Cutting the Cord on Cable

My future roommates and I are already having the debate on should we purchase cable for our apartment next year? One girl is arguing no, she would rather pay for Netflix and a cord to hook our computers up to the TV than a basic cable package. My other future roommate is arguing yes, she wants to be able to watch Carolina games.

My one friend is not the only person refusing to pay for cable and would rather pay for Netflix. Fewer people are watching TV, instead using services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime to watch their favorite shows. About 2.6 million households are “broadband only” which means that they do not subscribe to cable.

People are also spending less time watching TV, down by about 6 hours a month from 2011 to 2014.

My classmate Holden argues that sports are what will keep TV alive. People love to watch live sports. Recorded games just aren’t the same as watching the game live, especially since social media will probably ruin the outcome before you’ve had a chance to watch it.

My classmate Hallie, discusses the concept of TV a la carte. I attended the same talk she did with Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen, in which he talked about cable companies creating unbundling cable packages – ie. paying only for the channels you wish to watch.

Cohen argued that an unbundle service would actually make your cable bill higher. Some channels might end up charging more because maybe it’s less popular than ESPN or MTV, and your bill could grow and grow until it’s larger than the flat fee Comcast charges now for all channels. Of course Comcast wants users to keep buying their flat fee service, but is it worth it?

I searched “live without cable” and these how to options came up:

  • Get a digital antenna
  • Apple TV or Roku
  • Hulu Plus for $6.95/ month
  • Netflix for $7.99/ month
  • Rent movies from Redbox for $1.25
  • Turn off the TV

A writer on Forbes said he purchased an internet only plan, Roku and Netflix and is saving over $1300 a year compared to his previous Comcast cable bill.

So maybe no cable is the way to go? I do enjoy a good channel surfing, but as a college student it’s rare to find time to sit down and watch tv. With a busy lifestyle streaming is the way to go and based on the figures, it might be the cheaper option as well.



  1. Larry Trachtman · April 1, 2015

    I agree this is so confusing, and the industry and government regulators are not making it any easier. Cable TV needs regulation, period. Who can understand all the options and pricing, no one. The pricing is not transparent and it is impossible to compare apples to apples among different services. The author makes good points, a la carte will likely cost more than bundled services (why, because they can). Live sports are a major draw to cable TV. You also need a fast broadband connection for any of the non-cable options, thankfully more options will soon be avaailable, but at a higher cost. This is not easy, and consumers should encourage regulation so that pricing is transparent and forces companies to disclose what exactly you are paying for. Now if I could only talk to someone at Time Warner Cable about my bill.


  2. Pingback: The Customer Knows Best | tess boyle

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