I am not a “cord cutter.” That’s the term for folks who’ve ditched cable/satellite and now watch TV over-the-air or via the Internet. If you’ve taken a look at your cable/satellite bill recently you probably understand what makes cord cutting attractive.
TV stations, like FoxCT where I work, still transmit everything over the air. We’re digital. As long as you receive our signal it will be absolutely perfect! Ghosting, flickering and fading are no longer concerns.
Most, not all, shows on local stations or cable channels are also available online, usually via Hulu or Netflix.
The big loss for cord cutters is sports! There’s no Yes, SNY, NESN, or ESPN. If you’re a sports fan that’s a deal breaker.
Like I said, I’m not a cord cutter, but I’m certainly taking on some cord cutting characteristics. Helaine and I watched the first season of Newsroom online. We watch the Phillies games online too¹.
We have a Roku in the family room. It’s, a tiny WiFi equipped computer which fetches shows from the Internet and plays them on our big TV (often, not always) in HD. There are hundreds of shows available via the Roku I can’t get any other way… and would never miss. Most are low budget, low quality and easily forgotten.
Cord cutting scares the cable and satellite companies. You are eliminating the middle man–them!
Comcast, my cable provider, has been toying with data caps for a few years. Limiting how much data you can ingest makes cord cutting less attractive.
Back in May Comcast announced a 300Gb cap for home users. They also announced it won’t be enforced yet. There is controversy over an exemption Comcast granted to itself!
300Gb seems like a lot of data. It is! However, when looking at streaming video it goes quickly.
My home router logs all my traffic. I’ve attached my usage graph for August above. I swallowed 145+Gb of data last month. That’s around half Comcast’s proposed cap, but I’m nowhere near a fulltime cord cutter. If most of my TV viewing was done via streaming downloads I’d easily pass 500Gb per month.
You can see from the graph the effect of our quick trip to Milwaukee. More revealing is the period when the Phillies were playing the Mets. Those tiny stubs of data are what we normally use. Video is the bandwidth hog!
Without real competition in data providers (Comcast is the only company which offers high speed Internet to my house) the incumbents will do everything in their power, like data caps and sports exclusivity, to protect their business. It’s in their best interest, not mine.
Until looking tonight I figured 300Gb was a far off number I’d have trouble ever reaching. I was wrong.
¹ – Baseball can be viewed online only when it’s out-of-market. You can’t watch the Yankees, Red Sox, or Mets broadcasts (or their opponents broadcast) online if you’re in Connecticut.