Let me just start by saying that going cable-free is not for the faint of heart. Yes, there is lots of content out there that you can stream via your Roku or Apple TV or Google Chromecast, though it definitely requires more of an effort. I, too, enjoy the relaxing downtime that a premium cable package and a remote can provide (when we visit my parents, I binge-watch lots of International House Hunters!).
But, and this is a big but: there are lots of unexpected side effects that come with cutting the proverbial cord. Namely getting several extra hours back in your day.
My son saw this picture and said he could “picture me doing something ‘wacky’ like this and putting it in our living room.” Ha!
We decided to cut the cord nearly seven years ago, after I wasted hours of my life watching a marathon of this.
Yes, I watched a six hour marathon of this tripe. Why, I don’t know.
Seriously. My husband and I laughed about it, but then decided that there were not enough hours in each day to do all of the things we wanted to do. So one of us suggested (can’t remember who, actually) that we get rid of the cable AND the television. UPDATE: Husband says “it was definitely you who suggested getting rid of the cable and TV!”
The next day, we posted the TV on Craigslist, and just like that, it was gone! People thought we were crazy. I thought we were maybe a little crazy. But it was rather liberating. We kept our Netflix subscription so we could still watch movies on our iMac and in time, we saw the market shift in response to this new trend: people were starting to cut their cable subscriptions and now there were services that acknowledged the change. Netflix started streaming movies, Amazon followed suit, and soon enough, Hulu was on the scene to address the needs of those not wanting to miss network series. We even subscribed to MLB.tv, which allowed us to watch live regular season baseball (save for my hometown team because of blackout restrictions) and playoff games.
We didn’t have traditional television (in terms of live broadcasts), but we didn’t really miss it. I read this book, which was useful, and found other things to fill my time. And around me, more and more, I saw people ditching their cable subscriptions.
A significant change to the cable-free movement came when fellow NU alum Chet Kenojia founded Aereo–enabling us to access live network TV via our Roku player (which was handy for watching real-time sports or keeping up American Idol!). On June 25, 2014, however, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that shut down Aereo. Networks successfully sued the start-up for copyright infringement arguing that Aereo’s use of antennas–the rental of which allowed subscribers to view live network television in much the same way that traditional Rabbit Ears would work–was “rebroadcasting” their content without permission. This was a sad day for us, and one for many others, I think because a growing number of people want to be able to consume visual content in a more deliberate way rather than paying for a bunch of channels that they really don’t need. It will be interesting to see what happens with this.
As they say, stay tuned…
What are your thoughts about cable television in the Internet age? If you have cut the cable cord, do you find that you have more free time for other things?