Cord Cutting – My Journey

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When I was growing up there was no cable or satellite. There were only 3 networks: ABC, NBC and CBS. PBS came along a bit later.

Antennas were the way we watched television. If you had a decent antenna and no interference, you would be able to access the networks in your area. If you lived in an area where the signals did not transmit far, like I did, you might not get the ‘full’ experience. In some cases, you wouldn’t have access to a network affiliate at all. Fact of Life. <shrug>

When cable came in – and was installed – it was a game changer on many levels. My dad could now get all the local stations, and then some. This was a necessity in areas who depended upon the local news and weather for safety. For myself, who lived in a large metropolitan area, cable was not so much a necessity as a luxury. A rather expensive luxury.

Over the years I indulged in cable on occasion because regular TV got, well, boring. When I moved back to the mid-west, cable was once again a necessity – but one I could forgo once I moved into a more urban area.

By that time, 25 years into the cable experiment, cable had grown into a rather boring option. What had been exciting and new was dull, tedious, and … uninteresting.

Not to mention expensive.

Streaming was something that I didn’t know very much about. I found Wil Wheaton’s TableTop on YouTube and then began to explore what else was available. Frankly, I was astounded.

I discovered AcornTV, a service that streams programming from the UK, Canada and Australia. As a fan of BritComs and other British programming, I was thrilled. It did not hurt that I got all the programs I wanted to watch for less than $10 a month.

When Roku entered my life, I moved to a new level exploring both paid and free offerings on a box that was a one time only charge and only needed access to WiFi – in my house not an issue.

I would occasionally get curious about cable and satellite. The latter is not a possibility because I have trees, lots of trees. The former… <shrug>

The most prevalent complaint about cable and satellite services (beside the service or lack thereof) is the fact that you spend $$$ on channels you don’t watch. Waste of money, right?

If you are a life long cable subscriber and have no idea what is available over the air in your area, here is a simple and easy way to find out. Go to a TV listing provider and see. Most will ask for your ZIP code and the way you view your programming, Antenna or Cable. Choose the one you aren’t using.

Eye opening, isn’t it?

Television is a very personal exercise. What you watch, how you watch and if you watch change from person to person – even in the same home.

For myself, looking at taking on cable required me to take stock of what I was actually viewing, what I wanted to be viewing and what I was not interested in at all.

Looking at TV listings in my area by provider gave me solid information on what was available. Looking at various streaming services allowed me the opportunity to see what I was willing to pay for – and what I wasn’t.

I discovered that I really don’t watch that many movies. I love cartoons. British programming? You bet! Sports? No, thanks.

Streaming has become such a game changer that many networks and studios are looking to develop their own platforms. Some have added streaming services in addition to their cable/satellite offerings.

If you are contemplating cord cutting, there are several articles and books available with information that could be helpful. For myself, I suggest you sit down and take a good look at what you watch, and how much you want to pay.

You could replace a hefty cable bill with a collection of streaming services that could equal that bill. Or not.

I have Amazon Prime, AcornTV, BritBox and CBS All Access. Just these cost me less than $50 per month. I have all the movies I want in addition to some programming I wouldn’t have access to otherwise. BritBox has Dr. Who – years worth!

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know I recently dropped Netflix. Why? Because I wasn’t watching it.

As a friend recently said, “There is so much to see and so little time.” Yes, and no. What I realized is I watch what I want and if I haven’t made any effort to watch, I wasn’t all that interested.

One other thing that appeals to me – I no longer have to program a DVR.

Test it out yourself. You just might save enough money to buy a huge new TV or go on a trip. Or you might find programming that really interests you without paying for stuff you never watch.

Categories: Musings TV

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