In July of 2012 my wife came up to our room, where I was working on a sermon. Her face wore an annoyed expression and she was carrying a set of papers in her hand. Holding it out to me she said, “Would you take a look at this? They are out of their minds!”
The set of papers was our Comcast bill, and my wife was absolutely correct. Comcast was out of their minds. That July our two year contract was up, and Comcast decided to play the game “let’s see if anyone is paying attention to their bill” with us. My wife is rather meticulous about this and so noticed when our bill shot up to just under $200 for a “triple play” package. The previous month it had been under $150.
I had been under the impression we’d been paying far too much for cable for years, but my wife always disagreed. The hike to the $200 range was the final hurdle for her. By the next month we’d dropped the “triple play,” purchased our own cable modem, and reduced our service an internet only account 1.
It’s been three years since we cut the cord.
I did have an antenna 2 up on our roof for local broadcasts, but it tends to lie dormant except during football season. I had planned to watch the over-the-air broadcasts of the other local sports teams, but Comcast has pretty much gobbled up all the broadcast rights in Philly and OTA sports broadcasts are a thing of the past. I really don’t mind, as less of my time is sucked up by sports. When I feel like watching a show “live,” however, the picture quality from the Antenna is absolutely stellar. I simply don’t do very much “appointment television” anymore.
My wife has taken to watching BBC dramas on her iPad or MacBook. She much prefers watching shows on her screen, rather than connecting to them on our living room television. In fact, I will often come into the living room as my wife is watching a show on her iPad – the large screen left silent and dark.
My children barely remember cable and I’m not certain they could even name the broadcast channels. They don’t watch OTA television and even when we had cable they preferred to access shows on demand. To them, the channels are “Netflix,” “Amazon,” and “Hulu.” On these channels they love watching Doctor Who, Malcolm in the Middle, and even the Star Trek animated series. YouTube is strictly for their personal screens and the culture references my kids make spring more from YouTube than any old-school productions. If they had been born a few years earlier and we cut the cord, they might have felt some dissonance between themselves and their TV-watching friends, but they came to age post-TV.
Would I go back? Never.
There is no need for it, at least for our family. The streaming services we use more than make up for the loss of cable, and when we all want to watch something together we don’t see “what’s on.” Rather, we ask what type of show or movie we want to watch and search for possibilities. About the only item which would make me consider paying more for television is if the ridiculous blackout restrictions were lifted from professional sports. I’d consider paying for MLB at bat, for example, if I could watch the team for which I actually root. Until then, those teams have simply lost me as a viewer 3.
While my family may have been among the household trailblazers in 2012, in 2015 cord cutting is becoming more common. Eventually it will be the norm. I’m looking forward to seeing that day come.