My Reply to the New York Times’s Anti-Cord Cutting Story


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Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating retired people cancelling cable TV service

Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating retired people cancelling cable TV serviceOnce again the New York Times has been less than kind to cord cutters. Just over a year ago I posted a reply to its story “The Downside to Cord-Cutting.” Now it has a new one called “The Messy, Confusing Future of TV? It’s Here”.

This story by Kevin Roose brings up many popular themes that other sites have recently been going after. You can sum the story up into a few main points. Cord cutting is too hard, costs more, and you can’t find what you want.

So let’s take a moment to take apart these arguments.

#1 Finding Your Content

Roose’s first argument is that it is way too difficult to find the shows you want as a cord cutter. “You plop down on your couch, turn on your TV and boot up your streaming device. Then you shuffle from app to app, trying to remember which of your half-dozen streaming services has the program,” said Roose in his story.

The story goes on to talk about a few websites, such as CanIStream.it, to help you find your shows but completely ignores some of the best ways to find your content.

All major streaming players include a search system to help you find your content. Roku has an excellent universal search with voice capabilities. The Apple TV has the popular TV app that pulls from a wide range of apps and more.

Yet somehow Kevin Roose, who says he has been a cord cutter for a few years, missed the fact that your streaming player is the best way to find your shows.

Finally, is it really that easy to find what you want on cable TV? With 200+ channels to go through, it can take some time before you can find the show you want. But wait. It doesn’t have the show you want? More often than not you’re out of luck because unlike with streaming you can’t just go buy a show on Amazon or iTunes with cable.

I personally find my Roku Universal Search or the Apple TV’s TV app the best ways to find the shows I want.

#2 Cord Cutting Should Be Easy

According to Roose cord cutting is too hard. “What happened to the glorious, consumer-friendly future of TV?” Roose said in his New York Times story.

Now I would like to argue that cord cutting can be just as easy as cable once you give it some time. You just need to change your mindset. For example, in the past you may have been used to looking for Fox on channel 5 but now Fox shows can be found on Hulu.

That makes services such as Hulu and Netflix a lot like cable TV channels. Yes, they are not all in the same place but cable also does not put all of your shows in the same place.

Unlike the 200+ channels cable TV has cord cutting offers services that you can pick from or not. I would argue having three or even five streaming services is a lot easier to manage than 200+ cable TV channels you have to dig through and hope it is showing the show you want when you want to watch it.

One of the big reasons I left cable TV was the fact that cable never showed the shows I wanted when I wanted them. With on-demand cord cutting I can access the shows I want when I want them.

#3 Cord Cutting Costs More

According to the Wall Street Journal the average pay-TV bill (just for TV not phone or Internet) cost $104 a month back in 2016.

Netflix costs $10 a month, Hulu costs $8 a month, and Amazon costs $8.25 a month for a grand total of $26.25. Just these three services alone will give you far more content for far less money than cable TV would ever cost. We could easily add a live TV streaming service from Sling TV starting at $20 a month or if you are an AT&T Unlimited subscriber DIRECTV NOW for $10 a month. Now you are looking at a grand total of about $36 to $46 a month.

We have shown that for less than half the cost of the average cable TV bill you can get access to a ton more content than cable TV. Yet somehow that fact was missed in the New York Times story. “Instead, we’ve rushed headlong into a hyper-fragmented mess, with a jumble of on-demand services that, added up, cost more and often offer less than the old cable bundle,” said Roose in the story.

Roose fails to mention that many cable subscribers pay over $40 a month in fees alone. That too-good-to-be-true advertised rate really is too good to be true because the companies hide fees and taxes.

What the author here misses is the fact that even if you went back to cable TV most Americans keep a streaming service. Why do they do that? Many of the best shows on TV right now cannot be watched on TV.

Just this year Netflix earned 91 Emmy nominations behind only HBO. Amazon received 16 nominations and Hulu received 18 nominations. If you want to watch “House of Cards,” “The Handsmaid’s Tale,” “Orange Is the New Black,” or “Transparent” to name a few your only option is a streaming service.

So ask yourself if you went back to cable would you really cancel all of your streaming services?

My Final Thoughts

The American people are not dumb and can easily manage cord cutting. Is there a learning curve? Yes. It’s just like switching from iPhone to Android. It takes a little time to learn where everything is again.

For some reason, many stories seem to push the idea that this is just too hard for Americans. While some people may be willing to pay more for something they are used to I find most Americans are happy to learn a new system in exchange for saving some money and getting more for the money they do spend.

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