Time to cut the cable cord

New streaming platforms have benefits that cable does not offer


Photo courtesy of Cartoon Brew

Many different streaming platforms exist. Above are highly popular services that are used in many households. Cable is becoming less and less favored as these platforms grow. Streaming is a quick and easy way to take in content on the go or at home.

Elizabeth Hahn, Entertainment Editor

Slowly but surely, more streaming services are popping up, as many channels are taking advantage of the popularity of streaming. This is causing people to say goodbye to cable and completely switch to streaming. This change may be necessary as it saves money and gives more choice. Streaming picks up where cable is lacking, which makes switching a reasonable option.

It’s difficult to keep up with all the services that are being made. There’s HBO Max, Apple TV+, Disney+, NBC’s Peacock, Quibi, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more. Many of these platforms have shows that are exclusive to that streaming service. For example, Netflix has its own originals like Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black, that are only available on their program. With originals like those mentioned, it gives the subscriber exclusive content that people who are cable exclusive will never see.

The convenient part about cable is that all the new shows are in the same spot under one price, however, streaming gives viewers much more choice. With cable, the shows that are on are what the person can watch, which makes it very limited. The current streaming services have a multitude of TV shows and movies. The viewer can decide what they want to watch instead of being forced to wait through other shows and dozens of commercials to get to their desired content.

Most platforms separate the shows and movies into different categories so the subscriber can find exactly what is desired at any given time. A great example of this is Hulu. While scrolling through this service, one can see columns labeled as anything from “Comic Book Heroes” to “Award-Winning TV.” There’s something for everyone and there’s enough content to last for a long time. Most streaming destinations also allow the user to search for TV shows and movies in order to find what they are looking for. A helpful feature that Netflix offers is a row dedicated to top picks for the viewer and percentages next to the TV or movie posters that show how much the viewer would enjoy that specific content. Its algorithm is well thought out and makes it easy to find enjoyable media.

Throwing cable away completely is a viable option as subscription extensions like Hulu Live exist. Hulu Live basically gives what cable offers. The channels offered are limited, but this feature gives subscribers the option to watch TV live instead of waiting for their shows to show up on Hulu the next day or next week. This feature is useful for viewing sporting events live, which is nice for the men of the house. They also have a feature where the subscriber can record their favorite shows and put it under the “My Stuff” tab, keeping all the shows organized and in one place. Even if someone has Hulu Live, they are still able to access all the streamable content, as well. This feature serves as a fantastic alternative to cable.

Another reason why streaming is an adequate alternative is the binge factor of it. An NBC News article “What happens to your brain when you binge-watch a TV series”, states that a Netflix survey found that 73% of participants reported positive feelings associated with binging. There’s really nothing like sitting down and taking in content in a short amount of time. It’s desirable because of continuity. With cable, most shows come out on a weekly basis, which means there is a lot of waiting involved. It’s tough to get into a story when there are breaks between. Streaming platforms have full-length seasons out in one day. This gives the viewer the opportunity to decide how they want to watch the content and in what time period. 

Streaming will likely be less cost consuming than cable is. According to a Consumer Reports article titled “Cable TV Fees Continue to Climb”, advertised cable rates climb about three to four percent annually, as well as the add-on charges and hidden fees. Streaming services have one set fee that is paid monthly. Cable packages tend to be priced pretty high, which can seem like a waste of money at times. Luckily with streaming, the viewers can pick and choose which streaming services will be beneficial to their household. For example, older couples won’t need Disney+, but they might want services like HBO Max and Netflix. With streaming, the customer can make decisions based on cost efficiency, which saves money in the long run.

Although it may seem like streaming will be more confusing than having all the shows in one place, this may actually keep people more organized. It’s completely possible to adjust to a full streaming lifestyle. For cable, most shows air on a weekly basis. Juggling a number of shows with different schedules and channels can be difficult. Many streaming platforms have separate tabs or rows for shows that are being watched at that specific time. These services save the progress one has made in watching the show and have it waiting for when the person decides to continue. This is helpful in knowing where one can continue their binging adventure.

Streaming services are available at anyone’s fingertips. It’s convenient to be able to pull out a phone and watch any show. Many services have downloadable apps for phones or tablets. Cable is exclusive to TVs, so it is not possible to access all channels offered through cable packages at all times. In places where one is unable to access their TV, streaming makes it possible to acquire content with a couple of taps to a phone screen.

According to a Grounded Reason article “Cord Cutting Vs Cable Statistics”, in the past five years, streaming viewership nearly doubled, while Cable TV subscriber use fell about 11%. Society is changing. Now, we can access thousands of shows through our phones. Cable is slowly dying, but that is not necessarily an unfortunate instance. With rising cable prices, streaming will likely save money for households all over. It also allows more choices of content and features that are not possible with cable. 

Although it seems like the end of an era with cable use declining, we are moving into a more cost-efficient society with a plethora of shows for us to continue to binge and enjoy.