Cutting the cord with cable has become more popular as alternatives to traditional pay-television have become both better and more numerous. It's easy to see the appeal of dropping a bill that generally tops $100 month and can often approach (or exceed) $200, especially when you can replace it with much cheaper alternatives.

How to download torrents without ISP knowing? That means they probably got a notice from some jerkoff company that A) noticed what you were doing, and b) didn't like it. When this happens your isp is normally doing you a favor by not serving you up on a platter for the other company.

The reality, however, is that cord cutting does not make sense for everyone. There are some individuals -- and even more families -- that still benefit from the traditional cable package. And while it seems expensive compared to paying for a few popular streaming services, it's a question of value and how much you actually use (or don't use) what you pay for.

Live sports is often harder to watch if you ditch cable. Image source: Getty Images.

Should you cut the cord?

When my wife, teenage son, and I moved to Florida we briefly tested cutting the cord. Then we found that our building did not get reasonable reception via an HDTV antenna, meaning we could not reliably get over-the-air channels for free, which immediately soured us on the experiment.

The major broadcast networks carry NFL games, local news, and a number of shows my wife and I watch. Some of the shows -- like Law & Order: SVU, The Simpsons, and Better Call Saul -- can be found on streaming networks at varying times after they air, but that's not the case with live sports.

When we tested cutting the cord, we did the math and found that the replacement cost was not worth it, and the viewing experience was less than ideal. We were paying around $150 for cable that included HBO. To replace that, we went with the following:

  • Sling TV: $35
  • HBO: $15
  • Netflix: $11.99
  • Hulu: $7.99
  • WWE Network: $9.99
  • Loss of internet bundling discount: $10

That only comes to roughly $90 in costs, but with that package I'd have to go out to watch sporting events more often, and the costs of the drinks and food I would consume would add up fast. In reality, the sacrifices were only part of why we did not cut the cord; the fact that we'd have so many different interfaces was another factor.

The market for skinny bundles

Skinny bundles like DISH Network's (NASDAQ:DISH) Sling TV and Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) YouTube TV offer a lot of cable-like choices, but they don't offer a similar viewing experience. Sling, for example (which we subscribe to for our second home), does not really make it easy to 'flip' channels. It's great when you want to watch something end to end, but even 'flipping' during a commercial is awkward and both have incomplete channel lineups compared to traditional cable.

Those limitations have not stopped the segment from growing. Sling TV added 26,000 paying customers in the third quarter, bringing it to 2.37 million total customers. That's actually more than the roughly 1.8 million customers DISH has lost on satellite side, but the numbers are a bit deceiving since Sling -- even the more expensive packages -- generally costs much less than DISH's satellite service.

Alphabet does not break out YouTube TV numbers but for both companies it's not really about where they are now but where the market is going. The cable universe still contains about 86 million homes -- down from nearly 95 million at its peak. This isn't Alphabet trying to maintain share. It's the company seeing that not only are those 86 million remaining cable homes in play, but so are tens of millions of Millennials who never had a cord to cut in the first place.

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YouTube TV and Sling TV give consumers the option to have at least some live TV without paying for a full cable package. That's almost certainly something that's going to increase as consumers look for ways to cut their bills, so while I haven't made the switch, it's easy to see the appeal. Furthermore, it's also a valuable market to help DISH offset subscriber losses, while offering Alphabet yet another way it can grow.

Check out the latest DISH earnings call transcript.

It has to be right for you

Now that my son has moved to mostly watching YouTube videos and non-traditional TV content, my wife and I may take a look at YouTube TV, which offers local channels in many markets (which would solve some of the sports issues for me). It's not a guarantee, however, that we'll cut the cord.

If cutting the cord means my wife can't watch the true crime shows she likes or the cooking programs we both like, price may not be the overall deciding factor. Yes, we pay around $300 a month for cable and streaming services, but my wife and I watch about 90 minutes of TV together at night, and at least an hour separately while getting ready for work and/or preparing dinner during the week. On the weekend, we probably each add three hours of solo viewing for sports (me) or whatever she watches when I'm out.


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That's a combined 25 hours of viewing on weekdays and roughly 16 on the weekends -- 41 hours a week, or 164 a month. That means that while we're spending a lot, it's still less than $2 an hour -- and for us, that's still probably math that works.

You don't have to use the same logic when it comes to your decision. You just have to consider what you save versus what you give up if you cut the cord, and figure out the point where it's worth it to you. Whether you cut or not, the trend continues to grow, and DISH and Alphabet are taking steps to deliver content however people want to get it.

Posted by3 years ago

So I was caught pirating...

I was on piratebay and downloaded a couple of movies. I get an email from my internet provider informing me that

Dear Spectrum Internet Subscriber: Charter Communications ('Charter') has received a notice from a copyright owner, or its authorized agent, that your Internet account may have been involved in the exchange of unauthorized copies of copyrighted material (e.g., music, movies, or software). To view the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (�DMCA�) notice that Charter received from the copyright holder or its agent, which includes the specific allegation, or to view any other recent DMCA notices on this account, please visit You will be prompted to login using your Charter account number and the reference number listed in the subject line of this email, following the date. The DMCA permits copyright owners to notify Charter if they believe that a Charter customer has infringed their work(s). When Charter receives a notice from a copyright owner, Charter will notify the identified customer of the alleged infringement by providing them a copy of the notice. As required by law, Charter may determine that the customer is a repeat copyright infringer and reserves the right to suspend or terminate the accounts of repeat copyright infringers. Please consider the following when reviewing this notice: � Charter has received this notice from the copyright holder or its agent and is not responsible for the content of any notice. � Any settlement offers contained in the notice come directly from the copyright holder or its agent, not from Charter. � Charter cannot advise you on whether to accept any offers contained in the notice; you may want to consult your own legal advisors before acting. � If you contact the copyright holder or its agent directly, they will have your contact information and may contact you with requests, offers or demands. � Charter has not disclosed your name or contact information to the copyright holder or its agent as a result of this notice. It is possible that this activity has occurred without your permission or knowledge by an unauthorized user, a minor who may not fully understand the copyright laws, or even as a result of a computer virus. However, as the named subscriber on the account, you may be held responsible for any misuse of your account. Please be aware that using Charter�s service to engage in any form of copyright infringement is expressly prohibited by Charter's Acceptable Use Policy and that repeat copyright infringement, or violations of any other Charter policy, may result in the suspension or termination of your service. You may view Charter's rules and policies, including Charter�s Acceptable Use Policy, at . We ask that you take immediate action to stop the exchange of any infringing material.

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So I'm wondering two things.

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  1. How did this happen? How did they catch me? I've been pirating for years and this hasn't happened.

  2. What's the next course of action I should take?

Edit: Formatting

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