Cord Cutters Beware

Cord cutting scares the cable and satellite companies. You are eliminating the middle man–them!

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 too&#185.

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.

&#185 – 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.

6 thoughts on “Cord Cutters Beware”

  1. Interesting I was just researching trying to cord cut today. My Cablevision bill is out of control…I can save money by cutting channels but I can’t get YES network with the “economy package” I figured I could deal with it by subscribing to MLB TV and watch via Apple TV while still saving money, but not with the blackouts…its a no win situation.

  2. Being a Cablevision subscriber, the recent blackout of all Fox programming due to some beef they are having with Tribune makes me want to cut the cord, most definitely. I also have a Roku and while it is easy to use, the selections, as you mention, are numerous but of poor quality. Cable companies take a huge chunk of my monthly income for their squabbles. They say that giving in, as in the Tribune case, and last year’s Food Network kerfuffle, will result in higher costs for customers. They plaster “apologies” on the removed channels, and I am still paying the same. No wonder people want to cut the cord!

    I miss your newscasts, Geoff (even if you aren’t there at the moment!)

  3. I use Dish for TV which is much less expensive (although, still not cheap) than Charter or Direct TV and I feel I get a great value and a TON of channels! As for internet, the only game in town (well, at least North Kent part of town) is Charter. Very pricey. I have been on AT&T’s waiting list for DSL..that came and went, and now, their UVerse. Honestly? I’ve decided that neither UVerse nor their DSL is attractive to me any longer. Besides, they are NEVER going to bring that technology this way…at least not in my lifetime. Both lag incredibly with the addition of multiple hundreds of users.I don’t feel upset that it isn’t here. I have the fastest that I’ll get around here.I’ve considered using satellite, but it’s no cheaper and I’m spoiled. I can put up with atmospheric outages here and there with my TV, but NOT with my internet. Why don’t I use Charter cable for both my TV and internet? Crazy, but my cable TV was going out CONSTANTLY…more so than my Dish but, my internet never goes out…weird.

  4. We’re OTA and at the mercy of sight lines and tree lines.
    But it’s free. We don’t spend a lot of time in front of the tube.
    Weather is our fave, and we love the FoxCT apps for iPhone and iPad. They are AWESOME.
    We’re too far into the woods for satellite or cable. It’s OK. Did I mention that it’s free?

  5. I went for the cable service when it first came out. We paid $17 a moth back then. Now, we pay $94 a month and it’s hurting us plenty. I’m waiting for UVerse to arrive here and then I’ll try that for a while and if it’s not worth it I will invest in an antenna and cut the cable too.

  6. I have been a cord-cutter since 2004. I only receive TV OTA. I am not a major sports fan so I don’t miss that part.
    I have Comcast for my internet service only. Between my step father and I we still don’t hit the cap as well. (My step father loves watching YouTube all the time).
    I stream my shows from the major TV channel websites, and buy the ones I can’t stream. And it is still much cheaper than if I had to pay for cable service.
    Since I watch all my shows on the computer anyways, I don’t even own a Roku box and any box like that at all.
    And my TV set is still an older tube set.
    So cord-cutting for me has been great. I figured that U have saved well over $5,000 in the last few years by not having cable TV.

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