This week, Consumer Reports posted an article by James K. Willcox titled “Why Cord Cutting Isn’t Right for Everyone.” While I do agree with Mr. Willcox that for a very small number of Americans cord cutting may not be the best choice, for the vast majority of Americans cord cutting will save them money and still give them access to the content they want.
My issue with the article is with the arguments Mr. Willcox uses in stating cord cutting is not right for everyone.
So, lets break down my rebuttal to the Consumer Reports article, “Why Cord Cutting Isn’t Right for Everyone.”
#1: CR Overstated the Cost of Cord Cutting
In the CR article, they state “cable-replacement streaming services typically cost just $40 to $50 per month.” This is inaccurate. The CR article clearly ignores a wide range of far cheaper options. DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV streaming services both offer cheaper options starting at $20 and $35 a month.
Also, CR ignores the fact that most cord cutters do not use a live TV streaming service. Of the estimated 25 million cord cutters in the United States, only about 5 million of them use a live TV streaming service. That means for most cord cutters their bills are more around the $10 a month range per service, not $40 to $50 a month.
The most important thing the CR article ignores is the fact that most cable TV subscribers already pay for a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. So, these services are not new costs when they cut the cord.
#2 CR Overestimates the Cost of Internet
According to the CR article, 200 Mbps internet starts at $50 per month but can go up to $95 a month after the promotion ends. Yet, they fail to mention that bundled internet will also go up in price after the promotional pricing ends. This tactic is not exclusive to internet only and is used on all cable offers. At no point in the CR article do they say bundled internet costs X versus internet only which costs Y.
According to a survey of our readers, about 70% of them pay less than $70 a month for their internet. Therefore, I would argue that even if your internet bill goes up slightly after canceling cable, the savings from canceling cable TV far outweigh the minor price bump on the internet side.
Lastly, 200 Mbps is overkill if all you are planning on streaming is Netflix. I would encourage people to look at a slower less costly internet packages which still provide good streaming.
#3: Limited Streams
One of the points CR lists is that many streaming services limit the number of users. Yet, they forget to mention cable TV now does the same thing. Increasingly, most cable TV providers have switched over to digital. With this switch, if you want extra TVs in your home connected to your cable subscription, you have to pay a per box fee.
This digital box rental fee recently has been averaging around $5 a month with many providers. Before cable subscribers know it, they could be paying $10 or $20 a month extra depending on how many people want to be watching different shows in their house at the same time.
Yes, some streaming services will limit you anywhere from 2 to 5 streams at once, but remember, you are paying a fraction of the cost of a traditional pay TV provider. It is also very likely that while one person in your household may want to watch Sling TV, others may be looking for Netflix, etc.
#4 One Service is Never Enough
The CR article ends with arguing that you likely won’t get everything you want from one streaming service. While it is common for many cord cutters to have multiple streaming services, it is also very common for cable TV subscribers to subscribe to multiple streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon.
Finally, CR fails to mention that cable often won’t give you access to some of the biggest shows like The Handmaiden’s Tale or Stranger Things to name a few.
I could keep going, but you get the idea. All the issues stated with cord cutting are also issues with cable TV. If James Willcox would like, I would be happy to help show him how he can be a cord cutter. As for most Americans, cord cutting can give them everything they want far more cheaply than cable.
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