Recent local and national media reports have highlighted the trend of “cutting the cord,” which shows more TV viewers moving away from traditional cable, dish or other subscription services as a means of watching The Walking Dead, Pawn Stars and the Real Housewives of Wherever.
The reports examined the options available to watch your favorite shows without paying “huge” monthly bills. The stories tell of the savings for those TV viewers using Netflix, Hulu, Google Play and Amazon among dozens of sources available.
What I didn’t find was a discussion of Internet service providers, which is how I presume viewer access those alternative services to watch their “can’t live without,” shows.
It seems to me that is where the “huge” costs lie, or at least begin.
Don’t you need the Internet to sign up to Itunes, Aereo or Vimeo, or to access network websites that air their shows after they have run on television? So don’t you have to subscribe to some form of Internet?
Okay, in my area, dubbed “Gig City,” because of local utility’s offering of the fastest loading internet via fiber optics, what are my options?
In addition to EPB’s Fiber Optics, which I’ll get to shortly, there is Comcast X-finity, the service I’ve used for nearly 20 years. I pay about $60 a month for Comcast to bring high speed Internet and TV channels 2-13 into my house. A breakdown shows that my TV service is around $10 dollars a month; the remainder is for Internet access. Granted, I don’t get much TV but what I want is the Internet connection.
I am told that Comcast does not allow a customer to have an Internet-only account. As I review the online information, I cannot find a price option for 2-13 TV only, or just the Interent. It appears the same with EPB Fiber Optics, which does offer a 2-13 package but no pricing is listed.
So I am looking at a minimum $60 investment just to get started.
Most of video services mentioned here are subscription services. Their rates range depending upon the amount of service you want. There are some free sites – You Now, Ustream or Crackle – but they all require some work to find what you want to watch, if they have it.
Bottom line, it looks there is no easy way to make “huge” savings in the entertainment viewing world, at least in my area, unless you were grandfathered in low TV packages by local ISPs. Otherwise, you will have to start with a minimum package from either of the major providers that will start at close to $100 per month.
I recall when only an antenna was required to bring grainy, black and white TV into one’s home. Over the years as pay per TV gained popularity, my father used to complain about the commercials on cable channels.
“Isn’t that why we pay extra for those channels,” he would complain. “Doesn’t the subscription price fund the TV? Who is getting those ad dollars?”
Good question but I had no answer.
When EPB Fiber Optics entered the battle for TV dollars, I was excited at the thought of competition. Oh boy, I thought, someone to compete with Comcast by offering a product at a cheaper price – or at least that’s what I thought competition was.
Nope, I was wrong. EPB is fighting Comcast to reapportion the existing market. They don’t seem to be appealing to new customers with better pricing; it seems they want you to believe you will get a superior product from them for the same price.
Hey, I know the answer now, Dad. This is America; it’s about the Benjamins.