Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Time To Kick Cable to the Curb

If you haven't ditched cable yet, now is the time.  It's overpriced and filled with crap that you don't watch.  And what is that, a Che Gueverra reference?  Why do you support that?  You don't?  Well, you're paying them to keep it on.  It's like that couch you picked up in college from the swap meet downtown.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but once in the house, you didn't feel entirely safe sitting on it because... well... what the hell was that smell?

You may watch a few games and have a couple TV shows you like, but is it really worth dealing with cable?  Is it worth all the commercials?  And think about this; all those channels you don't like, your money pays for them.  In addition to the commercials.  Cable started as a way to escape commercials, which is why you paid for it.  Over time, they have become just as bad.  So, if you're not paying to escape commercials, what the hell ARE you paying for?  Choices?  Well, if you can choose between seing your favorite show for $100 a month or $10, is the show any better or worse?

The cable company takes your money every month and splits it up among a shit ton (scientific calculation) of awful channels.  Al Jazerra News, Russia Today, MSNBC, Current TV... even if you only watch the History Channel or the Sci Fi channel, you are paying to keep that other garbage on.  That's why your bill is so high.  They are forcing you to pay for things you may not agree with; at minimum don't watch, instead of getting the channels or shows you want.  In other words, your money... your time spent working to earn that money... the hours of your life that you will never get back... are being used to prop up garbage you don't support. 

For example, let's say someone in the house watches baseball, football, hockey, Walking Dead, Heroes and Game of Thrones.  Let's say someone else watches Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Dexter, all the CSI's and Law & Order.  How much is that every month?  $100?  $200?  $300?  Depending on your package.  A MONTH.  That's $1200 - $3600 a year.  Before adding internet on top of that.

Why?  Most of the shows you watch are available in digital format for so much less.  Netflix is $7 to $10 a month, Hulu is $9 to $10 a month (free on the computer), Blockbuster is about $10 a month.  Between those 3, you should be able to get all of your shows plus movies.  That's $30 a month in comparison.  But, in reality, you probably only need 1 of those, not all 3.  That's $120 - $360 a year.  That's a 90% savings. 

For sports, why mess around with the middle man?  Just go straight to the source.  The MLB, NHL and others all have channels.  MLB TV and NHL Gamecenter are awesome and run something like $100 - $130 (depending on if you want pre/post season games) a season for access to ALL the games.  That breaks down to $8-$10 a month each.  So, let's say you get both and Netflix, Hulu and Blockbuster.  That's $50 a month.  That's still half of the cheaper cable packages, and you only get what you want to see.   

To be fair, the frustrations of the local blackouts on home team games that plagues cable will still apply to the internet unless you know where to go.  But for the purpose of simplicity, the people who don't get to see home games with cable will still experience the same frustration with IPTV.  It's the fault of the teams and leagues not issuing rights to try and increase ticket sales.  The same sources that carry local games are still accessible with or without cable.  For example, here in St. Louis, with or without cable, you would watch the local games on local channels.  That wouldn't change.  You will still pick up the same standard local HD channels without cable.  But, with NHL or MLB, you can get all of the away games for you favorite team... unless you are a St. Louis fan that lives in Oakland... then you can just watch all the games. 

The major catch is that the NFL has major contracts with cable providers right now and it's very difficult to get football without a cable package of some kid right now.  They are only doing that though because you haven't jumped ship.  Until people jump ship and tell the NFL to expand their NFL Ticket and NFL Redzone to an app or internet based resource, there's very limited options there. 

Cable isn't stupid.  They are going to maintain a strangle hold on the NFL for as long as possible, but it's inevitable.  Personalized radio stations like iHeartRadio, Pandora, LastFm, and YouTube have given customers a taste of personalized channel options... it's only a matter of time until people bring this A La Carte mentality to cable.  It's all about the viewer; you, with this new mentality... not the cable companies.  When that happens, cable giants are going to either shrink and adapt, or come crashing down. 

AND, with all of the above (excpet obviously NFL based stuff), you get the same shows, movies and games on all of your devices from TV to XBOX to your Tablet to your phone.  I personally use my XBOX, and the stuff is amazing.  I don't have cable but I don't miss out on any shows I want to watch.  I'm a Doctor Who guy, but I don't have Hulu or Netflix or Blockbuster.  I went a different route, I just go to the XBOX marketplace and pay the $2 for the new episode when it comes out.  I get to watch it, without commercials, in HD for a whopping $8 a month... except I own them forever.

My XBOX subscription is $60 a year, that's $5 a month.  So, for me, I pay around $200 a year for XBOX live, Doctor Who, Walking Dead, & ESPN 3 (which is free on XBOX and carries Rugby, Kayaking, Archery, Lacrosse, Soccer and Eating Competitions that I like to watch).  I also watch Angry Video Game Nerd, Epic Rap Battles of History, and some other YouTube channels... which is also free. 

I also have a Vudu account, which is free, and I just found out that I can go to WalMart and make 'back-ups' on Vudu in the form of digital copies for $2 a disc.  Then, all my physcial movies and tv shows are available on my Vudu XBOX app, my Vudu Android app and the movies and TV shows are upgradeable to HD from standard definition DVDs if I want to do that as well.  But, I'm in control of it, there's no monthly contract and I'm paying 1/6th to 1/18th of what cable subscribers pay... for better service.

Some providers are wising up and allowing viewers to personalize their 'package' to be only the channels or shows that they watch.  It's being pushed by this sort of A La Carte movement where people want cable to create packages that set up privatized packages like pizza toppings.  If you want Disney, HBO, Animal Planet, Cartoon Network and CNN... that package would be $35 or $30 a month and it's all you get.  I've heard of two companies that do this, but they aren't available here in the midwest yet.  The future of entertainment is all about you, so why are you allowing cable to continue to pretend it's all about them? 

Kick that shit to the curb. 

No comments:

Post a Comment