I’m A Chord Cutter. Now What?

by Mrsethprice


So it begins this coming Monday. Last night I called Comcast and cut everything except the local 4 channels and PBS just in case. I can no longer justify paying the price that I pay for television content. Come Monday I will be one of the chord cutters. Want to  hear more on how and why and what I will do to augment my media experience…well read on!

In my household we had reached a breaking point where my wife no longer watched tv at all and my son is really satisfied with DVD’s, I was the only person that was watching the television and the cost to do so was climbing every 6-8 months with Comcast’s on-off-on promotions. So I did some research and consulted my better half and decided to take the plunge to “mostly” cut the chord (mostly…what..that doesn’t make any sens..e). You’re right, let me explain. I can’t get the major networks with an off-air antennae. Geographically where my house is located I can’t so I resigned to paying a nominal fee to Comcast for those lonely networks. Really only for the occasional live sporting event or breaking news.

Here are the findings of my research:

  1. I was almost exclusively watching content on the DVR alone
  2. Most of this content..roughly 90% is available for free online
  3. I was paying so much basically for the rights to record live tv to watch later on.

That’s what finally hit me. I was paying for the privelage of watching/recording live TV; I just never actually watched live tv. The networks themselves will record it and I can watch it on a slight delay for free. At it’s heart that is no different than a DVR. This however does not fill in all the gaps for media content.

I no longer have channels like CNN or news of that sort only the 5 o’clock news locally (which I never watch). Thus my search on the intertubes began. There were a few options that eventually boiled down to these candidates:

These are all great viable options depending on the end user to fill in the gaps. For me the choice was relatively easy. Apple TV didn’t really work out for me as I don’t have any other Apple devices nor do I want to do everything through iTunes. It is a model though that I would embrace since it’s basically what I would love to happen in the next few years. Basically with the Apple TV I’m paying for each thing I watch episode by episode which could work in some cases but not really for me at the moment.

Boxee was really the opposite side of the coin for me. This box recently announced that they will make it stupidly simple to integrate live local feeds to be distributed through their box. Downside with that is it has to come off of the antennae that you already use and that is not an option for me. The streaming options were limited as well but they do bring quite a few unique things to the table that the others don’t.

Roku is what I think I’ll end up going with. This is kind of a happy middle between the two. The only subscription services that are there are ones that I may already be using such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. The big thing that this little box has going for it is that it scoures the internet for feeds such as live streams from Fox News or stuff from Hulu or other many many more places. There are also developers that have made many custom channels that will plug into things that are more niche stuff. Say…rock climbing or cross-stitching. Whatever your deal is. It really is pretty customizable.

Will it work? Who knows. I hope it does though so I can save some change in the long run. Really I can’t see a time where it’s ever going to be worth the cost of traditional cable services again.

As this story references a bit, the cable companies will eventually just turn into pipes for content through the web if they don’t realize that I don’t need all those channels and that I would happily pay a fair price if I could dictate the channels I paid for and only pay for those. Some will say that shows like Mad Men or something wouldn’t come about on smaller networks if that was the case. I don’t think so however. The internet and media history as a whole pretty much shows that if you have a good product it will be successful. Having a paid-per-network pay structure would force the companies to make better shows. Their advertising revenue stream would depend on it.

Check back periodically as I may write to the outcome of my little experiment at times.