Is It's time to Cut the Cord on Cable and Satellite TV?

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of  Flickr

I have heard it said that “life is short and then….” You fill in the blank! As an advertising executive, I strive to understand the motives of consumers. What drives us to do things in life? What are our wants and desires? As humans, we have many things that drive us, and our wants and desires can be endless. Having said that, I know that most of us value time and money the most, (I’m excluding love and our survival needs for food, water and air because they are subjects for another story).  Many value money because it is a universal means of exchanging goods and services. But, there is one thing that everyone values more than anything else, and that is time. Time can only be spent once, and it is very hard to extend your time of play when you’re getting close to game over.

This brings me to my point. Today’s broadcast TV market is shrinking, not because people are addicted to their digital devices. They are switching to watching their digital devices because it saves them time. It also provides them a better way to control and allocate their time and money. It puts them in charge of what, when and how they watch TV! In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore why, when and how to cut the cable and satellite TV cord so that you can watch TV anytime you want, (and save some money along the way).  So, put down your remote and get your scissors out so that you too can cut the cord and watch digital TV on your own terms.


The Big Problem
Courtesy of Google free Image search
The problems with all broadcast TV services, whether it's broadcasted on the air, cable or satellite, is that it's either scheduled, bundled or both. Scheduled TV can be time delayed via a digital video recorder (DVR), of which there are many (both included and or purchased separately), but the bundled one is another issue. One of the reasons cable and satellite TV cost so much is because by law they must bundle programming to sell it.

A Short History of How We Got Here
Cable and Satellite TV have been duking it out for the last 20 years to see who could provide the most bang and service for the consumer buck. Comcast/Warner has become a mega corporation through acquisitions and mergers.   As such, it holds a dominant position as an internet access and service provider while Dish and Direct TV satellite are in a battle for the most channels for the least dollars spent.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The broadcast and cable/satellite TV market share has been shrinking for quite some time now. Just look at the number of videos people are watching on YouTube, Facebook, and other social media sites. Don’t believe me? Check out “36 Mind-Blowing YouTube Facts, Figures, and Statistics – 2017”. It shows that almost 5 billion videos are watched every day. Just the mobile YouTube videos watched exceed one billion views per day. Add in the desktop views, and its numbers are mind blowing. We have been writing about this trend for several years now. As far back as 2013, we wrote; “The Future of Web Video – Candid Camera for Everyone,” which showed the growing trend in YouTube subscribers and video’s being watched just going straight up, with no end in sight.

Courtesy of Pixabay
Facebook is no video slouch either. It has been receiving over eight billion views per day.  Even though Facebook measures video views differently (its counting videos with no sound and partial views), it still has impressive numbers that can’t be ignored. Both Google and Facebook have stated that they are aiming at becoming the dominant media giants of the 21st century. They are already well on their way to achieving it.

The Internet to The Rescue
This is where the internet is making a huge difference. In the past, you had to buy bundled packages because few, if any a la carte programming was available. Today on-demand internet TV (championed by Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and a few others) have opened the floodgates for true a la cart WebTV service. The success of the afore mentions pioneers have given birth to a new slew of a la cart online giants including  HBO, ShowTime, Cinemax, The History Channel, Disney, and Nickelodeon just to name a few. Many of the pioneers like Hulu and Amazon Prime also offer second tier access subscriptions to Stars and other programming that can be added a la cart as well. Cable and Satellite TV have always offered what they call premium channels as an add-on, but now they have direct competition with other online providers (including direct competition with the premium movie channels own offerings). On top of that, most of the broadcast giants are also jumping into the fray with their own online web TV portals, including episodes on demand as well. What this all means to us as consumers are more choices and more control of your most valuable assets,” time and money.”
Courtesy of Pixabay

There are Three Critical Parts for Cutting the Cord
1.    Your Internet service speed is critical!
2.    The right hardware for your needs -  an HD antenna, digital devices, TV Players, etc.…
3.    Choosing the right online subscriptions for you needs and budget.

The Need for Speed
Now to be able to cut the cord you’re going to need a fast internet provider that doesn’t throttle your service up and down too much. Livewire has a good article that talks about testing your internet speed so that you can determine you and your family needs. You can test your download speed by visiting any of the test sites in this article.

Hardware is Everywhere
You can get local channels by purchasing an HD antenna at Walmart or another retailer.  In most cities, you can get 10 to 30 channels free on air including most of the broadcast channels. Laptops
Courtesy of Wikipedia
with HDMI output make great online TV connections, especially for college students, the kids, and travel.  A small desktop PC with HDMI can also be a great online TV connection as well. A good Smartphone or tablet can also be used as a Smart TV receiver because you can project the streaming video from your smartphone or tablet to any TV device that will accept your signal.  Many current TV’s are Smart and include an internet connect consoles in them. All you have to do is choose the providers you want and sign up for access.  There are also many console players to choose from in the market. Products like Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire all are great choices depending on your needs and budget. Also, many DVD/Blu-ray players, Game consoles now include online subscription TV services.

Online Subscriptions are the Prescription
There are now dozens of online subscription providers (paid and unpaid) today. Netflix, YouTube TV, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling TVPlayStation Vue, fuboTV, and direct subscriptions HBO Go, Showtime, MaxGoStars, Nickelodeon, Epix, Disney and even DirecTV Now, and Dish Online. Also, many of the major TV channels can be purchased as part of inexpensive bundles from some of the above subscribers. This includes live sports channels like ESPN, and other programming like AMC, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and so on.

Courtesy of Flickr
I have been using Netflix online for over seven years and also subscribe to Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime is interesting because it offers many second-tier subscription channels including many Prime movie channels as well. If you have a newer Sony PlayStation or Blu-ray player, you can subscribe to PlayStation Vue and many other subscription services easily. The Xbox and Wee consoles also offer connections to online subscription services as well. It seems like everyone is jumping on this bandwagon. For my money, Netflix and Amazon Prime are the best bang for the buck right now. Many of these subscription providers (like Amazon) allow you to purchase a single episode, a single season or every episode of your favorite show. You can also subscribe to a premium channel, watch all the on-demand episodes and the live show of your favorite program and then cancel your subscription once you’re done. You can also wait until they are available as part of the main subscription on Netflix or Amazon Prime as well.

Still not sure what to do? The reality is this. Everyone has unique needs, budget and skills to accomplish this task. If you’re looking to cut, partially cut or are just curious as to whether it’s less expensive or not, do your due diligence. What I considered to be the future back in 2010 is here now. The not too distant future will bring the complete transformation of broadcast TV to where the internet is the primary access provider for all TV programming. My research says that you can save money, but its, not a huge saving yet. On our notes page, I have listed more than two dozen articles to help you do your research. You can find a solution that fits your needs, just remember that all three parts are important. I hope you found this information useful. The wise use of our time and money is a topic near and dear to my heart. I hope this article helps you to save both.

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That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

In this article, I have provided three important parts of the puzzle needed to successfully cut the cord to cable and satellite TV. I have also provided a road map of where we came from, what we can do today and where we are going in the future.  I have provided detailed descriptions of the components needed, internet speed requirements and links to many subscription providers (including aggregate and premium movie channels).

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091. You can also fill out the form in the sidebar of this blog where we will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. Our claimed to fame is that we are one of a few companies who actually provide real guarantees.

If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. I recommend checking out the links in the blog, along with checking out other related articles on our Show Notes Page.  Also, don’t forget to listen to the BlogTalkRadio show on this subject.  If you have a useful comment or opinion related to this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog.  Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+ and share us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well.



Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.” 

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