A lot of people are talking about “cutting the cord,” and it’s a sign of a major revolution in the television industry. It’s a revolution that is not only changing the way people watch television, it’s changing the way that television is made. It’s also saving people a lot of money in the process.
What Does “Cutting The Cord” Mean?
Cutting the cord is all about getting rid of cable TV and using streaming TV services in its place. The development of streaming television is the third major development in television history, it’s little wonder that it’s shaking up the entire industry. The first was the invention of television, of course. The second was the development of cable (and satellite) TV, which expanded viewers’ channel options from 3 or 4 to literally hundreds. Streaming TV, which is accessed over the internet, not only offers a comparable selection to cable, it lets viewers watch TV whenever they want instead of whenever their shows are broadcast.
A Brief History of Streaming Television
Many, if not most people, think of streaming television as a modern invention. They are wrong to think that, though. It actually got its start back in the early 90s. More specifically, the first ever streaming broadcast happened in 1993, with a live video stream of a performance by the band Severe Tire Damage. It was an experiment by some people in the tech community with some new technology, and it supposedly took up half of the bandwidth the internet had at the time.
The year after that, they did it again, with the Rolling Stones joining Severe Tire Damage for an encore. ESPN got in on the streaming action in 1995, with their coverage of a Yankees-Mariners game. The concept of television broadcasts sent over the internet had been proven, but bandwidth was low, and the watching experience was not that good. So the idea didn’t really go anywhere for awhile.
Through the 90s, bandwidth technology and data compression techniques continued to improve, so with the turn of the millennium, the internet’s first streaming services like YouTube and Justin.tv, were born. Netflix, liking what it saw with these new companies, decided to add a streaming service to its mail order DVD service. This streaming television idea proved to be very popular. So, toward the end of decade, Hulu was created to take advantage of the new trend.
That marked the moment that streaming television went mainstream. Suddenly, everyone was interested in streaming television. The early providers, YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, dominated the streaming industry during the 2010s. So they channeled their early profits into creating high quality new content to in addition to their libraries of old shows and movies. This got people to start wondering what the point of paying for cable TV was anymore, if you could get high-quality television content online for much less money. And so, the “cut the cord” movement was born. The phrase is simply a reference to getting the cable connection, or cord, out of your house.
The success of these early streaming television services attracted competition. A lot of it. So, when the pandemic kept people at home and demand for streaming services boomed, every company that could got in on the streaming game in one way or another. Which is why, today, there are so very many streaming options.
Why People Cut the Cord
There are a few different reasons why people are cutting the cord and switching to streaming television. One reason is price. Cable and satellite services are expensive, because they require special equipment and infrastructure. Some streaming subscriptions, on the other hand, are in the $10-$15 a month range. People who switch from cable to streaming often save anywhere from $30 to $100 a month, depending on what cable package they had. With savings like that, it’s no big wonder why people are switching. Keep in mind that not all streaming TV services are that cheap. If you want to stream Live TV, and watch sports and other premium channels, the subscription can go over $100 a month. It all depends what you are up to when about using streaming TV services.
Price is not all there is to it, though. Just as importantly, if not even more so, is the matter of viewing convenience. Cable and satellite TV are forms of broadcast television. Shows are watchable when they are broadcast, and that is it. True, all of these service providers have DVRs that you use to save shows and watch them later. Still, many if not most streaming services offer a fundamentally different way of watching television: on demand viewing. You can watch their library of shows and movies whenever you want. That convenience is very appealing to a lot of people.
The streaming model also allows for a whole new style of TV viewing: binge watching. If you like a show on an on demand streaming services, and if you have the time, you can watch the entire show from start to finish. A lot of people like this viewing style.
On demand viewing libraries are not all there is to it, though. Viewers of streaming television don’t have to do without their local television broadcast stations or their favorite major broadcasters, either. As already mentioned, many streaming television services offer live streaming, the streaming of shows broadcast on traditional television channels as they are being broadcast. Some providers have both live and on demand options. DIRECTV STREAM is one. Some only offer one or the other.
Cutting the Cord
There are a lot of options for people looking to cut the cord. Hulu, Netflix, DIRECTV SREAM, Sling TV, Fubo, Philo, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube TV are some of the major streaming companies today. And each of these usually have multiple subscription options.
Subscriptions offering access to a library of on demand content tend to be very cheap. They are often from $10 to $20 a month or so. Some services also offer the option of buying specific movies or shows in addition to the standard library that comes with the subscription service. This allows subscribers can frequently watch new shows and movies for a low price not long after they come out.
Live streaming subscriptions tend to be three or four times more expensive as the on demand streaming subscriptions. There are also packages that offer both live and on demand viewing options. Many of these services offer different price tiers, with cheaper tiers having ads and the more highly priced tiers being ad free. High definition packages are more expensive than standard definition packages. When it comes to live streaming options, some of these companies offer the traditional broadcast networks. Some offer a variety of specialty channels like ESPN or BBC America. Some offer just one.
So, the first step of cutting the cord is browsing the various packages of on demand libraries and live channels. The next is finding which packages offer the best viewing options for the best price. Followed, of course, by canceling the old cable or satellite service.