Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Cut the Cord on Cable
Comcast Triple Play! Now only $2 a month for the first month with rates going up to $300 billed directly from your soul twice monthly for the next 2 years. Payment in the form of organs to be sold on the black market accepted. Does this sound or look familiar? With internet access, most shows are available on Hulu or any of the major network channels either immediately after the first airing of the show, or within 24 hours. The time is (nearly) upon us to cut the cord on cable.
If you're a fan of sports, each sports league's website offers games under subscription packages. For instance, MLB.com offers the standard version of MLB.TV for a one time $99.99 for the season, or $19.99 a month (which ends up being more expensive), while the NHL offers it's season package for a one time charge of $79.99 (which is higher at the beginning of the season) or $19.95 a month. Both of these subscription services offer HD broadcasts when available, for those concerned about the highest quality and crispiest images. America's most popular sport, football, has your favorite on local channels at no charge to the consumer, so a basic TV subscription would be necessary for that. As the NFL is currently in a lockout, no subscription service plan is posted for viewing games live within the US.
According to Business Insider, TV providers have reacted to the onslaught of available content online "By trying to port its existing model to the new world and maintain its hold on power and money." With Hulu and the major networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX) all now offering shows online, they have inserted advertisements in the shows, none longer than about a minute per break in the action. Often, the entire episode is sponsored "with minimal commercial interruptions" by insert company name here. These are reasonable trade offs, and I wouldn't even mind a bit longer commercial break (no longer than 2 minutes, though).
For those who say they don't like watching shows, movies, or sports on a small computer screen, there is an alternative. You can by a connector for your laptop or computer and hook it up to an HDTV to display what's on your screen. Now, newer HDTVs come equipped with the ability to connect directly to the internet, so you can go online on your TV and access Hulu, Youtube, and other online subscription services.
There are several big drawbacks to cutting the cord on cable. Individual subscriptions to premium channels such as HBO or Showtime are not available as of now (or I couldn't find them) without a subscription to a major cable company. Also, live news broadcasts from channels such as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, or even the local news are not available for streaming online. The biggest advantage that cable currently has, however, is that everything is in one spot, channel 2-999. For those who are not used to the online culture, it's simple to just press the channel button up or down, or even use the guide feature.
Ultimately, the time of cable is slowly but surely coming to an end. Once the online experience becomes more streamlined and includes more premium programming, people will say bye bye cable.
Posted by Matt Pindera at 8:37 PM