know, just watch what's on the antenna for free? The only thing I normally watch that isn't on the antenna is current anime from Japan. (The current season is actually one of the best in years. It's just not big enough of a business for anyone to care about people torrenting that shit.)

      Really, the only good reason to still have cable is because of live sports, which some of us can live without.

      By live sports you mean the NFL and the NBA... The NFL doesn't have a live streaming service (their service shows replays only). The NBA has a live streaming service for outside of the US. Given their lucrative TV deals, it's easy to see why both are slow to offer a live streaming service.

      NHL, MLB, MLS, Premier League, etc. all have streaming services.

    • You could, you know, just watch what's on the antenna for free? The only thing I normally watch that isn't on the antenna is current anime from Japan. (The current season is actually one of the best in years. It's just not big enough of a business for anyone to care about people torrenting that shit.)

      Really, the only good reason to still have cable is because of live sports, which some of us can live without.

      I completely lost focus once you said "anime" but didn't say which anime.

    • The only thing I normally watch that isn't on the antenna is current anime from Japan

      Has it stopped being toy advertisements thinly veiled as shows?

  • Now everything's splitting off into factions and you need multiple subscriptions and apps to get something comparable. Each with their own UI :( bad experience

    I guess I'll stick with trawling bargain bins for what I want. Picked up a few 10 season shows for about $20 each. Not bad!

  • Share wifi Google fiber with neighbors, cut the cord, and experience the bajillions of movies and TV shows from yesteryear, including all the foreign stuff.
    I just don't see the point. There are lifetimes worth of media to watch now... plus hobbies and exercise. And work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think this whole article misses the point that many cord cutters enjoy saving money, but more importantly they enjoy minimizing dealing with cable companies. Sometimes it is not about just money.

  • by werepants ( 1912634 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @01:58PM (#55058397)

    Just stop watching TV and you save the full bill. Seriously, cable cutters aren't doing it because they are getting an equivalent service for cheaper - they are opting out of some or all of the service because they don't see value in it. In fact, I would say cable provides negative value for many people, because it's time that could be better spent doing something a lot more rewarding. Seriously, when was the last time that you spent an evening flipping through channels on cable and felt like it was a worthwhile use of time?

    • When I get home after 11 hours work + commute, I don't want a worthwhile use of time. I want to flop in my chair. Maybe I watch Fox News and yell at the host. Maybe I futz around online. Or, maybe I watch *gasp* a TV show.

      I do think I'll eventually cut the cord. I'm not many price-increases away from deciding the shows I can't get on Netflix or Hulu aren't worth the price of Time-Spectrum. Besides, it works both ways. There's a lot of shows on the streaming services that aren't currently on regular T

      • When I get home after 11 hours work + commute, I don't want a worthwhile use of time. I want to flop in my chair.

        I understand the impulse, but honestly, ever since I was a kid I've always felt this sense of waste after spending hours flipping through channels watching reruns of shows that I barely like in between commercials that I really hate. Why not try ditching it for a while to see what happens? It's not like you have to take up high intensity non-Euclidean basket weaving in its place. Read a book or argue on Slashdot or get some extra sleep or sit on the porch for a beer or three.

  • by Thanatiel ( 445743 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @01:58PM (#55058401)

    The problem depicted in this post is that some people consider having so many channels like a need.

    Netflix OR HBO OR [put any other service here] has plenty of content by itself, especially in the US.
    As a bonus some of these services do not infect your mind with advertising (one could consider this an aggression)

    There is not enough time on a day to watch everything except of course if one has nothing better to do all day.

    • Very true! I haven't cut the cord yet, partly from inertia, partly because I watch shows that aren't on Netflix or Hulu. But there's more than enough that IS on one or both to keep me watching during my TV time. I've still got a bleepload of stuff on each that I haven't had time to watch, without even looking for anything else.

  • WTF are these things TFS calls 'channels'?

    When you cut the cord, you dispense with channels and pay for some combination of Netflix, Hulu, Acorn or other on demand, over the internet providers of content and watch what you want to watch, when you want to watch it.

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      You can't seriously be suggesting that they let customers decide when they want to watch something? The horror! it would be anarchy!

      Cable companies don't understand why people are cutting the cord, because they don't understand what customers actually want.

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@tpno - c o . o rg> on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:00PM (#55058413) Homepage

    Us cord cutters aren't looking to retain all the crap we weren't watching anyway, so the article seems kinda moot.

    To those of you thinking about cutting the cord, let me give you some advice; you don't need to waste your days glued to the TV. You can actually, you know, go outside if you're bored.

  • The author is clearly missing the point of cutting the cord. He wants to replace his huge cable bundle with an identical streaming bundle. No wonder he isn't saving any money.

    Successful cord cutters look at their viewing differently. Instead of, "The entertainment giants are willing to show me these programs right now, I'd better pay for a giant bundle of channels and hope there is something that I sort of want to watch." It becomes, "What programming that I have access to do I want to watch right now."

    • Some people just want to dump 98% of the programming but watch Game of Thrones. Sure you can get it for $15/mo in the US but now everyone is in the US. What about them? Personally, I want to watch the shows I want to watch. I'm not happy with most of what is on Netflix, especially if I can only watch old seasons of shows.
  • by WheezyJoe ( 1168567 ) <feggNO@SPAMexcite.com> on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:07PM (#55058477)

    Sling can add up, sure, but Hulu Live [imore.com] is in beta and looks to provide a better package [hulu.com].
    And both Sling and Hulu offer
      free trials so you can see whether it works out for you, and
      no contracts, so you can start and quit whenever you want, and
      no cable box rental fees - just use your PC, phone, or get a Roku-type for your TV.

    Cable TV still seems lousy to me.

  • by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:10PM (#55058501) Homepage Journal

    How about the alternative: stop rotting your brain and just reading a book?

    Shocking, I know.

    • How about the alternative: stop rotting your brain and just reading a book?

      How about the alternative: stop rotting your brain and go outside for a walk?

      Shocking, I know.

      See how that works? Not everyone likes the same things, and liking activity A over B doesn't make you better than anyone.

  • and laugh all the way to the bank...
  • by farble1670 ( 803356 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:17PM (#55058559)

    What TFA left out was cable companies playing with the numbers to make their TV look cheaper. Want fast internet? That's $90. But for only $30 more you can have 50 channels!

    Pretty slick deal. By lowering TV, and raising internet, they keep their profits the same but make it financially impractical to go outside for your TV.

    • I technically subscribe to Cable TV because, at least in my area, it's $20 cheaper to get internet+cable TV than internet alone.

      The funny thing is that not only did I never hook the cable box up, I returned it to Comcast immediately to avoid paying the rental fee. So I couldn't actually watch it if I wanted to.

      But I can't for the life of me think of a reason I'd want to.

  • by zarmanto ( 884704 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:18PM (#55058583) Journal

    As a cord-cutter who has quite happily used an internet-only service provider, alongside a standard antenna for access to broadcast television... I would absolutely never consider a fully blown out cable package for my own use. I mean, sure... the author's math sounds mildly interesting and all, but let's glance at the math required to replicate something like my own setup, for comparison:

    * Antenna in the attic or on the roof - one time cost of $30 to $100 or so
    * A couple of Hauppauge USB television tuners - one time cost of $50 to $150 or so each
    * A home theater computer capable of recording shows from those tuners - one time cost of $400 to $3000 or so (it's a computer... you can pretty much pick your price)
    * Your preferred media streaming receiver(s), to allow you to stream from your HTPC out to any other TVs in your house over your LAN - one time cost of $40 to $200 or so each

    Are you sensing the theme here? No matter how cheap your cable subscription is, it's only a matter of time before my own one time cost setup -- much of which I'd have bought anyway -- saves me money.

    "But it's not one-to-one! You're missing out on sports channels and HBO and SyFy!"

    Yup: all true. And honestly, I'm no worse off for it, either.

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:22PM (#55058629)

    I got the VPN+uTorrent bundle and I'm OK.
    I'll perhaps go legit when it gets just as easy.

  • I was only worried about losing access to my local news channel (OTA is impossible for me), but after I discovered that my local news streams on their web site, I don't even need Sling. And I just dropped Comcast for a cheaper and less greasy vendor. I think this author assumes most of us want a 1:1 replacement for cable, which I'm not I would agree. There's very little I miss from cable that I don't get from Hulu or Netflix.
  • I put up an antennae and I get all the major networks and then some (29 channels in all). I added HDHomeRun to it and can now stream to all computers and Smart TVs in the House. Added MythTV and can also record.

    Now the basic setup is about $100. the additional features added another another $500. I was paying over $110 a month. I buy the movies I want, which I already did before so that's not an added cost.

    The first year I saved about $700 and today my plan would have cost me over $120 a month. So if you ar

  • The article makes the false assumption that I would want regular channels, live news, or live sports.

    Cut the cable get a fast internet connection, Amazon Prime which I already have, and Netflix. For the difference in price I can rent a few movies a month and buy the occasional movie on Amazon and still come out way ahead,

    Personally I have little time for TV, so sitting around surfing channels (and nothing is on) is something I stopped doing 20 years ago.

    Missing "exclusive" shows on cable channels.

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:33PM (#55058709) Homepage Journal

    with the exception of one TV show that pre-dated my cord cutting. South Park. Long story short if you give up watching TV cord cutting is effective.

    The only streaming service I had for quite a while was Amazon, not that I used it often, but because it came with Prime which I had for shipping. Technically during that era I had a dozen or so TV channels with the absolute bare minimum cable that came with the Internet connection, but considering I didn't even have the cable box plugged in most of the I didn't count it. I think half of those channels were in languages I didn't speak.

    Then I got married. My wife brought her Netflix account along and South Park now requires Hulu to watch properly, all in all I've given a lot of time to evaluating the various streaming services over the past few years. That, and I'm watching TV shows again. My findings:

    1. Netflix is where it is at. The best software for game consoles, the best interface, the best in reliability, and a great selection and the best originals.

    2. Hulu is a reasonable substitute with a few alright original shows. They pissed me off early on because nearly everything I wanted to watch gave me a message about not being able to use my TV to watch it and they had commercials even if you paid. Those issues are a thing of the past, but I actually canceled my free trial account early over those issues early on. Again, my wife brought along an account so I gave it another shot. We got the more expensive no commercials tier which is now available and it's better than it was. We have problems with it dropping out occasionally like it just can't make due to lack of bandwidth. She likes to have Hulu around because apparently the best yoga videos are on there. We aren't paying for it right now - I think the plan is to pay for it during South Park season and let it go otherwise.

    3. Amazon Prime. The interface is crappy - it's written for a 1080p widescreen and even if you're using an original Wii that didn't do 1080 or you're using a Playstation 3 in SD mode it is hard-coded to wide screen. You can't read hardly any of the text on an SD screen due to the crappy interface. Even when using a 1080 screen the interface - regardless of console - feels constrained and a little unintuitive. They have some reasonably good shows, not that I watch them. My coworkers have raved about how great The Man in the High Castle is. I'll go ahead and believe them, I don't have time for another show. That being said I'm going to make sure I watch The Tick. Their selection is reasonable at times, but feels lacking most of the time. The poor arrangement of their interface and their tactics of only giving one season free etc... Is all geared around getting you to shell out extra money. Used to all the Prime stuff was in one bucket, but they're beginning to introduce new buckets. Almost like they're cable and they want you to pay for the Horror channel now. I know for a fact some of the shows that were in the general bucket in the past were pulled out and put into the new specialized buckets. The juries still out on this being a good idea or not. I'm not messing with it for one, I can't stand using their software on my consoles because it's so crappy, I can't bring myself to care about their add-on buckets.

    So, even though I don't give a rats ass about live TV at all I have lots of family that really wants local channels and channels in general. I've given a serious look at Playstation Vue but haven't subscribed, because as I said, I don't care about channels. I think if I were to have either of my parents/either of my parent in laws, or my grandmother move into me for whatever reason I would seriously consider at least giving Playstation Vue a go. It's cheaper than cable.

    • by e3m4n ( 947977 )

      Amazon prime looks fine on the FireTV (it better right?) and Roku devices. I'd find it difficult to believe the only streaming box anybody has is on a old Wii. I haven't seen the Fire stick in action (being a diminutive processor compared to the fireTV), but then again its $30 and I'm sure they made the amazon prime interface look good. I know some people just use their PC to watch this stuff, but for me sound is everything. I spent a lot of work building my 7.1 surround system a while back, and I really w

  • You might be paying $70/month for all that getup. But keep in mind, you're not paying the $10/month HD fee. The $10/month DVR fee. The $10/month cable box fee for other TVs. The $10/month router fee so all the hardware works.

    That saves you just $600 in a year alone. Sure, it still sucks but it's a little more palatable.

    Beyond the obvious greed, I'm not really sure why everyone's so gungho to split into their own services. People only have so much free time and so much disposable cash. Setting up a service i

  • The concept of the channel dates back to the time when you had to receive a broadcast on a single frequency. The internet has made that whole concept obsolete. I cut the cord a long time ago, with no channels at all- just content bundles (Netflix, Amazon Prime, with a Youtube supplement). Those services are plenty for me, and cost me a total of $11/month (not counting Prime, which I mostly have for the free shipping).

    Trying to replicate cable channels over the internet is like trying to motorize your horse

  • by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:40PM (#55058773)

    If what you want is cable, get cable. Don't expect to be able to replace cable with "internet" cable and save money.

    You cut the cable when you are no longer interested in very many TV shows, and cable no longer fits with your media consumption habits.

    If you watch regular TV shows all the time, like ESPN, Bravo, FX, HBO, etc., then what you want is a cable package. That's what they excel at. Get a whole bunch of shows produced for the masses*, you're just not going to beat the mass market model that is cable TV.

    However a lot of people no longer fit that mold. In my case for example, I have a ~$60 cable package for literally one show that my roommate likes to watch. He's moving out, so I'm dropping cable completely, because 99% of my media consumption has nothing at all to do with Hollywood. I'm only interested in a handful of shows, and I'm more likely to look up sports clips than I am to sit down and watch ESPN, so I can drop the $60 a month cable bill and just spend $100 a year on full seasons of shows I like instead. There just aren't that many of them.

    But if my nightly habit were to sit down in front of a TV and watch a couple hours of TV, then cutting cable is almost certainly not going to be better in almost any way.

    *I'm not disparaging shows produced for the masses. That's how they can afford to create large amounts of high quality content. It's just economics.

  • What about the software that conveniently scraps TV shows off the newsgroups and then conveniently places them into your Plex streaming folders for playback? Not exactly 100% legit, but still cannot be discounted. Unless you need to see something Live as its aired; such as a sports game, needing to vote for your next favorite washed-up american idol, or whatever, a DVR setup + antenna + Plex + these scraping tools cut the cost down to $5/mo for Plex.

  • I still keep a basic cable package for local news and some add-on sports channels; stuff it makes sense to watch in real time, which most content is not.

    Honestly, I still end up time shifting a lot of the real time stuff too, but the live option is still there.

  • People stream news channels live on YouTube and YouTube monetizes those streams?
  • by Nick ( 109 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:59PM (#55058941) Journal
    Cut the cord years ago. We use an antenna and receive about 60 channels. It was a $10 one-time investment. We recently discovered (a probably still ongoing) coupon code on Slick Deals last week for one month trial (auto-renew of course) DirectTV streaming service. We now have 70 live channels on that Roku app. We've watched it maybe three times in the week and just get entirely overwhelmed. Granted, we live in a large metropolitan area with lots of stations broadcasting nearby, and we only really watch the stations that play the "classic" TV shows (oldies and ones running during fellow Gen-Xers' childhoods) and mostly watch one of 5 PBS stations anyway. But still, looking at all these channels and knowing you can only watch one at a time seems like such a huge waste. This package would be like $80/month or so - no way we're going to let it auto-renew.
  • because I had no reason to watch cable tv anymore and had no desire to watch commercials. I've been on and off Netflix for a few years but even that I've watch all that I wanted to watch and haven't used Netflix for weeks. Do I pirate? Sure as hell do but I spend most of my time on my desktop when I can get instant news, play games, run my game server, do some web development.

  • by Pascoea ( 968200 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @04:30PM (#55059689)

    you're going to need

    Let me stop you there. You don't NEED any of those.

The opossum is a very sophisticated animal. It doesn't even get up until 5 or 6 PM.

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