Steve’s Kill Your Cable Adventure #3: Oh, wait

For you new readers, and apparently we've gotten a few, I've been engaged in an effort to get away from cable.  I'm not sure I need it, and frankly as this seems to be the future, I figure experiencing it will give me something to share with progeeks – and help me understand what's going on.

We've hit a few snags in our Kill Your Cable Adventure:

  • Diversity of systems.  I know that's a given, but seriously did Netflix have to take Sengoku Basra away for while – so now I can only see it on Hulu on the web?  It seems like you need 2-3 other television alternatives to get what you want.
  • Wait, that's not available.  We're actually waiting for a season of a show that we can't find anywhere to end.  That may sound ridiculous, but hey, you get used to things – and discuss them with friends.
  • What's on what?  In the end it appears that the XBox is going to be our Killbox.  I wouldn't have thought that.  I may change my mind in a few months.
  • Ads when I pay?  Look, Hulu is underrated, it's quite good, but why am I paying for ads?

So we're still on track to do it, but feeling it out is a bit more difficult than expected.  Then again it's live and learn – and my big lesson here is to examine carefully and have everyone in the household look at the impact.

It's on its way, but man is it a weird ride.

Now some further observations:

  • Cable is almost a complete waste if you're single.  The fees ($30-$100 a month depending on what you want) just don't add up with all of the online elements available.
  • Cable may actually be financially viable in a house of 3 or more people with diverse tastes.  This will change over time. 
  • DVR services are less and less needed in an age of all these services.  Once we Kill Cable, we're not going to need TiVO.
  • A lot of services people would have without cable anyway (Netflix or Crunchyroll a prime example).  So oddly, you may have what you need to Kill Your Cable anyway and not know it.
  • Hulu in no way should be having problems.  It's a nice system, it works pretty good, there's a decent selection that could be expanded.  It's issues are a lack of follow-through (oh, and greed).
  • Netflix really shafted itself with it's changes.  As I investigate Kill Your Cable options, Netflix was riding high – but has enough competition and there are enough social changes that they shouldn't have messed with a winning formula.
  • The last writer's strike, stupid reality TV, and other blunders and idiocies have made Kill Your Cable MUCH easier.

The final factor I want to share is the psychological shift I'm experiencing leaving Cable behind.

It's been basically a week and a half since we started this experiment in my house.  I've avoided turning on cable for background noise, tried to watch things online only (with some exceptions as noted), and in short tried to stay away from cable.

I'm starting to ask myself what the big deal is.

Television, as stated previously, is a habit.  Now that I've decided to step away (which was surprisingly easy) it seems kind of useless, a ritual that has lost meaning, a leftover of family nights in front of the television.  What is the point of this habit?

There really isn't one except some vague social rituals of watching shows within a similar timeframe.

Oh I still watch things – things I want to watch, or share with friends.  But this conscious move has made my other viewing habits more conscious.  I am more purposeful with my selections.

If anything I can recommend the Kill Your Cable exercise because it makes you think.

People have options for their video consumption.  This means they have to think and make choices – and it makes them start asking what's going on, why they do these things, what matters.

It gets complicated – especially for those of us working with media and technology.

Steven Savage