Did I ever mention how much I love the Internet? It’s amazing how much of a “disrupter” the Internet has proven to be for so many industries. Newspapers, realtors, travel agents, the Yellow pages, brick and mortar stores; the list goes on and on. Ironically, it’s also been quite a disrupter for the very companies that offer Internet services. Time Warner and Comcast are two great examples of companies that have both benefited and been negatively impacted by Internet technologies.
I used to dread having to pay the cable bill each month. There wasn’t a month that went by that I didn’t think to myself, “Geez this is such a rip off!”. We’d pay upwards of $75 a month to watch TV at our house and the sad part was that we really didn’t watch that much TV. The few times I tried to calculate how much each show was costing us, I ended up whimpering in the corner. Okay, not really whimpering in the corner, but you get the idea. The cost to have cable in our house was absurd but we really didn’t have another choice. We tried signing up for Direct TV but that was the same business model and was just as expensive. So, year after year, we paid the cable bill. I shudder to think about the total amount we’ve paid to the cable company in the years my wife and I have been married. The amount is definitely measured in many thousands of dollars.
A couple of years ago we finally pulled the plug on cable. I can still remember the day I called to cancel. You could hear the resignation in the customer service woman’s voice as she tried to talk me out of it. In the end, I was talked in to paying about $15 a month for all the local channels. That seemed like a reasonable value to get a nice clear (HD) picture of all my local news and network shows. She was successful in talking me in to it because she also offered to discount my Internet service if I kept any level of cable service. This has actually worked out quite well for us. Having HD local channels has given us the ability to watch major sporting events, local news and all the popular network shows, (like “The Office”, “Modern Family”, & “Big Bang Theory” etc).
The majority of our TV watching happens with Netflix though. We pay for the Netflix streaming service (no DVD’s) and have been very happy with it. I’ve watched tons of shows that I never would have seen without Netflix. Just like when we had cable, I’ve often tried to calculate how much each show on Netflix costs me. My most recent guess is around $.15 per show when you factor in the shows my wife and daughter watch as well. Now that seems much more reasonable. Back in the cable TV days, the price worked out to be somewhere around $1.00 per show and that’s in the dead of winter when there was nothing else to do. In the summertime, the cost per show was probably more like $2.00 per show. Do you remember some of the crappy TV shows that have been on in the last 15 years? $2.00 an episode for “Friends” or “Frasier”, or to watch Jay Leno is way too expensive for me!
My sister and brother in law cut out cable for awhile too. It was a much rougher experience for them though. They love to watch sports and probably really were whimpering in the corner without ESPN and the SCI FI channel. I think they ended up signing back up for the $125+ monthly cable bill within about 9 months of canceling it. Oh well, it’s clearly not for everyone but if you don’t watch a ton of sports, you just might find yourself as happy as we have been without the expensive monthly cable bill.