Monday, July 29, 2013

The State of Cord Cutting - Summer 2013

As you can see from the frequency of my posts, this blog has been somewhat dead of late. I could give many reasons as to why I've slacked off, but basically I found myself saying the same thing... cable companies charge too much and the best way to avoid paying high cable rates is to purchase an antenna and a subscription to Netflix. This solution has worked well for my family and I, however there are those that still need some convincing.  To that end, I would like to update you on the state of cord cutting and to fill you in on trends and technologies that may play a part in your TV entertainment choices. So without further ado, I present to you the Cheaper TV state of cord cutting... Summer 2013.

Netflix - King of Alternative Programming
Netflix Stock Graph

Netflix continues to be a force in non cable TV entertainment.  According to Statistic Brain , Netflix has almost 30 million subscribers and 1/3 of all internet traffic during prime time hours is used for Netflix viewing.  So far in 2013, they have added two new "Netflix Originals" shows "Hemlock Grove" and "Black is the New Orange" and resurrected "Arrested Development".  Three Netflix Original shows have been nominated for Emmy's in 2013.  At $8 a month, Netflix remains the best bargain in TV entertainment.

Google Becomes a Big Player in TV Entertainment

Google has three properties / technologies that are big (or soon to be big) players in TV entertainment...

1. YouTube
YouTube is the #1 destination for online video.  The tagline is "Broadcast Yourself", however it's much more than a destination to host your home movies.  Most major TV and radio stations, movie studios, and sports programmers have regularly updated YouTube channels.  Google has invested heavily in making high quality content available on Netflix including improving tools and support for popular channels and personalities. According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network and it has more than 1 billion unique users each month. (source)

2. Chromecast
After a couple of failed attempts (GoogleTV and Google Nexus Q), Google seems to have finally figured out a way to easily display online content on your television screen with Chromecast.  Chromecast costs $35, plugs directly into your TV, and allows you to easily stream movies from Netflix, Google Play, or from any website that can be viewed on a Chrome browser. You can control your Chromcast device from your desktop computer (Windows, Mac,  or Chrome OS), or your Tablet or Phone (Android or iOS).  I have my Chromecast on order and plan to do a review once I've received it and put it through the paces.

3. Google Play
Google Play is the equivalent of Apple's iTunes.  It's Google's shop for Movies, TV, Music, Books, Apps, Magazines, etc.  It has grown in popularity as Android market share has grown in the phone and tablet markets.

Together, these 3 properties / technologies have and will continue to impact free and paid TV viewing.

Broadcast TV - OTA and OTI

I'm still very happy with the quality and quantity of digital programming I have available via my rooftop antenna. I receive about 50 channels, but of those 50, I watch about 10.  My only complaint is that the picture sometimes pixelates when the Over The Air (OTA) signal isn't strong.  I recently learned about a company that is trying to address this problem by offering broadcast TV over the internet (OTI). Aereo rebroadcasts the digital OTA signal over the internet for a subscription fee of $8 a month.  While I get a fairly strong OTA signal, there are those for whom broadcast TV is not an option.  For those people, this service can be very valuable and help to free them from the grip of the cable companies.

Conclusion

I believe the state of the cord-cutting union is strong.  If you are looking for Cheaper TV alternatives to cable you have more and more entertainment choices.  I intend to keep this blog moving forward, and  hope you choose to follow me as I continue to track ways to improve your Cheaper TV experience.