2/25/2013

Cord-Cutting Revisited


Last September, my teen drama and house-hunting television show loving family decided to take the leap and turn off our cable. I wrote about our personal set-up  and some other ways to handle cord-cutting, but
even after making the change, there was a major question mark about how would we handle this.
Would we turn back on the cable next month? Would I go into DVR withdrawal immediately and beg to have my hour-long melodramas back?

However, I can tell you six months later, that I don't miss cable, I don't miss my monthly bill, and I don't see myself signing back up anytime soon. But the road has not always been smooth and I have learned several great lessons that I wish I had known before taking the plunge:

1. You can't escape commercials.
When I did have cable, my DVR was my greatest tool. I rarely watch live television and being able to avoid commercials gave my vote to the creator of the DVR for the Nobel Peace Prize. When you do depend on apps or websites for your television fix, commercials and ads can not be skipped and can feel very repetitive over time. But this is not a negative anymore or a concern that should stop anyone for making the change. As a cord-cutter, I've come to accept and love the commercials I do have to watch because it means that advertisers see the value in supporting apps, web streaming, and alternative methods of viewing. It may not be easy at first, but as time continues, each commercial means another content provider might be willing to open up their shows for  non-subscribers.

2. Television doesn't need to be watched on the television.
A
lot of our initial planning for cord-cutting was how to facilitate still watching our shows on our television. While I love my Apple TV and I still would love a Roku, my greatest tools for watching television have been my iPad and my laptop. If you are considering getting rid of your cable, a tablet is a great addition to your set up and, as more television stations start apps, a one-stop viewing option that doesn't involve sitting on the couch.

3.  Free television is great television.
One of our biggest surprises was how useful and often we engage our antennae to watch local channels. When I purchased it, my only thoughts about how I would use it was in case of emergency and to watch "So You Think You Can Dance". Instead, I've turned to it for local news, live television, and on occasion, to just turn it on, flip through the channels, find nothing to watch, and remind myself why I don't need cable.

4. Cutting the cord means re-examining your watching.
While our initial goals for cord-cutting had been financial, and to watch less television, a surprising change for us has been examining what media we consume and how we consume it. When you have a television
easily accessible, it is easy to fall into reality television marathons or watching a show because it is on, not because you enjoy it. But moreover, when you have a DVR or on-demand, you may start to watch or continue to watch a series because it is there out of habit. When you do need to work a little harder to watch a show, you do start to question whether that show has earned an hour of your life.

Have you been thinking about cord cutting or have you made the change and have some of your own lessons learned?

Speak up in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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