I fought the cord, and the cord won

I had it all planned out. Inspired by Macworld contributor Joel Mathis’s recent piece on the subject, I was finally motivated and ready to cancel my cable television subscription. It didn’t work.

When I’ve haggled with Comcast about the cost of my package they’ve countered enough to make me keep my service. Plus they’re the only game in town for high-speed Internet (DSL doesn’t cut it and we’re a long way off, if ever, from getting fiber to the home in my area). So I can relate to Lex Friedman’s frustrations here.

  • I’ve never paid for cable – I’m of that generation that pays just for internet and buys what they want to watch on iTunes – I’ve got a huge collection of movies and TV shows streamable to my Apple TV and I never run out of stuff to watch (I am someone that likes to watch things more than once – part of my personality)

  • TWH

    I too, was inspired by Joel Mathis to “cut the cable cord” and did so in December. We only watch a few sports and awards shows per year anyway.

    I installed a cheap HDTV aerial antenna on the old DirecTV satellite dish pole. A $30 amplifier did help. I bought the HDHomeRun by El Gato to broadcast to all Mac’s and iPad’s in the house. The “over the air” HD picture is much better because it’s not compressed like satellite or cable.

    It’s been good, so far. We have downloaded some Doctor Who via iTunes and have Netflix as well.

    • ShawnL

      I’d love to use an HDTV antenna. However I can’t, as I’m too far away from broadcast towers. That’s the thing that ticked me off about the HDTV transition, I thought that it would make reception better, therefore more practical for me who lives 60+ miles from all the TV broadcast towers in the state of Maine.

      I’m not in the middle of nowhere, just off to the side of everywhere. Perfectly located between the media markets of Bangor and Portland where the TV stations are, so that I’d have to have the most expensive HDTV antennas perfectly pointed at a tower and hope that I’d have a clear enough line of sight to the towers (and with stations using different towers I’d need TWO antennas to get all broadcast networks).

      If I could go over the air for broadcast TV, I could cut the cord easily. As it stands now, I still do cut the cord seasonally, by having satellite service suspended for a few months at a time.

      • Funny how over-the-air was way more forgiving of a weak signal before digital replaced everything.

      • dr.no

        Old Analog used to beam the signal to Troposphere

        while the Digital just uses Edge so it is limited to 30 miles direct line of sight.

        It is still broadcasting in the same analog frequencies as old.

        Obviously you need old giant dish satellite dish capture the signal of broadcasters and unscramble for free.

  • The only thing I have to say to cord-cutters is: “Did you see that game last night?”

    If you don’t mind watching last week’s shows next week, the Internet is fine.

    • lucascott

      Yep. At the pub.

  • ShawnL

    “The cord won” Well, more like the credible threat of cutting the cord caused the cable company to give a better offer. So, that headline should also add, “… and so did I.”

  • jacksonsquire

    I still use Comcast for internet, and like Peter it’s about the only viable option in town as DSL is just too dang slow.

    When Comcast stopped doing analog cable and forced the boxes upon us with an additional $20 + $5.99 hidden rent fee for the box and $2.99 hidden rent fee for the f-ing remote I decided I had enough. I was quite content with just not having cable TV, but with my mother’s living with us who’s a TV nut it’s kind of hard. We did antenna for a while; it worked well until she wanted to watch some cable channel. We then switched to satellite. Same price as our bill before the price hike with about 200 more channels — not that she watches them anyway.

    Truthfully today if you care anything about television you have to resort to illegal methods to cut the cord which sadly even with legal alternatives like iTunes it’s still the best way.

    • I disagree – if you care about television – it is all about viewing habits – I don’t have the TV habit of watching thousands of channels a day – I have the habit of watching the shows I actually enjoy and the movies I enjoy. The iTunes method of paying for what I want works for me. I don’t need all I can eat content.

      Also – after a few years of paying for content you amass a HUGE library of great content that you have access to – all of it commercial free.

      • jacksonsquire

        Viewing habits don’t matter because if you pay for cable and satellite you’re paying for a bunch of channels you don’t care for and never will watch.

        With iTunes none of it matters either when it comes to cutting the cord because you don’t ever get the television content within any reasonable amount of time after it airs on television on iTunes. You show up for work the next day with your friends’ talking about the great television show the night before, and you’re having to plug your ears to keep from having it spoiled because iTunes doesn’t even have it yet.

        You have access to that huge library of content as long as you use an Apple device or application which can decode the DRM within the files to play them. You’re paying out the butt for content you don’t even get to own.

        There’s another questionably legal alternative to this (as at least in the US CD ripping was declared perfectly legal at least), and that’s waiting for the season to end up on dvd or blu-ray, buying them, and ripping them to a storage device of some kind to play. There’s no DRM anymore, you can stream the content to just about anything, and it’s in better quality than what you get from iTunes in both picture and sound.

        Meanwhile, pirates get access to DVR recordings of the television content within 30 minutes or less after the show airs. There’s no DRM on the files, and they can be played in just about any device out there. When blu-rays or DVDs come out of the TV shows some download them to get better quality. Who gets the best deal even if you take money out of the equation here? As usual, the pirates do.

  • crateish

    Years with Comcast: I call to cut out TV, and Phone… They basically give it to me for free.

    Now I’m on FiOS: Came out even cheaper than Comcast, with TV, Phone, Internet.

    Even if they have to give it to you for free, they want you watching TV… for their advertisers. It’s all about eyeballs on commercials.

  • lucascott

    I love when you call and they ask you how you are going to get your TV from then on. My answer was simply that was none of their business and unless they wants me to cut my phone and Internet as well don’t try asking anymore questions like that