Why I Look Forward To A Future Without Cable
Like most students of my generation, I enjoy spending my weekends in college cuddled with Netflix when I had to turn down after a week of papers, professors, and people. Oh sure, I did my share of the party scene, but who can blame me when I decided to relax with my favorite shows that I can watch whenever I wanted to? Netflix was the perfect companion; I never had to spend too much money and it gave me exactly what I wanted.
Now I’m not one who doesn’t appreciate good old fashion television. I grew up with Saturday morning cartoons, NY1 News, and Sabado Gigante per my Latino family’s request. But am I the only one who thinks cable television is pretty much outdated by now? Leaving college, I thought about what kind of services I would subscribe to in my future (dream) apartment. Cable is not something I’ve considered. The obvious reason is that it probably wouldn't sit right my budget. The average cable bill is approximately $70 a month, which would include Internet and a landline. Out of those three things that are included in the package, I’m really only leaning towards the internet component. I can’t even remember the last time I used my home phone to make phone calls, nor does anyone call it. At this point cable is pretty much baggage that harasses you with unclear billing statements and service hiccups that don’t seem to be fixed by unplugging and replugging your router.
Once my family had a problem with our service at home when we had no choice but to call one of Time Warner Cable’s outstanding technicians. A sweaty, middle-aged man showed up at door. First, he refused to come into the apartment complex because of the neighbor’s hounds barking in the hallways, explaining to me that he has a fear of dogs. Great. After about fifteen minutes of calming him down, I escort him upstairs to my apartment to see what the damage was. His initial diagnosis revealed to us that he had no clear idea what was wrong, but he insisted it was a damaged cable of some sort, so he needed to check the one that came down from the antennae to our apartment. Turns out it was inside the wall of my bedroom. He goes in and pushes my mattress out of the way, and hammers into the wall behind it. I leave him to his work, and he finishes in about half an hour. I once again escort him through the complex to make sure the dogs won’t burst out of the walls or something and attack him. When I return to my bedroom, I noticed the $200 dollars I kept hidden under my mattress gone. Adding insult to injury: our cable still didn’t work.
Okay, so I have a personal vendetta with Time Warner Cable. But despite their awful service and sketchy technicians, there are other reasons why I don’t see cable surviving the approaching future. Services like Netflix and Hulu Plus are cheaper options and premium alternatives of all the channels you might pay extra to subscribe to. The humongous difference is that you can watch whatever you want whenever you want, pause, and resume where you left off. These streaming services even recommend titles to you based on your tastes.
Of the two, Hulu Plus tends to have more content, but at least Netflix doesn’t bombard you with advertisements. I feel like I watch more ads on TV than my shows. And let’s not forget, Netflix has the superb Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. These shows are great because unlike cable, Netflix isn’t bound by many contractual boundaries, such as the FCC. Like HBO, they can get away with most things. HBO however, expects us to pay extra for their own exclusive content that airs on television instead of allowing it to be available to stream on Netflix. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Veep as much as the next person, but I think it’s only matter of time until HBO caves and Veep begins streaming on Netflix. My point is, so far Netflix has produced fantastic original series, and I’m quite eager to see future series when I want to stay in on a Friday night.