Cord Cutting

I’ve moved. There’s one glaring absence in my living room, I no longer have a TV. I haven’t had a landline phone for years. Apparently I am a “cord cutter“.

I had already cut my tv viewing significantly, and I know exactly the moment I made that decision. I was watching Cold Case, or NCIS, or SVU, on the detective and crime channel, where they were showing a string of episodes of the same programme. I hadn’t noticed that one episode had ended and another had begun, and I couldn’t remember how the crime had been solved. I realised 2 things – all the procedural genre TV shows are incredibly formulaic, and that TV was, in effect, wallpaper in that I no longer paid attention to it.

As streaming services rise more people are cutting their cable/broadcast tv and opting for streaming services, often this is a cost cutting move. Many providers bundle their TV + internet + landline services, which is often good for consumers, except that now I only need a reliable wifi service. Many providers bundle their content, which is often not good for consumers. Some years ago I contacted the cable tv provider her and asked if I could have just 4 channels, I was willing to pay half the regular fee even though I was forgoing about 30 channels. The answer was a firm no.

There are lots of guides out there on how to set up a combination of streaming services so that you won’t miss your favourite shows. Not all of the services are available in Europe (yet). There’s some evidence that those moving off cable and onto streaming happier than TV watchers.

My motivation was a little different, I’m happy to save the money, but I also wanted to change how I use my time. Of course I do have Wi-Fi, so I have the option of YouTube or Netflix. But I have deliberately made it inconvenient to watch on a big screen, so I am reading more and being more creative with either writing or crafting.

Meanwhile anyone want to buy a TV set with a slightly broken remote?

image via pixabay


Let’s watch TV


When I was a kid we didn’t have a TV. When we got one there were just two channels of TV available, I can still remember the excitement when two more were started, although my father stated that it just meant twice the amount of rubbish to watch.

And now? My TV provider offers 170 channels in 7 or 8 languages, and I can replay programmes up to 7 days later. In general these channels are funded by advertisers.

New platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon, Starz, Hulu, are changing how TV programmes are delivered to us. These platforms are working on a subscription model, which sounds great – no more ads – although companies pay big money for product placement and content tie-ins.

The companies are also creating content and publishing it in closed environment. For example;

Outlander, a programme about time travel in Scotland, is on Starz. Crown, a series about a young Queen Elizabeth II is on Netflix, The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, is on Hulu. And three hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

There is so much content!

How we watch TV has changed;

  • We’re likely to watch on our laptops, PCs, tablets or phones, rather than TV screens
  • We tend to “binge watch”, because whole series are released at once we can watch the whole thing, rather than rationing ourselves to one episode per week.
  • We use the “second screen” to provide a commentary on social media of what we’re watching.

In my lifetime we’ve gone from single source for viewing content to more than we can possibly watch. Those “morning coffee” conversations on tv are gone, because we now binge watch and at watch at different times. I saw an interview of some of the cast members of the Brideshead Revisited , and they commented that it was an event to watch a series on the day of release as it was released in 1981 – before video was common.

There’s a service being developed, called “Movies Anywhere” that goes some way into helping consumers access content from multiple suppliers without acquiring multiple subscriptions. It doesn’t cover all platforms, and for now it’s US only, but it’s a service the market is waiting for.

In the meantime I’m selling my TV,  and stopping my cable connection, I’ll be wifi only and the queen of YouTube and (maybe) Netflix.

Image:  TV  |  AlexAntropov86 via pixabay |   CC0 1.0