Washington, D.C. (March 5, 2013) -
Editor's Note: TV's
Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to
best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If
you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by
sending an e-mail to
Q. I keep hearing
about this thing called cord cutting that will eliminate your
cable TV bill. What exactly is it and should I do it? -- Marcy,
Marcy, 'cord cutting' is the term the TV industry is using to
describe people who eliminate their cable or satellite TV
service entirely and instead watch online video services, such
as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, for a relatively small monthly fee.
It's called 'cord cutting' because the idea is that people cut
the cable or satellite cord that comes into their homes.
Although you might read a disproportion number of stories about
cord cutting, the reality is that not many people are actually
doing it. Various studies and analysis of pay TV subscriber
numbers in 2012 shows that less than one percent last year
actually 'cut the cord' -- dropped a pay TV service without
switching to another one.
So why does the media write so much about cord cutting?
Cable TV operators have lost a significant amount of video
subscribers in the last few years and some tech journalists have
jumped to the conclusion that those subscribers have simply cut
the cord. But when you look at the subscriber gains made by
DIRECTV and the telco TV services, it's safe to assume that most
so-called cord cutter simply switched services.
Now, should you cut the cord?
It depends on what kind of TV programming you consider
important. If you largely just watch movies, a subscription to
Netflix and Amazon Prime would set you back less than $20
combined every month and you would have access to thousands of
movies and TV shows via Internet streaming. With Amazon, you
could also order the occasional the Pay Per View movie for less
than $5 in case you wanted to watch a more recent release.
However, if your viewing habits are more diverse and you
frequently watch things like sports, news and local channels,
cutting the cord is definitely not for you; you would miss a
huge amount of proramming.
For example, you could subscribe to a sports package such as
MLB.TV from Major League Baseball, but you couldn't watch your
local team because it would be blacked out. You also couldn't
get any of the cable news channels. You might be able to get
your local channels with an antenna, but depending upon where
you live, it's no guarantee that you will be able to pick up the
signals for each one.
So as you can see, there's a good reason why not many people
have actually cut the cord. While many consumers grouse about
the high cost of pay TV services, they still feel like they
can't do about them.