Opinion: Cable TV Is No Bargain – Go With Video Streaming

Heidi Speare April 26, 2013 0


cable-tvWe just don’t need cable TV anymore. For somewhere between $65 and $250 per month, we get a bunch of formulaic reality shows. These shows are repeated endlessly. Cable companies are granted monopolies in their own regions, so they don’t have to compete. Customers have to pay for bad shows and bad service. And they pay a lot. Video streaming sites such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and others offer a wide variety of options for much lower costs. Movies and television can be viewed using the internet for extremely low prices. You can watch whatever you want, whenever you want.

It’s aggravating to think that so many people are still paying hard-earned money to keep the bloated business of cable afloat. Better options are out there for less. I’ve only heard one good argument against abandoning pricey cable options. That is the fact that, while people can and do take advantage of low-cost video streaming options, it’s the big money that still pays for the production end of entertainment. If everyone were to abandon these options, there would be no budget for the production of new shows.

Possibly, if the behemoth that is cable were to collapse, video streaming costs would go up for consumers. Or there would be more advertising on streaming sites. Or both. But, is the high cost of cable really paying for movie and television production? It seems to me that a lot of the cost simply goes to pay for the clumsy operation of a cable company. There are large departments delivering and installing hardware, keeping that hardware running, and providing a lot of very bad customer service.

The production values of the typical cable series are not very high. Hence the proliferation of reality TV. It costs very little to produce a formulaic, unscripted show compared to a high-quality production. Could streaming sites take up the slack?

As a matter of fact, Hulu and Netflix are starting to license exclusive productions. Hulu has its exclusive series run of shows, many to popular success. Shows such as The Booth at the EndMisfits, Line of Duty, and Spy have gained large viewer followings. Moreover, the original writing and plotlines are miles ahead of Real Housewives brainlessness. Netflix has also debuted an excluxive show, House of Cards. This is a show with an all-star cast, complex writing, and dramatic plotlines.

There are still shows that can’t be seen on free streaming sites. However, they are available for purchase online at a cost that is far less than the cost of cable. It’s a no-brainer to pay less to watch better shows, when and where you want to watch them. With streaming, you can watch shows on television if you want to see them on a big HD screen. But you can also watch them on your laptop, tablet, or even phone, leaving you untethered to television and even to your home. If you’re waiting at an airport, stuck in a hotel room, or taking a break at the cyber café, your favorite shows are there in your hand.

I haven’t paid for cable in over a decade, and I don’t miss it at all. If you’re paying for internet anyway, why not cut that cord—er, cable, and just stream?

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