While Hollywood complains and moans about lost movie revenue, and cable companies do the same because of lost customers, consumers are looking more and more to alternatives to shoddy new movies and rising cable prices.
About six weeks ago I realized that my wife was watching the one millionth rerun of "King of Queens" and I was scouring the hundred or so channels on cable and finding squat worth watching, so I decided it was time to try something new and save some money in the process. I picked up a Roku box.
I soon discovered that I could watch reruns of my favorite shows without commercials on Netflix using a Roku box to stream shows. For $8 a month with Netflix verses $80 a month for Cable I could watch more shows than I could keep track of, plus watch numerous movies on Crackle for free. More recently I added Hulu Plus giving me yet more choices in shows for another $8 a month. Add an antenna for local TV stations, and cable seems a useless waste. On top of this I can plug my computer into my TV and get additional free content over the net. Wow, who needs cable?
Networks and cable companies are beginning to realize too late that trying to shore up a falling entertainment wall is seeking to hold back floodwaters that are already up to their waist. They are planning for the battle and haven't realized they already lost the war. Hulu Plus is creating their own programming, as is Crackle, the new media empires will be streaming across the web and not from cable companies.
This has been going on for years, actually I'm late to the game. My daughter was doing this years ago, and people have been cutting their cable wires for years. About the only reason I can see to have cable at this point is for sporting events, but not being a big sports buff this is no loss to me, and I will be surprised if we do not see sports empires finding ways to bypass traditional methods of revenue and go directly to the customer without middle men in the future.
I expect the cable companies will survive largely as Internet service providers. That is my final tie to my cable company and I have no complaints about the Internet service they provide. As long as they continue to provide that service and continue the quality I'm happy to maintain that connection, but extravagant cable bills for TV and cable networks with ever-increasing prices--I've left those days behind forever.
It did not need to come to this. I was blissfully ignorant of just how easy it would be to bypass cable television. If greedy networks had not continually foisted higher prices and held hostage numerous programs over the years, I would never have come to this place. All apologies to sports and food network fans but I'm tired of paying extra dollars each moth for network programming I never watch. If cable had offered us an ala-cart menu with lower prices making available to us only those networks we actually watch--I probably would not have cut the cable.
I don't want to sound like I'm just bashing the local cable companies, they have often had no choice but to bite the bullet and pass on higher prices to consumers. What I got for free with an outdoor antenna many years ago when when I lived at home, now is a bazillion dollar industry that not only crams endless commercials down our throats for ad dollars, but soaks us with increases in our cable bills leaving us to pay for their lousy programming twice over, we pay once in precious time spent with commercials, and again with ever-increasing cable bills. And there are ever more stations for higher prices, most of these new stations are hardly worth watching but we pay for them anyway.
It may not be easy for some people to cut the cord with their cable companies, and I can understand that. But for me, adding an antenna for the local stations, getting a Roku box for Netflix so I can watch ad-free Movies and TV series, and Crackle which has modest ads but provides free movies and a handful of TV series, and Hulu Plus which is obnoxious with the ads but supplements choices for cable cutters with newer TV programs, and the option to plug a computer into the TV for additional programming, these make cable cutting worth it to me.
I think the old paradigm of people depending upon cable companies to supply them with entertainment is beginning to fade. There are more options today for entertainment than ever in our history, and we can be sure such choices will increase in the future. I don't hate my cable company, but I can't say I'm sorry to say goodbye. The future regarding entertainment is going to be something to see, and I suspect that those who adapt to the new paradigm will thrive, while those who try to hold onto the old ways will lose their customers.
How about you--have you cut the cord to your cable company?