How many times have you opened up your monthly bill from Comcast or Time Warner and thought, that’s it, I’m ditching my cable — only to keep on paying? Well the time has come. With countless ways to watch your favorite shows online, ditching cable has never been easier. And with the economic crisis tightening its grip, there’s never been a better time to save some money.
Chances are there’s already a line-up of customers at your cable company’s local office looking to returning their Motorola boxes. The Wall Street Journal this week did, after all, declare that being off the cable grid is now socially acceptable. As much as 20 percent of all TV viewers watch shows online, the paper reported, and half of those people don’t watch TV at all anymore. Still not convinced? No worries, we have five good reasons to finally cancel your cable subscription.
- The fundamentals of our economy are screwed. Seriously, do you want to keep sending hundreds of dollars per year to your cable company while your retirement fund tanks? Four out of five American households pay an average of $70 a month for cable or satellite TV, according to the WSJ. Do you really want to be one of them?
- There are a ton of ads. Sure, we’re willing to sit through a few of them, preferably entertaining ones, to get content for free. But network and cable TV are increasingly oversaturated with them. Hulu & Co., on the other hand, have far fewer ads. A typical half-hour show features eight minutes of ads on TV, but only two minutes online. That’s six minutes you can spend looking at web sites like ours, making our advertisers happy.
- Cable boxes suck. The simple truth is that cable companies are used to competing with pretty much no one, which is why their technology is horribly outdated. The web is full of complaints about Comcast’s DVR, and even newer boxes like Verizon’s FIOS HD DVR don’t stand a chance against TiVo’s interface. On the other hand, there are tons of new and cheap devices that bring online TV into the living room. The soon-to-be-opened-up Roku box is only $99, and it’s easier than ever to download movies through your TiVo, XBox or Apple TV.
- There are so many other options. Hulu, NBC Direct, Amazon, the iTunes Store, Joost and Netflix Streams will all let you watch TV shows and movies free or very cheap. As the WSJ noted, 90 percent of all network shows and 20 percent of all cable shows are available online. Sure, there are some hold-outs, and networks like Showtime generally don’t make shows like Weeds available until after the end of the season. Some of our shadier friends tell us that you can always find everything right away on those torrent sites, but we of course wouldn’t know anything about that.
- Hulu can save your marriage. People tend to argue that online TV is inferior because you can’t watch it on your living room tube. That tends to be true for most people, but it can also be a good thing. Chances are you and your spouse are busy web workers, which means you’ll both be hammering away on your notebooks while The Daily Show is running in the background. You might as well be sitting in different rooms. Remember the times when watching TV used to be a shared experience? You can go back to that. Just cancel cable, turn off the TV and cuddle up in bed watching Hulu. You’ll thank us later.