Could I be a cord-cutter? (Part 1)

One of the podcasts I watch every week is Cordkillers. The premise of the podcast is simple: the hosts talk about trying to watch what you want, where you want, on whatever device you want.

The movement the podcast reflects is that of "cord-cutting." The idea of cord-cutting is cutting the cable TV cord, and watching what you want via online services like Netflix, as well as streaming services and what you own or can rent. It's still a small movement, but it is growing. Most cord-cutters are in their twenties; some are called "cord-nevers" because they never subscribed to cable since becoming an adult. That said, more and more older age groups are taking the plunge; the hosts of Cordkillers are both around 40.

I've been thinking about whether or not I could cut the cord since I started watching the podcast. This blog post was inspired by a friend who just subscribed to Netflix and Hulu. I already have Netflix, and would like to know her experience with Hulu before I subscribe.

Let me say right off that I can't cut the cord at the present time. I'm living with my mother, and I doubt she'll ever want to give up cable. For now this more a thought exercise for me than something I could seriously consider doing.

If you're not familiar with cord-cutting, you might be wondering why anyone would want to get rid of cable, or would never subscribe. For one thing, there's the expense. If you want anything more than a basic cable package, you have to pay at least $75 a month. Watching Cordkillers, I hear people mention bills of $100-$150 a month. While that usually does include some form of high-speed internet, it's still a lot to pay.

What are you paying for? That's another reason for cutting the cord. You pay for basic channels that you never watch. The idea for this is that supposedly most cable channels would never get enough subscribers on their own to to pay for delivery to those who would want them. We pay for a broad spectrum of channels so that everyone can (in theory) find channels they like.

Beyond the problem of paying for channels you don't like (and may not want to support), mobile technology and internet video are changing this equation. Channels can now create mobile apps; the next step will likely be making them subscription apps to send their content to those who want it. Internet video allows anyone to create content, making it available everywhere, and find fans willing to support their work.

This is the cord-cutting landscape as it stands now. In the second post, I'll tell you how the landscape affects this thought experiment in my particular case.

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