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Six cord-cutting myths that just won't die

By Julio Franco
Mar 27, 2016
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  1. Will you have to pirate content? Go without sports? Or is it completely simple? We sort through both the pros and cons to get the truth about dropping cable.

    If the headlines are to be believed, this past decade has seen a mass exodus of people leaving cable television behind for a streaming nirvana devoid of contracts and exorbitant charges for hundreds of unwatched channels. But others think cord-cutting is full of complications and problems. Is either case true? To find out, we took a look at some of the biggest myths surrounding the so-called cord-cutting movement.

    People Are Leaving Cable for Streaming

    Is it a myth? Maybe, maybe not

    For every article saying cable companies are losing customers in droves, there is one stating that the trend is being overblown. It's possible to spin the statistics to support both assertions, but the truth is probably somewhere in between. Though cable companies saw a decline in subscribers in 2013 and 2014 according to Leichtman Research, those numbers were insignificant (approximately 100K and 150K, respectively). That amounts to about a 1% attrition rate. Additionally, these numbers seemed to indicate a growing trend of more people sharing the same subscription.

    Also Read: Living Without Cable: My Experience with Cutting the Cord

    In 2015, however, a total of nearly 385K jumped ship from cable. It seems that after years of it being discussed, cord-cutting is slowly but surely becoming a phenomenon.

    Cutting the Cord Won't Save Any Money

    Is it a myth? Depends

    There are many factors that determine whether cord-cutting will actually save you money. The first is how much TV you watch. If you watch a lot of shows across an array of channels, you may be better off keeping your cable bundle, as opposed to switching to the à la carte options of streaming.

    However, if your television consumption is less voracious, you can probably tune in to all your favorite shows by subscribing to a couple streaming services and viewing the others via iTunes or Amazon. Besides, you may find a new favorite among the original programming that most streaming services now offer.

    The other thing to consider, however, are the startup costs associated with cord-cutting. Unless you have a Smart TV, you'll need a streaming device of some sort, which could be around $50, give or take. You'll probably also want to purchase a digital antenna for picking up over-the-air broadcasts. That'll cost you about $25. You may also need to upgrade your cable service and/or modem if your internet speed isn't at least 5 Mb/s per device.

    How quickly you absorb these miscellaneous costs depends on how much cord-cutting will save you, which is of course dependent on how much you're currently spending on cable. This tool can help you figure out how much you can save.

    Cord-Cutting Is Too Technical

    Is it a myth? Yes

    As streaming devices have improved, they've become more and more user-friendly. These days, whether you choose a streaming stick or box, it's pretty much plug-and-play. Plus, Smart TVs are more prevalent than ever, so there's a good chance you don't have to plug in anything at all. Signing up for streaming services is similarly a breeze; after entering in some basic details, you'll be binge-watching your favorite shows in no time.

    You've Gotta Wait to Watch Recent Episodes

    Is it a myth? Mostly

    While in the past streaming services only made shows available after they were originally broadcast, there are now many options that allow you to watch programs as they are aired. As its name indicates, HBO Now, the network's cable-free streaming app, airs Vinyl, Game of Thrones, and other shows in real time, while streaming services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue allow you to tune in to live TV. And with a digital antenna, you can tune into the major networks.

    Regardless, more and more people aren't watching shows when they air, but rather recording them to their DVRs to watch later, so does it really matter?

    You Can't Watch Sports

    Is it a myth? Yes

    If you're the type of sports fan who always has a game on year-round, you may fare better sticking with cable. Otherwise, streaming now offers many options. Most of the professional organizations have their own streaming channels, each offering several different options.

    For example, NBA League Pass allows you to sign up for only your favorite team's games or pay for individual games. Just be warned, if you root for the home team, its games may be blacked out on these services. Instead, see if you can tune in to a local network over the air, or use a service like Sling TV.

    You'll Have to Become a Pirate

    Is it a myth? Yes

    Not only will you not have to don an eye patch and start forcing people to walk the plank, but you'll also never need to download any illegal material. Most networks are aware of the popularity of streaming and have made their shows available through one or more channels. They often even have episodes available to view for free directly from their website. It may take a little legwork to figure out how to view your favorite programs, but sailing the seven seas of piracy is completely avoidable.

    Readers, what's your favorite cable-cutting myth? Have you said goodbye to traditional TV packages, or are you still paying for cable? No matter where you stand, share your thoughts in the comments below!

    Stephen Slaybaugh is a features writer at dealnews. Republished with permission.

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  2. Rich Woods

    Rich Woods TS Rookie

    For me, cord-cutting has come with a different way of watching TV. If I had to pick a favorite myth, it's that everything is - or should be - on Netflix eventually. This is a myth that derives from the era of DVD rentals, when Netflix literally had just about everything. People then complain when Netflix loses something or they complain that "whenever I look for something on Netflix, it's not there". Of course, we know that Netflix pays for the rights to whatever they show, so a rotation allows for a better selection.

    When I say a different way of watching TV, I mean that we can't expect everything to be available through Netflix. Rather than flipping through the channels to see what's on, I flip through the Netflix catalog. To search for something, I use one of the now many boxes that have a universal search, so it will tell me if it's available through Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Maybe that show that I enjoyed on cable isn't that important. After all, there's quite a selection on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime that I can certainly find something just as good.
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  3. fps4ever

    fps4ever TS Booster Posts: 80   +59

    I'm a network administrator for a small-mid sized telecommunications company that offers cable television and yes cord cutting is real but the author is correct, its been slow and steady compared to the huge loss some are claiming. A lot of customers want to watch what they want, when and where they want and not be stuck on one platform in your living room. Also, content providers are doing it to themselves by charging more and more for channels or a package of channels you must carry even if you only want the popular ones, but have to pay for several you don't. They pretend you are getting a better deal with getting more channels that nobody watches. This forces us cable tv providers to raise rates on our customers because we just can't absorb the cost. Just like our customers have requested we would love to offer ala-carte packages but that is far from a possibility at this point. The only winners are the content providers or the huge cable companies that have enough clout or provide original content themselves.
     
    Reehahs and Phr3d like this.
  4. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 1,910   +534

    I stopped paying for TV over a year ago and gave my big LCD TV to my parents as a gift. There was nothing on it that I can't get on the internet and since a 300Mbps connection is just $7 or $12 for 1Gbps, I have no problems with streaming or downloading what I want to watch.
     
    Reehahs and Chas W like this.
  5. MHMPr

    MHMPr TS Member Posts: 35   +19

    Where do you live, heaven?
     
  6. Chas W

    Chas W TS Rookie

    wow ... where do you get a 300 Mbps connection for so cheap? (Good for you ! )
     
    Puiu likes this.
  7. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 1,910   +534

    I'm from Romania, there are no restrictions to the internet here (sans the cheaper mobile internet, but you can also get unlimited 3G/4G). N-E Europe generally has good internet (think Sweden, Norway, Denmark, etc). It's actually western countries like the UK that have shitty internet. (you can blame monopolies for that)
    When your grandma has 50Mbps far away in the countryside with an wireless router, then you are allowed can brag a bit about it (please don't judge me) :D
     
    Reehahs, mojorisin23 and Burty117 like this.
  8. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,310   +56

    We got rid of cable about 6 years ago. It was always down (and is now from what I hear) and their internet was 1 meg download (on comcast). They have vastly improved their internet offering, now like 6 meg up and down, but if I remember at the house it could be out for days at times and my mother screams when the ota broadcast is down for 2 seconds. I told her they have one technician per channel standing by for her, yet somehow it's my fault when the transmitter goes off for 2 seconds. Ota is never down except abc which occasionally gets in it's off for 2 seconds every 5 minutes mood. She waters the plant where the amplifier/connectors are and spills water on them too. The new amplifier had some kind of feedback loop with the amplifier in the antenna and it goes down till unplugging and replugging, so I removed the inline amp and have the antenna amp with less channels altho all networks. Blu ray movies rent for $1.50 at walmart, and I watch about 2 per year and she less, so no movie channels. Everyone pirates up the gazoo, and when I pirate just one song a year I am hypocritically scolded by them. I would have liked to watch basketball but 3 months of it are called march madness and I just can't take crazy words.
     
  9. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 1,953   +162

    I got cable again and really don't watch it much, on demand has commercials so... Kinda lame. If your watching say nfl like me and like most people your rooting for your local team, without cable you will still see 90% of the games. And without cable you will also see most of the other big head to head matchups. Netflix has a nice supply of movies... You can stay a season behind everyone else if you use netflix for most shows like walking dead, better call saul and game of thrones. But game of thrones is disc only If you want a certain movie, red box.. So you can get by pretty well without cable or pirating. But nothing beats being able to flip through channels and pick what you want that instant.

    However, I find myself changing channels more then watching tv when I actually use my cable. It costs about 75$ more a month since it is bundled with internet and that's not bad. If it wasn't for my gf I would have tossed it after football season. Simply because I cannot watch what I want when I want without commercials.

    If you use a antennae inside put it against a window and get an amplifier if you don't live in the city. I always shake my head when people use netflix and just don't use an antennae. Most flat screens have a converter box built into them if they were made past like 07? My old flat screen from 2009 was the cheapest 40 inch available and has it. You can buy a converter box for 10$ or less on ebay.
     
  10. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,920   +687

    Hey! The UK will catch up eventually alright :p

    But seriously, BT do NOT have a lot of love over here...
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  11. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,509   +2,056

    I think you forgot to put a few zero's behind your prices, either that or you live in Nirvana. If I paid that for an internet connection, especially at those kinds of speeds, you'd have to use a crowbar to get rid of the smile on my face.
     
  12. Nolan54

    Nolan54 TS Rookie


    I'm confused. Is he/she paying per GB of usage? If so that seems awful.
     
  13. amstech

    amstech TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 1,457   +606

    People don't cut cords where I live (Upstate NY) because of the monopolistic hold TwC has on the entire area. Sure, Directv and Dish are around, but their internet is terrible. Verizon doesn't offer anything great around here, best option is TimeWarner DSL, and some people can't even get that.
    We have just started getting fiber through DANC and SLIC a few years ago and thats all for large business requirements, no residential unless your close enough to Watertown, NY.

    I hate TwC but honestly, in my area, I am just lucky to be able to get it.
    $80 for 2MB down, not including TV? I'll take it! Me me, over here!
     
  14. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,043   +273

    One thing I see as a myth being perpetuated by this article is that you need to stream everything. It is simply not true. Myth Busted!

    Over-the-Air (OTA) is a much more viable option since, in the US at least, digital television became a reality. Many shows that are very popular are available OTA by simply adding an antenna to that TV or Smart TV. To take that step to time-shifting OTA may be more technical in nature, but it can also be done. In my area, I get some 30+ channels OTA, and in some areas of the country, the number of channels that are available OTA exceeds 60.

    When ATSC 3.0 goes live, all the problems with the current digital TV reception from multi-path interference will go away, and like it is in at least some areas of Europe, you will be able to get a tuner stick for your laptop and watch OTA TV in a car even when you are going through tunnels. This has already been proven to work. http://www.audioholics.com/hdtv-formats/atsc-3.0

    Cable and satellite would like subscribers to believe that there are no options for receiving TV except through their services. A friend who was negotiating to get his ISP bill reduced was even lied to by the ISP telling him that the government was killing OTA - which is also a myth. But there are options, and OTA is, for some, very viable ATM.
     
  15. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Enthusiast Posts: 62   +19

    Google is working on becoming an ISP with crazy speeds for an all-time low price. If it means I can leave Comcast, I'll do it regardless of anything!

    10 year contact, sure! pay upfront, sure! buy a device first, sure! blood sample? sure! ANYTHING is better than Comcast! gah!
     
    Reehahs and mojorisin23 like this.
  16. mrvco

    mrvco TS Rookie

    I can't really "cut the cord" since I still need that cord for Internet Service. The reality is that the way Comcast has things bundled in my area, I only pay ~$20 for the "Digital Preferred" channel line-up over and above what Phone + Internet would cost. The only thing that is going to change that is if CenturyLink (former Qworst / US Worst market) gets off their duff and offers something more competitive in my area than Dial-tone + Dial-up (yep, no DSL at my house).
     
  17. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 1,910   +534

    it's all unlimited full internet connection. no data caps or paying per GB. 300Mbps down (37.5MB/s) and 100Mbps up (12.5MB/s). one time payment of $7 per month (tax included).
     
    Reehahs and mojorisin23 like this.
  18. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Guru Posts: 511   +46

    I probably pay more for my streaming services than I would for a cable service but I am happy to do this as I like ondemand and being able to watch what I want when I want. I also despise adverts (commercials for those state side) !

    I watched walking dead last night which wasn't ondemand and we timed it roughly every 10 minutes there was a 4 minute advert. In the first 20 minutes there had been two adverts meaning one every 6 minutes! That is ludicrious and just spoils a show as you start to loose interest.

    This is probably the main reason I wont ever get a cable service again. I subscribe to nowtv which includes the main sky channels and I could if I wanted also get Sky Sports. I don't need a 12-18 month contract and fixed line thanks.
     
  19. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,509   +2,056

    I wish I payed that.
     
    mojorisin23 likes this.
  20. joe1946

    joe1946 TS Rookie

    $12 a month for 1Gbps unlimited with no data caps ?
     
    Puiu likes this.
  21. LoginToLogout

    LoginToLogout TS Rookie

    So you're watching movies and tv shows on you computer monitor? :/
     
  22. LoginToLogout

    LoginToLogout TS Rookie

    I know that Romanians have cheap internet. Then again, the salaries are cheap too.
     
  23. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 1,910   +534

    Yeah you are right. but for people working in IT the salaries are actually ok. (the government also helps the IT industry by reducing the taxes for people who work in IT --> aka: they take less from your salary)
    The impressive, cheap infrastructure and very good programmers is why Romania is the hub for the majority of the big companies in Europe. For example, romanian is the second most spoken language in Microsoft offices.
     
    LoginToLogout likes this.
  24. DAOWAce

    DAOWAce TS Booster Posts: 249   +30

    I cord cut before cord cutting was even a term.

    I haven't watched TV since.. 2004?

    Sure I missed a few things I'd have loved to see, but I gained tons of production by not sitting in front of a TV doing nothing. I sat in front of a PC instead, yay!
     

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