When the idea of cutting the cord and getting rid of cable first crossed my mind I wasn't sure how to go about it. So the first thing I did was a quick search online. What I found out was it wasn't so simple especially here in Canada.
All you have to do is read articles like "Maximum choice': CRTC takes aim at TV broadcast providers" to understand that although the CRTC is currently reviewing the policies in Canada it will be awhile before anything really happens.
The biggest challenge I found was that most of the information I read was very US specific and most of the services that people were using as an alternative to cable TV were blocked here in Canada.
Determined I sat down and took inventory of my TV habits. I decided to group things into 3 categories. Category one was what I called my Alpha shows. I looked through my PVR and took note of what shows I was recording on a regular basis because I thought these are the shows that I watch and don't want to miss week to week.
I then made note of the Beta shows. These were shows that I watched or PVR'd on occasion.
Lastly I made note of the shows that I would watch when I was bored and just simply flipped through the guide and settled on. I ended up calling these my Omega shows. Live sports was a whole other category which I will cover in another post.
After a month of keeping track here's what I found out. My cable bill was costing me $125 a month or about $1500 a year. Based on my research of the 10 shows I classified as Alpha shows I would be able to get 8 of them with various streaming services. There were 15 shows on my Beta list and I would be able to get 8 of them with streaming services, the rest I could buy via Amazon or iTunes or just wait for the seasons to show up on one of the various streaming services.
The real key was that there were over 30 shows on my Omega list, and that was the real key. I had no real desire to watch these shows, I was just watching them because there was nothing else to watch.
This of course is nothing new. Variety's article "Americans Watch Just 9% of TV Channels Available to Them" does a good job talking about this.
Lastly I did some quick math, I was paying $1500 a year to watch 25 shows that I really followed. That came out to $60 a show, and that just wasn't worth it.
Now after cutting the cord, out of the 25 Alpha & Omega shows I noted I pay $25 a month to get 16 of them via various streaming services. So far I have bought about 6 current seasons through iTunes or Amazon for about $20 a season of the remaining 9 shows.
That comes out to $300 a year for my streaming services and $120 for the various seasons I will buy. Which gives me a total of $420 a year for only the shows I want. Which leaves me with over $1000 in savings on cable alone.
The best part is that all of the services I use are portable. I can watch them at home in HD on my TV, on one of our tablets or laptops on the go as well.
A few things to note. None of the above costs include my internet access. When I had cable I was already using a separate internet provider. That is a cost I don't factor in because at my house we are heavy internet users and that monthly fee is something we would need to pay with or without cable. I will clarify though that by getting rid of cable the cost of my internet plan went down because I compared all of the internet re-sellers and found a great deal for unlimited bandwidth.
This also doesn't include the cost of hardware. I will cover this topic in another post.
Do I miss some shows, sure I do. But for every show I miss I have gained 4 or 5 with the streaming services because there is content on many of these services that has yet to even appear on Canadian channels as of yet. As well some of the Omega shows that I had listed have also started to show up on some of the streaming services I use.
In the US these services are big business because cord cutting is more common there and since most of this content is produced in the US the streaming services are spending big money on getting the rights to as much content as they can, so it's only going to grow.
In the meantime when I do see local commercials I see that my former cable company is now offering "wireless TV" of course you just have to buy a box for every TV in your house. What innovation!
In our next blog post I'll cover off live sports which is a big part of some peoples fear regarding cutting the cord.