Over the past few years we’ve entered into the world of subscription services for entertainment, among other things. It started out with a few, but media companies have found the benefits of having their own streaming services outweigh selling their content to an existing service. At least, that’s what they think now, but what happens when people get subscription fatigue? It’s happening to me. Let me start by first listing all the entertainment subscriptions that I currently pay for.
A couple of months ago I decided to do something I never thought I would do. I cut the cord. Sort of.
In December I decided to cancel my cable. The bill was getting too high and I have been watching less and less traditional TV. Many of the shows I watch over the past few years have ended or I lost interest in them (looking at you The Walking Dead). Many of the shows I continued to watch I found I could watch the next day on Hulu, of which I was a subscriber. I also found many new shows that rivaled the quality of network and cable shows, even premium cable shows, on Hulu and Netflix. So, I made the decision to cut the cord.
Currently, I subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon (a bonus of my Prime shipping subscription) and HBO Now. The only show that I currently watch but cannot get on these services is AMC’s Better Call Saul. Well, that was the case until this week. Charter, the cable company in my area, is offering their version of the Sling TV service called Charter Spectrum Stream. For $20 a month you get some popular cable channels (TBS, FX, ESPN, and AMC among others) plus either HBO or Showtime. So for $5 more a month I can get HBO plus some other cable channels including AMC for Better Call Saul. I can then cancel HBO Now. One of the other upsides to the service is that you get the local channels (even the alternate HD local channels that no one ever watches). This was great for me since, even with an antenna, I couldn’t get any local channels over the air (not entirely true. If I touched a co-ax cable to the window frame and grounding the signal, I could get 3-4 local channels. Trust me, it works).
This is almost TV as I want it to be. I am paying for the channels I watch the most and can watch my shows whenever I want without the added cost of a DVR. It will be interesting to see how this continues to evolve over the next few years as more and more people cut the cord and opt to watch TV in non-traditional ways. The only thing I have yet to figure out is how to watch Cardinals baseball this summer (without using MLB at Bat and a DNS routing service). I think sports will be the last hope that traditional cable and satellite subscriptions have. Once the various leagues wake up to the potential of offering sports without a cable subscription, I will be set. But I’m not holding my breath.