Anyone who knows me knows of my love for television. But lets face it, cable bills have gotten positively obnoxious. I assume that part of the justification for the rising cost is the endless number of channels they offer. The only problem is that most of those channels suck. And no one needs ten HBOs, seven Showtimes and eight ESPNs. No one. Most of us only watch a handful of channels. Even me.
Before looking into other options, my bill was $190 a month, and I am not alone in this insanity. Now, $70 of it is for high speed internet, which is more or less a necessity in modern times. This leaves $120 just on content. Granted $40 of that was for the premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz), but in my defense, a lot of quality shows come from them. But still, it seemed high to me so I started looking around at YouTube Red, Amazon Channels, Sling and Hulu Live.
I’m not going to go point by point on all of them. I ended up going with Hulu Live. Basically there was nothing wrong with the other options and pricing is similar, but Hulu had more to offer in terms of original content that I wanted to watch anyway (so I would have subscribed to their basic service regardless), plus the HBO and Showtime add ons I was looking for. The basic commercial-free service is $43.99 and the add ons come to $25, leaving my new cable bill at $68 per month, which saves me over $50 a month while not sacrificing anything that I was getting before, and in fact adds the Hulu original content as well. Technically, I don’t get AMC with this deal, but Walking Dead isn’t worth $50 a month, no show is worth that much.
I’ll admit I was nervous about making the switch. I thought surely at the difference between those prices I was missing something. That there was something I couldn’t live without that would send me screaming back to cable.
Nope. Nope. There really isn’t.
My guess is that cable as an institution will be dead inside of five years. When I went to return my cable boxes to Google, the woman who checked my gear in said that a lot of people were making that switch. And I have heard that Google Fiber is getting away from cable (which is why they never expanded out of KC and Austin) and wants to focus exclusively on internet, specifically WiFi.
Streaming apps are the future. My concern is that at some point there will be so many options, that costs will soon get back to what cable is currently. But for now, I am enjoying the breather.