Can You Keep Everything When Cutting the Cord?

When cord-cutting first began picking up popularity, there was the typical air of excitement about it that comes with advances in entertainment options. As humans, we are naturally wired to crave innovation in areas that affect our day-to-day lives, including modern medicine, state-of-the-art vehicle safety features, and cutting-edge technology, just to name a few. Many of us are also inclined to see the new option as inherently better than its predecessor, accepting its superiority as a given by the very nature of its “newness.” 

With all of the above elements at play, cord-cutting enjoyed some time in the positivity spotlight, with many early adopters focusing most of their attention on its benefits. But as with all things that we’ve had a chance to fully familiarize ourselves with, it was only a matter of time before the downsides of cord-cutting started to become more apparent as well. 

And among those downsides, one was perhaps the most evident: You are likely to lose some important channels when cutting the cord.

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Gaps of Coverage and Rising Costs

As with so many things, “having it all” when cutting the cord is a complicated – and often quite costly – thing. For the sake of comparison, let’s think of cable television as an all-you-can-eat buffet. The cable provider has designed the menu to fully satisfy your appetite, including your hunger for local news, live sports, and a wide array of channels covering everything from home renovations to romantic comedies. These providers have built sometimes decades-long relationships with major networks, cultivating the most comprehensive channel lineups to keep you and your family fully informed and entertained. 

Where cable television is an all-you-can-eat buffet, cord-cutting options can be thought of as an a la carte menu. For your main course, you will typically have an option of at least 2 “entrees” – one for lighter appetites, with a few dozen or so channels, and another that’s a bit heartier, with 50+ channels. For some people, these channels alone will provide them with enough options. However, many others find that while the “meat and potatoes” are gratifying, there are programming gaps that they simply can’t overlook. 

This often results in choosing a la carte channels, or small package add-ons, which can drive up costs significantly. Not to mention that when you’re subscribing to two or more separate packages, each of those is subject to an independent rise in cost. Because these a la carte options are lower-priced to begin with, those costs may only be a few dollars each, but that “each” is very important! $3 here and $4 there adds up to a lot of dollars quickly.

Simply put, every channel comes at a cost. Cable and streaming providers alike are paying channel providers for the right to include their programming, with cable providers spreading that cost out across all subscribers. With tens of millions of subscribers, they are able to offer a robust lineup of channels at a competitive price. When you select a channel as an a la carte option, however, its individual cost is going to be significantly higher than if it were baked into a standard price that all subscribers pay. 

If you only want one or two individual channels outside of your primary package, the total bill may indeed come in lower than a cable package. However, it’s important to consider all the channels you watch occasionally. You might not be inclined to pay for them individually if you only catch a few shows each month, but are the cost savings enough to justify giving them up altogether? Just like those $3 and $4 price jumps can add up quickly, so can the number of channels that individually might not make up a significant portion of your personal screen time, but which combine to form a pretty sizable chunk of what you’re tuning into. 

TV Everywhere/Apps/DTC

It’s almost hard to believe that not so many years ago, our programming options were tied to the television itself. Quite simply, whereas the act of watching TV was once quite literal, we can now “watch TV” just about anywhere using our computer, tablet, or smartphone. 
 
Many cable and streaming providers offer easy-to-navigate TV Everywhere options, including apps you can download directly to your Internet-enabled device. After confirming via login that you are a subscriber, you’ll be able to watch your favorite programming wherever your day takes you, from your morning commute, to a weekend getaway. 
 
Below is a list of some top cable providers currently offering TV Everywhere capabilities from your computer, tablet, and/or mobile device

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