Is it time to cut the cable?


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By Leslie Meredith Standard-Examiner Contributed
Sun, 04/15/2012 - 7:17am

Supply and demand? That old economics rule doesn't seem to apply to the cable industry. More people are cutting their cable services and prices for cable TV service are expected to keep rising.

Cable TV service is expected to rise from today's average of $86 a month to more than $100 by 2015 -- $200 by 2020, according to a new report from analyst firm NPD. Meanwhile, 3.58 million U.S. cable subscribers will cancel their service, an increase of 35 percent over cord cutters in 2011, reports Convergence Consulting in its annual study "The Battle for the American Couch Potato."

What's happening? The licensing fees for movies and shows continues to rise and the cable companies pass the cost along to you.

If you've had enough, you can quit cable. The transition may be tough for ardent HBO fans, but others may find they can get as much entertainment as they want for less than half the cost of cable. I know, I did it and that's with a houseful of teenagers.

You'll need two simple devices (a TV antenna and a media streamer) and your choice of several services to see almost every popular show aired on TV plus a big selection of movies. Settle in -- you've got lots of entertainment ahead.
Read More: It may be time to cut the cable

Yep, cable prices just keep going up, meanwhile the supply of cable alternatives are exploding. If you haven't seen free OTA HDTV, you don't know what your missing. I stayed in a hotel this last week and learned that pay-TV is fuzzy with lots of macroblocking on all the channels. I don't know who the provider was, only that free over the air TV beats whatever it was.


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I have 35 channels free OTA and 12 of those are HD. Over the course of a month, someone in my household actually watches something on probably 28 of those 35, so 80% of my channels actually get watched. Of the channels I don't watch, 2 are Spanish, 1 is local infomercials, and 1 is religious, and a few are duplicates of the same network. When I was on DirecTV, we paid $75 to get 100+ channels, of which we watched about 30 - or less than 30% of the channels we PAID for - all in SD. If I wanted HD, I would not only have to pay $5 more a month, they would make me pay to upgrade their equipment, and it would have locked me into another 2 year contract. And, we got to watch it on one TV- because each receiver is another $5-$10. I have TV installed to 6 rooms now, no extra charge.

With the antenna, I have one subchannel with objectionable macro-blocking. With the dish there were several. When the dish went out, there was nothing to watch. When OTA TV goes out, it's one or a small group of stations that go out - the rest of the stations are still on air. I have never completely lost OTA TV in nearly 4 years - let's hear someone with pay TV say that!


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Comcast may go off the air completely maybe 2 times a year where I am. I always get credit, though, so it hasn't bothered me. It just doesn't occur too often, and when they do go off, they're back fairly quickly. If my antenna worked better, I might feel differently. A couple of years ago when I was close to cutting the cord, I was pretty excited because with a working antenna, I would get some great channels and enough to probably keep me from going nuts, but it doesn't so that's taken me out of the OTA consideration for the most part. I do have the antenna hooked up to one TV but it's just a very basic reception. I recall being excited recently because MeTV was added to a station, but it's not one directly in my city so the reception is extremely sporatic, so much so that I've just given up on it. I'm just too much of a TV nut. I gotta have my TV and I do watch many of my cable channels.



I cut TWC CATV off completely and I'm saving $112 a month. OTA reception is spotty cause I'm working off a little indoor antenna and it's 36 miles to the Milwaukee towers and 47 miles to Chicago.

It's been quite an adjustment, but I finally have multiple sources for all the stuff that was important to me on CATV. And I have yet to subscribe to Netflix or install ReadOn, which is a popular program for organizing online TV.

You know how much they pay in the Phillipines for cable TV? $12.50 a month!