Monday, January 16, 2023

Streaming but not cutting the cord

Recently, The Streaming Advisor's Ryan Downey caught some flack online for his article Why Cord Cutting Is Not A Real Thing.

Do I agree with what he wrote in that article? No. And yes. And that may be his point. We're calling what people do "cord cutting" but is it really? Yes. And no.

I had cable TV from a local provider in 2011. Then, I canceled cable. But I kept service with that provider because they were my Internet service provider (ISP). So I didn't really cut the cord, I just cut one of the services that came in on that cord.

My mother began streaming in the last few years of her life. She was fascinated by the different content, and way of watching all content, that streaming offered. But, she kept her Comcast service until the last year of her life. She did cut back on her Comcast cable TV service, but didn't drop it all together.

It wasn't until the year she passed that the full "cutting of the cord" happened. I didn't pressure her to do it. She asked me what could be done to cut her Comcast bill, so we sat down and looked over all the content she still used Comcast to get. We went through every channel in her package, trying to see if there was a smaller package that carried what she wanted. We also looked at her streaming services -- mostly free services -- and looked for options there that allowed her to mark it off her Comcast "must have" list.

When we finished that, we double checked it to make sure, and we found the Comcast cable TV plan that worked for her: No cable. Everything she watched was available through a streaming service, mostly for free, but any cost was a cost she already had. That's when she decided to cut Comcast cable TV altogether.

My mother's situation for the last few years isn't really all that uncommon, according to another report that The Streaming Advisor mentioned recently.

For instance numbers from a new study show that for instance the rise in streaming popularity does not mirror the rise in people canceling pay TV services. A report by one of our favorite research firms MoffettNathanson shows that 82% of US homes use streaming services. But broken down in those numbers is that only 44 percent of those streaming customers do not have cable.

Too often writers in the tech world have tied the popularity of services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and HBO Max to the need to replace cable with a streaming service, but it turns out that millions of people out there just want more to watch along with the content in their big bundle.

When I cut the cord (still using that phrase) back in 2011, I cut the cord. The cable TV part. But for a month ahead of that, I did stream and have cable. In fact, I streamed for more that that, with TiVo's limited (at the time) streaming capabilities. But when I got a Roku device and an Apple TV device in late 2010, I started streaming all serious like. And a month later, cable TV was gone.

With me, it was only a month. With my mother it was for years. For others, it could be an ongoing thing. I think that in most circumstances, most people could save money by cutting cable and streaming, but I realize not everyone can. But streaming brings options to almost everyone.

My Streaming Life means I don't need any cable TV service. Others only use cable to a smaller degree. Others stream and do big cable bundles. The point is that they are able to watch what they want how they want. That's the real upside. Well, for many. Mine is saving money along with that extra freedom. I really enjoy my Streaming Life.

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