Cable TV... Cutting the Cord

The changing landscape of TV entertainment...

Are you on the verge of cutting the cord, and not paying for cable television any longer because you are tired of surfing 200+ channels and feeling like there is nothing you really want to watch?

We recently went through this in our household, and decided to try cutting the cord. It wasn't an easy decision, but when we looked at our cable bill complimented by the lackluster billing of bad sitcoms that it no longer made sense.

I don't know what it is about "fake laughter" during an un-funny sitcom that makes me cringe, but it does. Personally I would rather watch an old episode of All in the Family, Good Times, The Jeffersons, or even more modernly, Seinfeld. There is something incredibly impressive about the way they filmed in front of a live studio audience. Somehow the messages come across more genuine than the one liners that are truly NOT funny by most accounts.

I don't want to paint a picture of negativity around this post though. Rather there is an incredible upside because cutting the cord was the best thing we could do. Not only do we save money, but there is so much great, I'll go as far as to say "better", content out there if you know where to look.

Apple TV vs Cable TV

Local Channels are still free

For $40 give or take you can still get all of your local network channels for free with a simple modern antenna. These aren't the rabbit ears from the old days, but rather have a modern look to them. Yes, you even get your channels in HD so no worries that the clarity won't exisit. I've tried the Terk, brand, which I picked up at B&H in my NYC apartment, and it works great. Although I've read that reception varies per your location, so keep that in mind, but you can always return it if it doesn't work in your favor of course.

Apple TV and Chromecast

I haven't tried Chromecast, but am told it's quite good. Only reason is that we have an Apple TV connected to our televisions, and absolutely love it. It offers a multitude of experiences, which we will detail below.

  1. Netflix 
    With as many subscribers as Cable TV Netflix hits it home for about $8 per month. Now that they are creating award winning original TV shows, they even have content that you can't get anywhere else. By all standards I can measure from the actors, to the filming, to the script writing, to the delivery Netflix IS what modern TV should be. 

  2. Crackle 
    Next up on the Apple TV is Crackle. Much like watching regular television there are commercials and product placements to deal with. But the commercials make up for the fact that it is FREE, making worthwhile. And, with original content like Jerry Seinfelds "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee", they have potential to be a very big player.

  3. Vimeo 
    Love indie films, and searchable creative content created by high quality filmmakers? Vimeo not only streams gorgeous HD footage from anyone and everyone, it also offers filmmakers a pay per view option to share their stories. Want to support artists trying to make it in the film world? Vimeo offers you the chance to be entertained and philanthropic. 

  4. Sports 
    The NFL, NHL, NBA, and MBL have Apple TV channels as well offering highlights, player interviews and more allowing you to stay up to date with what's happening on the field.

  5. Art and Education 
    You can also have access to PBS, Smithsonian, and the History Channel there on demand so you won't miss out on that touch of sophistication if you so desire.

  6. youTube and Yahoo Screen 
    Of course youTube is free as well as Yahoo Screen. Both offer intersting content created by all, with Yahoo curating fashion and creative content from the likes of Vanity Fair, Vogue, Martha Stewart, GQ, and others.

Yes, content isn't the problem, which is exactly why we made the hard, yet personal decision, to cut the cord. I can honestly say that we don't miss a thing. Every time I think for a moment that I wish I had cable, I try to remember that all I did was channel surf. Now, I get exactly what I want, when I want it. Isn't that what we all wish to have?

Have you cut the cord? Join in the conversation, and let us know your feelings on the current state of entertainment!

Considering joining the future of TV and/or cutting the cord? You can purchase the products shared in this post below from Amazon.

Charles Maring is a photographer and filmmaker at Maring Visuals, and a co-host / creator of the Together In Style talk show.