We haven’t cut the cable in our house, and I don’t see it happening anytime soon.
We pay a little under $60/month for about 300 channels (of which, admittedly, we only watch a few dozen), and I’ve been wondering whether it’s worth it. We don’t watch much live, except for NFL games and tennis grand slam events, but there are plenty of shows we record to watch later which we wouldn’t see at all if we dropped cable and relied solely on streaming services for TV content. In no particular order, that currently includes:
- The Profit
- The Amazing Race
- Lots of classic movies on TCM
- Close Up with The Hollywood Reporter
- American Experience
- 60 Minutes
- CBS Sunday Morning
- The Weekly
- Adam Ruins Everything
- Penn & Teller: Fool Us
- Real Time with Bill Maher
- Hard Knocks
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
- Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
- Better Call Saul
- Better Things
- Killing Eve
- Shark Tank
- Silicon Valley
- The Deuce
- The Graham Norton Show
Don’t get me wrong. We also have Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and watch plenty of shows on those services, too, but neither gives us any of the above. Or, if they do, it’s on a much-delayed basis, long after they’ve aired. I’d hate to have a show I love that’s creating buzz right now (e.g. Better Call Saul, Killing Eve) but I can’t see for a year — it’s already bad enough holding out for a new season. Plus, there are times, rare though they may be, when we want to watch a local or national newscast to catch up on breaking news or severe weather. Can’t get that on the stream.
Still, the TV world is changing, with more companies creating streaming services to carry their own material and compete with Netflix. Disney has announced a $12.99/month package that will give you the new Disney+ as well as ESPN+ and the ad-supported version of Hulu. WarnerMedia will have a new home for all of its movies and shows called HBO+. YouTube has it own extra service. Apple will debut its slate of original content later this year. CBS already has All Access with its own news shows. NBCUniversal hasn’t announced its plans, but probably will by the end of the year.
If you subscribed to all of those services, you’d end up with a bigger TV bill than we do with our current cable package. I wonder how long it will take for some aggregator to offer a bundle of streaming services just as cable companies do for the channels they carry. That way, you could get five or six for one combined price. Maybe, I don’t know, $60/month?
Otherwise, it’s going to come down to choices. Frankly, other than Netflix and Amazon Video (which we get because we pay for Prime service to deliver our packages so quickly), I strongly doubt we’ll sign up for anything else. Yes, that means we’ll miss some content, but much of it won’t be compelling enough to demand our attention, and if we miss something buzzworthy, well, too bad for us. That’s good enough for our daughter, who doesn’t even own a TV but uses her laptop and phone to watch stuff on demand (mostly using our Netflix account).
We’re still better off than during our youth, when there were but a handful of channels and we had to get out of our chairs to change the station.