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I cut the cord on cable TV almost 5 years ago.  Netflix, Hulu Plus, NBA League Pass, and WWE Network have covered all of my TV watching needs since then.  The decision had consequences—consequences that become more acute as time went on.  The Watch ESPN app has become progressively worse as time has gone on.  I remember a time when one could watch many quality sports events ESPN3 (The Tres).  These days, one is lucky to get a mid-major conference football game on a Saturday afternoon.  On the other hand, I would have never been introduced to, or have an epic man crush on, French Top 14 Rugby if it wasn’t for Watch ESPN.

The thing I like least about cable TV is the sheer number of channels that I couldn’t care less about.  It is true, generally, that those channels make up the overwhelming minority of one’s cable bill on a per channel basis.  The average channel cost in September, 2013 was 28 cents; however, the number is skewed upward by ESPN, which costs 4 times more than any other channel, as you can see below.


My dream, as a cord cutter, is to pick and choose which channels I subscribe to a la carte, so I was cautiously optimistic as both HBO and CBS announced streaming services in mid-October. Seven dollars per month seems like a small price to pay for classic CBS programming, past and current seasons of on-air series, and live-streaming.  Similarly, getting streaming content from HBO for around 15 dollars per month seems worth it, though there aren’t enough details about the service to make a definitive call.  In terms of value, WWE Network ends up being huge: all Pay-Per-View events are live streamed; all WWE, WCW, and ECW Pay-Per-Views from the past are available on demand; classic shows from WWE, WCW, ECW, and WCCW are available on demand; and first run content is produced on a regular basis.

The hope, then, is the move by CBS and HBO to streaming services opens the floodgates for other networks to move to streaming services.  Such a move would free consumers in general from cable companies that more and more are acting as middle-man and consumer inhibitor.  In turn, the way consumers purchase entertainment will fundamentally change toward an environment where consumers hold the power to determine the long term success or failure of content providers on a channel by channel or network by network basis.  Add to this services like Netflix making original content, and the variety of streaming television content becomes enormous for the consumer looking to cut the cord once and for all.  If more networks follow suit, cable TV distributors will feel sufficient market pressure to either update the way they package channels to be more open to the market, or update their internet infrastructures to handle the increased demand in bandwidth.

In spite of the negative consequences, I’m happy with my decision to cut the cord.  As more and more people choose to go without traditional cable television, it will be interesting to see how distributors adapt to changes in market attitudes.

To the cord cutters out there: Do you miss cable TV?  Are there things you wish you could see streaming, but can’t?

Todd Wohling

A long time ago on an Intellivision far, far away my gaming journey started with Lock n' Chase, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons The Cloudy Mountain, and Night Stalker. I earned both a BS-Physics and a BS-Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Today I spend most of my time on PC. I left a career of 14 years in aerospace in Colorado, so I could immigrate to Norway.

  • ZURATAMA1324

    I used to watch cable TV back when I was young.
    Now, I think TV is just an obsolete version of a laptop/computer.

    I can get all the shows I want without BS cable package deals and sometimes even without Advertisement. If I want to view anything on the big screen TV, I plug in HDMI, sit back, bring some popcorns, and enjoy.

    The only fee I have to pay is ‘patience’.
    I don’t need to watch Game of Thrones the second it comes out.
    I can wait.

    In return I get no cheap marketing tactics, just enjoyment.

  • fireflare260

    The one thing I miss is being able to watch local news, unfortunately I live in the unglaciated area of Minnesota. so no over the air channels can pierce the bluffs.

  • Gasbandit

    Speaking as a guy who doesn’t follow sports, I don’t miss cable TV at all. BitTorrent is my DVR.

  • Nick

    I haven’t ever purchased cable. I’ve lived in a couple places where it was available due to other people purchasing it, but looking back I think I haven’t lived in a place with cable TV for about 8 years now. I don’t find myself missing anything from when I did have it. I currently have netflex, and we get ESPN for free due to being on comcast, however I probably wouldn’t purchase ESPN even if it wasn’t available for free. I don’t really see a point in paying for something with ads, and this is mostly why I don’t even browse comcast’s web-TV offerings. They thought it was okay to roll out ads inside of their web-service when I was already paying for their content. And not just a simple small popup. They put in mandatory timed ads inside of the content. And they didn’t even have the ad-purchases to support it. So you saw the same 1-2 commercials back to back to back to back. And on top of that, the ad system would bug out and you’d get LOCKED into only viewing the ads, you wouldn’t be able to even watch the show… No thanks.

  • Brad Sherard

    Ads have always been the deal breaker for me. They appeal to the most base consumer which is to say that they are utterly repugnant. There is enough content in the world I can buy ad free to make me never even notice that I have no tv subscription.

  • Ben Jeanotte

    I cut the cord over 10 years ago! WIth my $1600 37″ Visio HD TV! The first real TV that I was able to hook a computer up to. Since then, the piracy scene has only gotten better and more dependable and almost any show I could possibly want is available at my fingertips any time of day. I can usually download a whole season iof something n 1080p with DTS audio in less than 24 hours. I built a similar setup for my mom 5 years ago or so, and she hasn’t had cable ever since. Cord Cutting is soooo much better than having to deal with cable, commercials, and weird show times.

  • Ben Jeanotte

    Cool point, I haven’t watched local news in so many years, I can’t even remember. However, I consider myself even more well informed than ever, even on local events, and silly enough as it is. That’s all due to facebook!

  • Ben Jeanotte

    exactly… ok that and netflix!

  • Cerxi

    RIght, similar story here, but, I dunno, it’d be nice to be able to do it LEGALLY. 😛

  • Ben Jeanotte

    Laws are for sheep! Heh, nah I do truly believe that piracy is the moral high-ground though. If there was a replicator that could bring free food and entertainment to the poor and cultureless masses, wouldn’t it be wrong to charge people to use it? People made music long before any profit was assigned to it and long before you could buy songs in any form.