If you’ve not been living under a rock for the past few years, you must’ve come across the term ‘Cord Cutting’. If you’re not completely sure as to what the phrase means, then stick around. Because not only does it entail getting rid of the old and embracing the new but also finally gives you a new way to look at how you can consume media.
What is cord cutting exactly, then?
In India, we’ve had television sets right since our Independence. But there was only one national channel available which used to broadcast for a few hours each day. Though the number of hours kept increasing we still had no access to international content. All that changed in the 1990s and finally we had ‘Cable TV’ – a term we adopted to describe paid television channels.
The only catch? You’d need a separate connection that will run all the way from the cable provider to your TV set. As we moved from analogue to digital, however, this changed too. We were told we needed a ‘Set Top Box’ to continue watching cable TV. All of this meant more cords and more fees. Yes, it also came with more choices.
But we couldn’t enjoy our favourite TV shows at our convenience. Tune in a bit late and you’ve missed the starting. Have to go to an important event? Well, looks like you’re gonna miss the entire match entirely. All this changed, though, with the introduction of online streaming services like Netflix.
With cheaper broadband rates and availability of services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, it’s the best time to explore cord cutting.
With services like these, we could watch our favourite TV shows and movies on any device with an internet connection. Be it our laptop or even the humble smartphone. No more need for cables around your TV either. Plus, with additional devices like Chromecast, you could simply ‘cast’ your online content to the biggest TV in your house.
Can you watch TV without a set-top box?
If you combine services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hoststar and other major video streaming services that are available in India, then you won’t feel the need for a set-top box. That is, if you’re only likely to watch TV shows and movies on your cable connection.
On the other hand, if you like watching live sports and breaking news as it happens, you’re out of luck. At least in India, there isn’t a major player who has taken the bold move to get live sports and news to an online platform and make it available en masse. But barring these, everything else can be consumed with the help of a few helpful apps and services without installing a cable connection.
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Imagine the headache it saves everyone. Calling up the company that will install the set-top box, the inconvenience caused due to its cabling. And then there’s the cost. Ah yes, the cost.
Is it cheaper to pay for online streaming services?
Cable TV packages are getting more and more confusing over the years. The way it is heading, it doesn’t look like it will get any better. Plus, we are subject to a barrage of ads even though we’re paying for the cable subscription.
These issues don’t really exist for the online players. You pay your ISP for a single plan and use that to enjoy watching content without interruption on services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. To whom you also pay a fee, but hey, you don’t get any ads in the bargain. The total cost for a typical subscriber might end up being higher than what you might pay for standard cable, but in the bargain you get a no-ads experience with the convenience of watching TV shows and movies at your own leisure.
And look at it this way; from here on end, everyone is going to need an internet connection. You cannot escape it. So rather than paying for an internet connection ALONG WITH a set-top box, it makes more sense to pay for one. One that isn’t as confusing. And is more convenient. Unless you watch a lot of live sports and TV.
Change is the only constant
So that, in short is cord cutting. There are plenty of writers who’ve written about how exactly can one achieve it and still get most of the benefits of a traditional TV and set-top box connection.
But what about you? Are you a cord-cutter? Let us know in the comments section.