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Television The Almighty Buck Entertainment

Is TV Over the 'Net Really Cheaper Than Cable? 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the depends-on-your-morals dept.
jfruh writes "More and more people are joining the ranks of 'cord-cutters' — those who cancel their cable TV subscriptions and get their televisied entertainment either for free over the airwaves or over the Internet. But, assuming you're going to do things legally, is this really a cheaper option? It depends on what you watch. Brian Proffitt contemplated this move, and he walks you through the calculations he made to figure out the prices of cutting the cord. He weighed the costs of various a la carte and all-you-can-eat Internet streaming services, and took into account the fact that Internet service on its own is often pricier than it would be if bundled with cable TV."
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Is TV Over the 'Net Really Cheaper Than Cable?

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  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:30PM (#40796751)

    Lets do the math. The most my ISP (Suddenlink) will sell is 250GB/mo at up to 15mbps. Put two TVs in a home, that is pretty minimal these days. So you can't expect to stream more than six or seven Mb/s and have any hope of keeping a second set going. Now an hour of HD programming on my MythTV system scarfs down GB/hr when recording HD and perhaps one GB/hr for standard def.

    Add it up and if you stream you are going to settle for a lot lower quality and still be watching the bandwidth counter the last part of the month. The bandwidth caps ended cord cutting as a viable tactic for any home where the TV runs a lot, i.e. children are involved.

    • by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:34PM (#40796785)

      My ISP still gives me the "all you can eat" unlimited transfer per month. They are a DSL offering, bundled with landline telephone.

      I cut the cord years ago. I work secnd shift, and the only thing on cable that late is porn, informercials, and shit like ancient aliens.

      Streaming let's me pick what I want to watch, at the times I want to watch it. For me, the choice is clear.

      • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:40PM (#40796841)

        Good, nice to learn some people still get all you can eat Internet. Here the choice is AT&T's 200GB cap or Suddenlink's 250GB cap.

        As for nothing on at night, that is what my MythTV is for.

        But with a CableCard in a Homerun Prime I get the full bitsream and they are pushing some bits on cable for HD. 4-6GB/hr fills up hard drives but it looks so much better than standard def I hate to record that if I can help it.

        But ya know what? Cable HD looks really good and most movies would fit on a DVD9 without the commercials. Really makes ya wonder if BluRay was really worth it. They could have just tweaked DVD.

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          A few DVDs wre released with MPEG4 encoding for HD, but they are still not as good as Bluray. There's a huge difference between the DVD's average 6 Mbit/s and the Bluray's average 35 Mbit/s stream, which gives the DVD with HD artifacting.

          • well i do agree, although there are some scene releases that would make me think twice.
            obversely, i would like to see blu-ray's space utilized for older, standard def tv shows, fitting a whole season on 1 disc.
        • why you pay a low flat rate for 6GB/hr they push at you but through the nose if you want to pick and choose yourself. I find it hard to believe they need bandwidth caps to manage the limits when every receiver is digital....
          • by Hadlock (143607)

            Probably because they're multiplexing most of that data (TV) on their internal network. 6GB/hr of unique data requires a connection to the outside internet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You cant really assume that Cable and Internet are interchangable.

      For me, Internet can replace cable, while cable can never replace the internet.

      If I consider it mandatory to have internet, and I get more TV than cable for from Hulu & netflix, then its a no brainer to ditch cable.

      said and done, $55/month covers cable, internet, TV entertainment, and phone (Magicjack+).

      • by icebike (68054) *

        True, but as the story points out, if you just want mindless old movies and no Live sports, or current programming you might be happy streaming crap quality shows onto a small tablet. Save the TV money for quality Blueray disks. But you can't be a sports fan very easily unless you settle for 1960's era image quality.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by slippyblade (962288)

          My question to this is... why be a sports fan? I just don't get sports fans. I mean, truly, is any year all that different from any other year? How many different ways can a ball be hit, or carried, or thrown. Not to mention, sports players are by and large, douche-nozzles.

          I'm not trolling, this is a serious question. How can you honestly give a rats ass about a bunch of millionaires chasing a ball around and complaining that they're not being paid enough?

          • by icebike (68054) * on Friday July 27, 2012 @11:37PM (#40798871)

            I feel pretty much the same about movies.
            So, you watch what you want, and I'll ask for no explanations from you, an provide none of my own.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I never grew up around sports and nobody in my family was really interested in them at all, I was the music and computers person.
            At some points in my life I was even down right hostile towards sports (maybe having a college roommate who listened to baseball on the radio while watching 20 year old games all night on cable had something to do with it).

            Anyway as I got older and moved a lot, in particular to big cities with huge team followings I finally get it. It's not about the guys who get paid way to much

    • by Ichijo (607641) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:54PM (#40796963) Homepage Journal

      The bandwidth caps ended cord cutting as a viable tactic for any home where the TV runs a lot, i.e. children are involved.

      ISPs need to waive the caps during off-peak periods, similar to free unlimited nights and weekends on cell phone plans. Let people download all they want overnight. A megabyte of data transfer doesn't cost the ISP nearly as much at 3am as it does at 7pm. Then we'll stream our videos less and download more, but planning ahead like that is only a minor inconvenience.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:05PM (#40797065)

      If children are involved, you can stream as low as 300 kbit/s (like I do) and they won't care. That's about equal to VHS or youtube-360p in quality.

      I watch about 2 hours a day... 8 on weekends. So that's 16+2*5 == 26 per week or 111 for the month. 250GB/111 hours == 5 Mbit/s. Most streams don't come anywhere near that amount so I'd not worry about going over the limit. And just to be sure I'd watch everything in SD (which is what comcast cable serves anyway).

      • by SomeJoel (1061138) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:46PM (#40797399)

        If children are involved, you can stream as low as 300 kbit/s (like I do) and they won't care. That's about equal to VHS or youtube-360p in quality.

        I watch about 2 hours a day... 8 on weekends. So that's 16+2*5 == 26 per week or 111 for the month. 250GB/111 hours == 5 Mbit/s. Most streams don't come anywhere near that amount so I'd not worry about going over the limit. And just to be sure I'd watch everything in SD (which is what comcast cable serves anyway).

        All you'd do with your internet connection is watch TV?

        • by wisty (1335733)

          If children are involved, you can stream as low as 300 kbit/s (like I do) and they won't care. That's about equal to VHS or youtube-360p in quality.

          I watch about 2 hours a day... 8 on weekends. So that's 16+2*5 == 26 per week or 111 for the month. 250GB/111 hours == 5 Mbit/s. Most streams don't come anywhere near that amount so I'd not worry about going over the limit. And just to be sure I'd watch everything in SD (which is what comcast cable serves anyway).

          All you'd do with your internet connection is watch TV?

          In terms of bandwidth ... yes.

          You can download a new Ubuntu distro ever day, if you are willing to watch 4Mbit/s TV. But not many people do that.

    • by Imagix (695350)
      I can only think of one of my friends that has 2 TVs in their house, and I can think of a couple that have none.
    • by glebovitz (202712)

      Comcast says that they have a 250mb cap, but I have never noticed any change in my service from lots of video downloads.

  • by grumpyman (849537) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:32PM (#40796765)
    ...OTA is cheaper than cable and that's all I need.
    • by yurtinus (1590157) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:53PM (#40796953)
      Free TV over the air? What are you, some kind of a communist?!

      I think a depressingly large number of folks these days would be shocked and amazed to find that they can put a pair of rabbit ears on that fancy new TV and get local HD broadcasts...
      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        Except that I live in BFE, and need way more than just a pair of rabbit ears.

        I have an amplified HD rabbit ear antenna, and it is not sufficient to get more than about 6 channels, in spotty quality. To get efficient OtA, I need to set up an actual roof antenna. I don't like TV sufficiently enough to have considered doing that. Streaming is fine.

        • by jomcty (806483)
          You need the RCA ANT751R Outdoor Antenna [amzn.com] and perhaps a RCA TVPRAMP1R Outdoor Antenna Preamplifier [amzn.com].
        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          BFE?
          Amplified rabbit ears are basically worthless for digital reception (unless you live within 10 miles of the broadcaster). Anyway: Just because you buy a "roof" antenna does not mean you have to put it on the roof. My CM4228 sits right next to the window, aimed towards the nearest major city 55 miles away. It was a piece of cake to setup & then run the cord under the rug to the TV.

          • by Ichijo (607641) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:49PM (#40797419) Homepage Journal

            My CM4228 sits right next to the window, aimed towards the nearest major city 55 miles away. It was a piece of cake to setup & then run the cord under the rug to the TV.

            I have the smaller 2-bay version of that antenna [amazon.com], and I do basically the same thing as you. It's awesome. Now I get about 10 digital channels where I used to receive only one with my indoor Terk amplified antenna.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward

              ++ to that.

              I put a huge DB8 antenna inside the peak of the attic in my two story suburban home, using a piece of 2" PVC conduit as a mast. I used good quality rg6 cable (I chose belden 7915a tri shield, it terminates like normal dual shield cable) and compression fittings (snap n seal SNS6). You just need a coax stripper tool and a compression tool to install the fittings.

              My home has all of the cable connections home run to a single location with convenient access to A/C power there, so I ran the cable fr

          • by Aryden (1872756) on Friday July 27, 2012 @08:38PM (#40797811)

            BFE?

            Bum Fuck Egypt... a.k.a the back of beyond or the middle of no where.

          • From what I understand, an amplifier reduces loss at the cable. So, if you can somehow get a clear signal, but only by putting your antenna a hundred metres from your TV, the amplifier will boost the signal so it's not degraded further by running down 100 metres of cable. If your antenna doesn't have the right sort of elements, or it's pointed in the wrong direction,or it's simply too small to receive the signal, the amplifier won't do much.

            Poorly made amplifiers also add a certain amount of noise.

            There are

      • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:22PM (#40797191)

        Not communism. Ad-supported entertainment broadcast over AM, FM, and ATSC:

        - 40+ TV channels through my antenna (CM4228)
        - supplemented by free Hulu so I can watch Syfy

        And yes it's VASTLY cheaper than the ~$900/year that Comcast wants to charge to hookup two sets. (Another alternative is Dish TV which only costs $23/month for two sets... still much less than comsucks.) I've been watching lots of old movies, retro-shows like Dragnet, Cheers, and 24 hours news via RT. Also PBS World which airs lots of documentaries..... ya know, like History and Discovery used to do. ;-)

    • by joeflies (529536)
      Based on the author's math, you're still paying for Internet, whether you use it for tv or not.
      • by Aryden (1872756)
        Thus you eliminate the cost from both sides of the equation lol. However, in the instance of JUST internet, you are usually paying more than you would pay for it with a package.
  • by biometrizilla (1999728) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:37PM (#40796803)
    You can be assured that there are people within the cable and satellite TV providers that run this math to help them set their pricing. If you have cable the satellite promo pricing always looks better until you start to match it box by box and channel by channel. Same goes for satellite users that look into switching to cable. Every time I do the math it's so close it's not worth the trouble. Unless you are willing to give up content expect to pay about the same no matter what path you take. The only true break in costs can't come until governments stop enabling collusion. Same story applies to cell phones.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jmorris42 (1458) *

      > Same story applies to cell phones.

      Stop whining about the government being needed. Just shop a little and then stop bundling a loan into your monthly cell bill for the iPhone (or top of the line Android). I only pay $100/year for 2000 minutes or texts, work the math out to get the monthly. I supplied my own handset though, they aren't expensive at all if you know where to shop and don't need the latest features. Now AT&T has a cheap ass GoPhone you can get a similar $100/yr plan on.

      Oh, you want

      • by yurtinus (1590157)
        Eh - T-Mobile has a $30/mo unlimited data and text plan with a handful of minutes for those rare times I need to use my words. You're absolutely right - shop a little and bring your own phone and you'd be amazed at how inexpensive it can be.
        • by jmorris42 (1458) *

          > Eh - T-Mobile has a $30/mo unlimited data and text plan...

          T-Mobile won't sign up customers in my zip code. No towers so all traffic would be roaming. But yea, they had a $100/yr voice/text plan at least a year ago.

  • My story.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:37PM (#40796805)

    I used to pay just over $100 for Internet and Digital Cable - 90% of which I never watched.

    I now pay $54 for internet, $8 for netflix, $8 for hulu, and OTA is free.

    Yup, its cheaper.

    • Re:My story.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by na1led (1030470) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:10PM (#40797107)
      Same here, I even subscribed to Amazon Prime because I saved money on shipping. With the simplicity of using a Roku, and the ability to watch your shows on your Laptop or iPod/Android, it's a wonder Cable Providers still have subscribers.
    • Re:My story.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by adisakp (705706) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:11PM (#40797121) Journal
      I'm saving about $70 a month with netflix and basic internet over basic internet + expanded basic HD cable (without any premium channels).

      The drawback is that most of the stuff on netflix is a little older. However, it's so much easier to watch stuff on demand, I actually end up using it more.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:37PM (#40796807)

    It depends upon how much you're being charged for cable and for Internet and what you watch.

    YMMV
    Void where prohibited

  • by The Good Reverend (84440) <michael@nOsPaM.michris.com> on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:39PM (#40796827) Homepage Journal

    ...unless the total bundled cost is LESS than the price of internet alone. That's never the case.

    I cut the cord almost two years ago, and have Netflix and Hulu+ ($17/month, I believe, for both). I was paying nearly $70/month for cable. The $50+/month difference paid for my three Rokus, my $50 tuner, and my $300 HTPC in the first year after I cut.

    Between OTA, Netflix, Hulu+ (which you can suspend easily if you're not using it) and all the free channels on Roku, I'm never lacking for anything to watch, and I'm still saving $50/month over the cheapest cable plan. It's not going to work for everyone, but it's absolutely the right choice for me.

    • by The Good Reverend (84440) <michael@nOsPaM.michris.com> on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:41PM (#40796849) Homepage Journal

      Oh, and I'm going to have internet access even if I throw away my TVs and never watch a movie again, so I don't think adding it into the equation is fair. I need a house to watch my TVs in as well, but that doesn't mean I count my mortgate as part of the price of television...

    • by mcrbids (148650) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:45PM (#40796887) Journal

      ^^^ This is my story, exactly. It's not the same kind of entertainment, but it is good entertainment for ridiculously cheaper. And as a 4th year cord-cutter, I've become spoiled by the idea of watching ENTIRE shows that I've never seen before and didn't program in advance.

      It's rather surprising how annoying it is to watch a half show when you are used to entire episodes on demand...

    • by wierd_w (1375923)

      Often overlooked is that the "internet bill" is a necessity these days. If you can get more out of that bill per month, sufficiently that you can cut a different bill per month, the money you save is through the cutting of that second bill.

      Eg, you don't include the cost of internet with the cost of cable, unless you would suffer a rate hike by unbundling. (In which case, you count the rate hike as a negative savings figure for your assessment.)

      In my case, the ISP is DSL, and is bundled with the landline. It

      • by Zebai (979227)

        the best way to keep your tv/internet cost down is to switch back and forth. In my area you can get tv/internet through ATT or comcast if you know where to look you can often get 1-2 year promotions through their alternate sales channels (.com/field agents) and just go back and forth after your promotions run out you will save far more than any install fees you may occur once a year.

        You don't even have to disconnect entirely, if you drop your services to basic levels for a couple months you can often get

        • by tsotha (720379)

          Yeah. I have a buddy who keeps flipping back and forth between Comcast and Astound. As soon as the promo period runs out he calls them up and demands they continue the discount. If they refuse he calls up the other company and gets their promo rate. He's been paying promo rates for years and years now.

    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      I think what he meant to say was "It is only cheaper if the cost of cable and internet combined is less than the cost of internet alone". I agree with this as one may have to subscribe to a much more expensive internet plan to be able to access all the TV programs. If the necessary internet plan costs more than cable and internet combined then one is losing money.

    • by tsotha (720379)

      ...unless the total bundled cost is LESS than the price of internet alone. That's never the case.

      Not true, at least where I live. "Basic" cable + internet is cheaper than just internet. The reason is basic cable includes all the broadcasters (like HSN and QVC) that pay the cable company to include their content.

  • by davegravy (1019182) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:40PM (#40796839)

    In my country a-la-carte works like this: the price per channel scales depending on how many channels you buy, such that the total cost you pay is always at least equal to the cost of the traditional bundle packages. It's totally pointless. Also in my country, over the Internet broadcast licencing hasn't really been established (for the most part).

    The result is that over the net tv is far cheaper, but in no way legal.

  • Even if it's 50X more expensive your options for content, delivery, interface, etc are amazingly diverse and constantly improving and changing. My cable box hasn't changed much in 10 years, aside from adding a HDD to record a few shows.
  • I did the math... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Foundling (1856832) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:43PM (#40796869)
    ...and got a divide by zero error. I kept cable internet and dropped cable TV service for a year. I reconnected last night. 1000 channels including HD service. Searching for "Nova" returned no instances of the PBS show; if I want to watch my favorite show, I still need to buy it from iTunes and download it. Jury is still out on the other reason I dropped cable TV; I want to watch WWE Summer Slam in HD, live when it broadcasts (not three months later on DVD). It's not showing up in the listing yet; I'll try again two weeks prior to the event. Haven't tried to find a 2012 BBC Top Gear; had to 'torrent last winter's shows because they won't even sell those to us yanks. The funny thing is, Comcast never asked why I dropped TV service in the first place.
    • by Nyder (754090)

      ...and got a divide by zero error.

      I kept cable internet and dropped cable TV service for a year.

      I reconnected last night. 1000 channels including HD service.
      Searching for "Nova" returned no instances of the PBS show; if I want to watch my favorite show, I still need to buy it from iTunes and download it.

      Jury is still out on the other reason I dropped cable TV; I want to watch WWE Summer Slam in HD, live when it broadcasts (not three months later on DVD).
      It's not showing up in the listing yet; I'll try again two weeks prior to the event.

      Haven't tried to find a 2012 BBC Top Gear; had to 'torrent last winter's shows because they won't even sell those to us yanks.

      The funny thing is, Comcast never asked why I dropped TV service in the first place.

      You can get the WWE PPV the next day, in 720p for free, and oddly enough, it's quality will be way better then any HD on Comcast. I have HD Comcast (I get it for free, would never pay for it) and depending on how many of your neighbors is using cable at the time, the quality of fast moving stuff goes from looking great in still scenes, too looking like a overly compressed mess of squares during action. When people aren't using Comcast when you are watching a fast action show like WWE, then it tends

  • I did it... (Score:3, Informative)

    by GA-MadMikey (717930) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:44PM (#40796875)
    If I absolutely must watch "Some Premium Show X", then I may be stuck with TV service providers. After cancelling my TV service and going with OTA, NF and Hulu, I can still watch television, I just don't get to watch premium content like HBO/SHO originals. I cancelled my service, changed my viewing habits and I'm saving more than $100/month.
    • I literally watch no television at all. 200 channels of crap is still crap. If there's something I want to see it'll appear on the net fairly quickly.
  • Legally ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:46PM (#40796893) Homepage

    assuming you're going to do things legally

    This is where things go south. If I could get the shows I like from a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu, I would not mind waiting a few weeks or months after the original airdate, but I can't. A lot of the shows I watch, I can't get at all without paying $120+ for the "everything" cable package. They simply aren't available anywhere else, so I choose option C: Usenet/torrents.

    If I were living in the U.S., things would be different, as the vast majority of popular TV programming is stubbornly geo-blocked as soon as you cross the border. I can't even begin to describe the stupidity of locking your content to a mere 5% of the world's population, but that's precisely what these media companies do. Fuck 'em! I have money, I want the content, but they won't sell it to me unless I agree to a 3 year contract with a cable company I absolutely despise, a fixed schedule that does not work for me, and invasive advertising wasting one fifth of my time. Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em dead!

  • Cheaper to own (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:48PM (#40796917)
    I already need high speed internet so that's not really an additional expense since it wasn't through a cable company, none in my area. I did the math and I figured I could get somewhere between 50 and 75 movies and 20 and 25 TV series seasons on DVD or download for what my cable was costing. This is far more than I actually watch. Throw in Netflix Streaming which sucks for selection as in not much current but a ton of old and obscure which I like and I really have no need for satellite or cable. The Dish/AMC fight was the end for me. I already buy Walking Dead on Blu-Ray and they cut AMC anyway so I see no need to have Dish. Direct is almost as bad. I may be a season behind but most of the stuff I watch I'll own and I tend to watch stuff multiple times. Most of the stuff on Netflix is HD where as cable is all highly compressed HD which looks like crap. Alot of it is blown up cropped as well. If they offer Ala Carte streaming I'll consider buying AMC and a few of the movie channels, things like HBO for Game of Thrones and Newsroom. At this stage I have zero interest in ever having cable again.
    • by jmorris42 (1458) *

      > Most of the stuff on Netflix is HD where as cable is all highly compressed HD which looks like crap.

      You must have a terrible cable system. I'm deep in flyover country and I get good HD streams. Broadcast channels appear to be full bitrate and even channels like FoxNewsHD and CNNHD at 10+Mbps. Rates no streaming provider is going to reliably send. And even if they could the cap would limit you to an hour or so of daily viewing at those bitrates. Netflix is usually much lower rate streaming balanced

  • - it comes in through my antenna (40+ digital channels)
    - supplemented by Hulu so I can watch Syfy

    And yes it's not only cheaper, but a VASTLY cheaper than the ~$900/year that Comcast wants to charge to hookup two sets.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      Another alternative is Dish TV which only costs $23/month for two sets.

  • Not about price (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm sorry to say that it isn't about price. It's a philosophical issue to me - to subscribe to a 'push' service or a 'pull' service. I choose 'pull' where I have control on what garbage can or cannot enter my life.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:52PM (#40796947)

    Not having to deal with the cable company ever again?

    **PRICELESS**

  • by mosb1000 (710161)

    I've been doing this for quite a while now. Between HULU and Netflix, you're pretty much covered. And you can watch whenever you want without needing to record shows on a DVR. Also, many shows are available on network websites.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:57PM (#40796979) Journal

    First he assumes that whatever shows you watch, you NEED to watch, and you need to watch them NOW.

    For example, his wife likes Amazing Race, and (apparently) none of the streaming premium services carry it, so it would "have to be written off"...well, except for the fact that in about a 5 second search, I found it at least 3 places. Certainly, it wasn't current-broadcast, but it's still there.

    And of course, he talks about the 'broadband internet cost' - as if most people considering this don't ALREADY pay for that.

    So really, not much of a comparison, or analysis. Save yourself the read.

    • by Rudolf (43885)

      For example, his wife likes Amazing Race, and (apparently) none of the streaming premium services carry it, so it would "have to be written off"...well, except for the fact that in about a 5 second search, I found it at least 3 places. Certainly, it wasn't current-broadcast, but it's still there.

      CBS.com streams Amazing Race same day, with about a 3-hour delay from air time. No premium service needed.

  • by Sir_Eptishous (873977) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:59PM (#40797007) Homepage
    Cable/Satellite are a vast wasteland of channel surfing. We all know this. I ditched Satellite after years because with NF I only watch what I want, and plan to. No surfing, which encourages time wasting.

    Another key thing is that I just really fucking hate the cable and satellite companies and I don't think they deserve another dime from me.
    Their service sucks, their policies suck and they're way overpriced.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:00PM (#40797029)

    We've pointed this out in so many blog entries and whatnot. It's not about cost. I'm ok with paying more on video entertainment through streaming than I might have through a cable bill. It's not about cheap. It's about choice! I want to purchase only the shows I care about, I want to watch them exactly when I have time to, and I want to do it on whatever device I feel like. I don't want to pay for MTV or the Home Shopping Network. I'll never watch Real Housewives of Wherever-the-fuck. I just want my GoT fix, a few shows from PBS and the Discovery channel, and the occasional interesting sci-fi series. Everyone will have a different set of choices. We're tired of being bundled-to-death. I need high speed internet regardless, and I like paying for it separately from my occasional on-demand streaming purchases from Amazon (or my Netflix subscription. while netflix *is* a bundled service full of shows I'll never watch, it's also dirt cheap).

  • by Jim Hall (2985) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:05PM (#40797061) Homepage

    The author took 4 pages (you start on page "1" and click through 3 other pages ... ads at each step) and basically he says this:

    Open a spreadsheet. Enter in all the shows that you like to watch on cable. For shows that are available on HuluPlus, assume you'll subscribe to HuluPlus ($8/mo). For a show that is available on Amazon, enter it's cost per episode (less than $2). Same if your show is only available on iTunes or some other media center. Add up the costs, calculate a "monthly" cost to stream your shows. Compare to your monthly cost for cable TV.

    That's pretty much what the article is about. I've just saved you a bunch of clicks and ads.

    It is what I have been saying about my own television watching. When my wife & I moved two years ago, we opted not to sign up for cable TV, choosing to stream everything instead. We have Netflix for movies and "TV on DVD", HuluPlus for most of our current shows, Amazon for a few others. We bought a Roku ($99) to stream everything to our television - and it effectively paid for itself over a couple of months. Our monthly cost for all that is way less than the monthly cost of cable TV. And as long as the math continues to be in our favor, we'll keep streaming.

  • I hated that term since the first time I heard it. I don't know why anyone calls it "cord cutting" when it's really just "cord switching."

    And if anyone thinks those in control are going to let millions of subscribers save millions of dollars this way, they've never heard of "equilibrium." Or "greed." They'll throttle you, or cap you, or charge more, or all of the above, until it's not worth it.

    And yeah, long story short: for some people, it'll work great; for others, it won't. It depends how much TV gets wa

    • And if anyone thinks those in control are going to let millions of subscribers save millions of dollars this way, they've never heard of "equilibrium." Or "greed." They'll throttle you, or cap you, or charge more, or all of the above, until it's not worth it.

      Have you heard about competition? Ok some places don't have that, but that problem is much easier to fix for the internet than for cable.

  • by ZephyrQ (96951) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:13PM (#40797133)

    My daughter summed it up best in a tweet to her friends: (paraphrase)

    "wow, now the television doesn't tell me what I want to watch, I tell *it* what I want to watch". Unfortunately, she skewed my Netflix preferences so now I have a bunch of 'one-tree-hormoneville' shows suggested to me...

    AND my son has his pick of whatever anime he could ever desire.

    It takes a little time to adjust (you can't just plop in front of the tv and turn it on for 'whatever'), but everyone I show it to loves it. And I save US$60 a month!

    Other than the quality of my OTA channels going down (a problem I had for awhile with DTV as well), I haven't missed my sat/cable stuff.

    However, it DID take me over a week of arguing with the satellite company to get it disconnected. (go ahead...ask me about it...please...).

  • by medcalf (68293) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:35PM (#40797313) Homepage
    Cable / satellite don't always show the things you want, or when you want. Even DVRs only help a little, because it depends on you knowing what you will want to watch later.

    Netflix streaming has a poor selection (for my tastes anyway), and Amazon is only slightly better, and even then only if you are willing to pay to rent on top of the Prime membership. You can get a broader selection on disk from Netflix, but not on a whim.

    Hulu has a terrible selection as well. When you want to pick up a show from the beginning, and it's been playing for a while, they have only a few episodes of most shows, even on the paid side.

    You can get a lot from Apple, but expensively (about double the DVD cost to see a TV season). And even then, they don't have a long tail for those who prefer more obscure stuff. Probably because content providers are afraid Apple will do to them what Apple did to the music industry.

    But you can get anything you want, even foreign or obscure material, by torrent easier than you can get Finding Nemo. So the bottom line is content providers suck at giving people what they want when they want it. Until they stop sucking or get disintermediated, there will not be a convenient and legal way to get content.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > Even DVRs only help a little, because it depends on you knowing what you will want to watch later.

      You only have that problem once. Then it goes away. That's kind of what the whole point of a PVR is.

      I have recording rules as old as my current PVR setup.

      You can even program a PVR with your personal preferences so it goes out and finds things you might not have sought out by name.

  • by sl149q (1537343) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:47PM (#40797405)

    I cut the cord. Installed HD antenna's for the local news and use Netflix for the rest. I was paying > $200 for high speed (50Mbit) cable internet and HD tv. Now (with a new higher speed lower cost product available) I'm paying about $85 for 100Mbit access with a 1 TB cap.

    Yes, I'm missing a few shows we would like to watch. But, the reality is that we have only so many hours a week to consume TV (or any media.) AND there is more than enough available through Netflix (or Hulu etc.) that it simply makes sense to use them and save a bundle.

    The more we reward the low cost providers the more content they will be able to get access to.

    Did the same for our landlines two years ago. Went from two old style @ $45 /month each to four VOIP @ $3... (with more or less free North American LD.)

    Overall I've reduced my "media" bill from over $400 to just over $100.

  • by Dunega (901960) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:49PM (#40797415)

    Yes. Next story.

  • In the US: quite often the oligopoly/monopoly on high speed internet are the same guys which sell television. To a certain regard, it isn't in the ISP's best interest to up speeds as more people will drop television. It is disgusting, but what can you do?
  • by ffflala (793437) on Friday July 27, 2012 @08:02PM (#40797529)
    The time slot programming model of cable television is a technical vestige, and the sooner it is eliminated the better.

    After the first time I watched an entire season of a show in the space of a single (and very lazy) weekend on a DVD years ago, I was unable to return to waiting for weekly installations. I now prefer to wait until a season is over, or even until a series has concluded entirely, before bothering to spend my time watching it.

    Sometimes at the conclusion it will become clear that you shouldn't bother. For example I was waiting for LOST to end before watching it, but based on the non-plot-spoiler reviews I've read, I'm glad I didn't waste my time in the first place.

    For quite a while now there has been more video entertainment than a single person could watch in one lifetime. If your primary reason is to be entertained --rather than to be able to discuss current entertainment at the office the way people do sports games-- you'll save time and money being selective about what you watch, as well as by not being in a hurry to catch the latest episode.
  • UVerse Internet + UVerse TV is more expensive than UVerse Internet + Hulu Premium + Netflix. That's all I really care about. Sure, you can get deals for UVerse TV and pay an "introductory" price for a year but at the end of that year, the introductory price goes away. You can't just call customer service and ask for the same deal. They'll tell you to piss up a rope and suck on it. You have to cancel your TV service and, like clockwork, a month later they'll send you a flyer to get "introductory pricing" for
  • by giorgist (1208992) on Friday July 27, 2012 @08:15PM (#40797625)

    How do you price the convenience of on demand ?

    Also how do you price the convenience of torrents ?

    You cant exclude torrents, they are the major disruptor

  • False choice (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Friday July 27, 2012 @08:47PM (#40797875) Journal

    > ...and took into account the fact that Internet service on its own is often pricier than it would be if bundled with cable TV."

    I have to have internet anyway. The fact that I can get internet microscopically cheaper if I buy a bunch of services I don't use, isn't really a choice if I don't use the services.

    And so, if I can get internet for $33 instead of $44 if I add $70 worth of TV services the great majority of which I do not watch, how the heck is this in any way a better deal?

    Working it the other way. I have internet and a conventional TV antenna. What I can't get through these two mediums, I don't need to watch. There, fixed it for you.

    To summarize: (1) Most of us are going to have internet anyway, so whether it can be bundled with cable is immaterial. (2) The great overwhelming majority of what I feel like watching is available either over the air (just like in the old days) or over the internet. (3) Whatever I can't watch via (2), I don't need to watch. (3a) It's JUST TV. It's not, like BREATHING. Talk to your kids; find out what drugs they're into this week, take the dog for a walk; find out what your neighborhood actually looks like, READ A BOOK.

  • by trdrstv (986999)
    I't's cheaper, better quality, and on demand. If I want to watch a show I can pay for a Netflix subscription or Amazon VOD and have immediate access in HD for a small fraction of what cable costs to provide me with shows I may or may not want when I may or may not want to watch them. Sure you could rent a DVR from your provider, but that costs as much or more than netflix, so meh... Cable is for the older generation.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:02PM (#40797967) Homepage

    People want what they want. That's the short of it. And when there are options which more closely offer what they want, the will go to it.

    Meanwhile various "failing business models" want to continue masturbating while selling their customers' eyes and ears to people who buy commercial ad space.

    Business used to be able giving the customer what he wants and prospering. But in the age of monopolies and very low competition, it's more about offering as little as possible while charging the most and selling your customers out to government and advertisers.

  • To cover the TV's in our house, and get the few channels we even cared about having cable for was running over $170 a month. Plus an additional $40 for internet access.

    Dropped the cable. Now we spend $40 for Internet and around $20 a month for all the tv that interests us (We pick and choose between what's available on Netflix/Hulu), once in awhile we'll drop the $30 or whatever for a season of something on iTunes.

    Even if we buy the seasons off iTunes of every show we watch we're -still- coming in less th

  • by ukemike (956477) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:31PM (#40798207) Homepage
    Broadband $35/month
    Netflix $14/month
    Ability to watch my shows without commercials.... priceless

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