It’s been almost a year since I quit cable. Well, maybe I should explain. There’s no question why I’m writing this on a Sunday. Football is on and I can’t watch it without either going to a bar, which sounds like a fantastic idea, or buying NFL Sunday Ticket, which sounds like a horrible idea (it’s $340 to get it on the Playstation 3).
When I decided to cut the cord it wasn’t a statement about the decline in decent programming, but more about the act of watching television. See, with the advent of Hulu and Netflix watching traditional TV programming, along with all those commercials, seems a little silly. Even if it means seeing an episode 24 hours early it’s not worth the frustration of spending a third of your viewing time wasted on dishwasher detergent ads.
Of course I did think about the decline in programming quality recently. I’m done with reality television, and I can’t stand watching The History Channel kamikaze itself into an ice road trucking wood cutting hell. I can’t say for certain, but 90% of the time I spent watching cable I was watching something I didn’t enjoy. I may have turned it on for Mad Men but ended up watching Jersey Shore reruns when it was over. Not good at all.
So I called Comcast and quit. From now on I’d get all of my entertainment of the TV variety from Hulu and Netflix. This should be no problem…. wrong. It turns out I had one major laps in planning when making this decision and that was football. I’m not going to generalize by saying all sports because there’s only one I care to watch during the entirety of its season, and that’s American football. Whether it’s a Saturday spent with the NCAA or Sunday with the NFL, it’s hands down my favorite sport to watch on the weekends (and Monday… and sometimes Thursday).
Unfortunately football alone isn’t enough to bring me back to cable. Once you quit it feels like the only valid reason to turn it back on happens after moving to a new house or apartment. I can watch some college football games online at ESPN 3 but even that is a wash most of the time, especially when the game selection is garbage. Sunday Ticket on the Playstation is way too expensive and all of those online streaming sites (you know, the ones in that legal grey area) have been shut down over the summer.
If missing all this football wasn’t enough, Hulu and Netflix’s streaming selection has gone down the tubes. Netflix recently changed it’s pricing across the board. This didn’t effect me since I was a “streaming only” customer. It did, however, effect roughly one million customers (4%) enough to convince them they no longer needed the service. This, in turn, strained Netflix’s relationship with one of it’s best content distributors, Starz. Starz decided to decline renewing its contract with the streaming giant. On the other end of the spectrum, Hulu seems to have become defunct. It no longer pursues new streaming content and most of the stuff on the site that can be streamed to a TV is second rate at best.
Since making the leap to online only television both services that were to be my corner stone have failed to seal the deal as the cable replacement. Without day later network TV and solid, entertaining movies neither service is worth the $7.99 in monthly fee’s they charge. Hopefully Amazon, Apple or any one of the other rumored giants picks up the peaces of my broken cable-less dream.