Guest Post: Cut your Cable and Keep your Laptops!

29 Apr

Today's guest blogger is Melissa Rodriguez of Florida Southern College.

Cut your Cable and Keep your Laptops! 

How many of you actually pay for cable? Sure I can understand it’s because you need to feed your Dexter addiction, or whatever new show is on HBO. Exactly how many shows can you actually watch for your money through cable?

While some consumers might be ready to cut the cord with their cable companies, and there are lots of reasons for doing so, some might argue that America isn’t, ahem,technologically savvy enough to do so.

“Downloading torrents or NZBs is time consuming and only a small portion of the population actually has the know-how and hardware to do it. Sorry. Cord cutting is a lost cause,” says TechCrunch writer Matt Burns.

However, a Canadian research firm estimated that by 2012 over 2 million households in the United States will turn to web streaming companies/devices for their entertainment and sever their ties with their cable companies.

Netflix is quite aware of this switch from regular TV to on-demand viewing. Last November they added a streaming only plan and experienced a 63% subscriber growth. Most subscribers jump onboard to watch older programming they missed out on when it was first popular. Many older shows like Ally McBeal and My So-Called Life are available on instant play and many movies from Hollywood’s golden era are available for disc rental. Newer content, especially from Warner Bros., takes about a month for Netflix to make it available to consumers.

Still, it’s not a bad replacement for regular cable.

Many college student don’t have the time to sit down and have regularly scheduled meals, much less watch regularly scheduled programming. Even without a Netflix subscription many popular television stations post popular programming on their websites 24 hours after the original piece aired.

Chances are you are not the first person to have a life that doesn’t revolve around primetime viewing. Usually when I actually have time to watch cable the only things to watch are pretty awful choices. If I actually paid for cable I’d be so disappointed that I was paying for constant Teen Mom coverage, NASCAR races, the Bachelor, and The Real Housewives of Wherever. Amazing choices for viewing, right?

Which is why more people are turning to under-the-table downloading to keep up with their favorite shows. Not allowing programming to be viewed on-demand just leads to more sites made for pirating content. It’s not hard to go to Google and type in “(name of show) online viewing,” or “(name of show) episode download” and find links to what you want.

Is having cable completely worth it? Not so much. If you still aren’t brave enough to make the cut completely, I challenge you to freeze your cable subscription for at least two weeks and try to watch everything online. I promise you that by the end of the first week you won’t miss having to wait through endless late night infomercials.

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