While working in an industry that some feel is hanging on for dear life, I find that my thoughts on whether or not I found it necessary to have cable television in my home had completely changed. With the popularity of mobile apps and streaming services spreading like wildfire, most cable and satellite television subscribers are beginning to question their loyalty. The question of how necessary cable is in your home all relies on the shows you enjoy watching, how you like to watch them, and the quality of video (which would mostly either rely on your internet speed and source quality).
Apps and streaming services may be fairly new to the game, but the epic battle for subscribers between cable and satellite television has been ongoing for decades. On one hand you have satellite which will no doubt give you the largest selection of channels (especially international and sporting), and on the other you have cable which allows you to sign up and remain contract free for the duration of your subscription. Most customers have a love hate relationship with their television when it comes to satellite or cable, but having experienced both in my lifetime and being a price conscious viewer, I would choose cable hands down. The installation for cable services is a lot less expensive (free or discounted most of the time), a lot less of an eyesore on the exterior of my home, and is just simply more reliable during inclement weather situations.
Having expressed my choice of cable over satellite, I can tell you I’ve only just had cable for less than a year. Before choosing to install cable in my home, I was a loyal subscriber to Netflix and Hulu, a devoted downloader to Amazon, and if there was still a show those companies had yet to carry, I was an extensive web researcher. Yes, most shows and episodes you’re interested in can be found using Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, but for networks they haven’t acquired rights to, you’re going to be in for a search that will most likely include a streamed video with ads and necessary Flash or Java updates. Cable provided me the ability to watch all my shows during their original air date, and DVR plus free On Demand services to catch up on anything I missed (which is essentially cable’s answer to streaming services).
If you’re a fan of AMC shows, as I know I am, then finding the past seasons and most current episodes in one place will most definitely be a challenge. Eric Ravenscraft, author on Lifehacker.com, in a recent article illustrated the difference between Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon in terms of the series they carry…none of which included recent episodes of “The Walking Dead” which could be a deal-breaker for most. Also listed on the graph Ravenscraft created, are shows like “American Horror Story” and “Game of Thrones” that many fans will be unable to watch without a subscription to cable or satellite television.
If you find yourself underwhelmed by subscription services like Netflix and Hulu due to the automatic debits of $7.99, another option is Project Free TV. Project Free TV is a streaming website that hosts hundreds of episodes, previous and current, for you to enjoy free of charge. It may sound like a gimmick that will hook you only to reveal hidden charges and fine print later, but it really is 100% free and never asks you to “log in” or “subscribe” (and never asks for a credit card number). That being said, they have to make money somehow, so the website is not ad-free and you’ll sometimes find yourself stuck in a cycle of pop ups if you click the wrong link. Also worth mentioning as a disclaimer, I’ve never been able to stream videos with this website while using my internet browser on Playstation or Xbox. Now, for an extreme positive that may outweigh any and all negatives…it does give you the ability to watch premium channel series WITHOUT a subscription to them, and yes, that includes the critically acclaimed series “Game of Thrones” and the final season of “True Blood” (I swear it on the old Gods and the new).
Overall, it really just comes down to what your budget is, how you want to watch, and the shows you want to follow. Some may find that being a subscriber of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon is better than having cable, however when you add up the monthly reoccurring charges of those services in combination with any Redbox rentals (or movie tickets), you may find that the cost of being a cable customer could be in the same ballpark. There’s a viewing experience out there to meet everyones’ standards and preferences, so make a list of your favorite shows and do some research. You may find a different result than you had anticipated, or most importantly, (hint hint) a way to watch “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead”.