The cable TV business had its worst year ever in 2013, and both cable and broadcast TV have seen negative ratings growth since 2011. Why are people shutting off their cable service, and how can you do the same?
A Fuzzy Picture
Nearly 1 in 4
Charter Communications subscribers who are broadband-only, indicating that many people are getting their entertainment online or through mobile apps
Growth in cable-dropping in 2013
It’s Not Just About Cable — We’re Watching Less TV
Estimated number of active users in the U.S.
As you can see, Facebook and Google aren’t far behind TV, and TV had about a 50-year head start.
Why Ditch TV?
Simple: It’s expensive.
Increase in cost of cable services since 1996
Typical monthly bill for most basic service
Monthly cost for Netflix streaming
Want to Cut the Cord? Here’s How
If you don’t care about watching any TV programming, you can simply cancel your service. But if you, like millions of others, still want to be able to watch programming, here are some of your options (the legal ones, anyway):
Remember the days when you could watch network television for free? Those under 25, ask your parents. Those channels are still available for free if you have an antenna. No, we aren’t talking about the clunky rabbit ears. Antennas have changed in looks and performance. They’re digital now, and they pick up a lot more stations than they did before in striking clarity.
Another way to get free network TV is to choose your hardware for on-demand programming delivered via your Internet connection. You may already have this capability in an existing device, including Xbox, PlayStation or Wii; or smart TV or Blu-ray player with built-in Wi-Fi.
DVI to HDMI cables
These little cables help sync your computer’s feed to your TV. This way you can access any website you choose and have it played directly on your TV. You can take your pick between any number of streaming sites and all you need is a secure Internet connection. The cables are usually about $6.
Roku offers more than 300 channels, from Amazon to Angry Birds. The box also streams Internet radio like Pandora, in addition to games, apps and video.