Why cutting cable TV is harder than you think

Sarita Harbour
Why cutting cable TV is hard

Cutting the cord on cable service has become a trend to save money. But for some, the trade-off might not be worth it.

"Cable is still the most seamless option for home entertainment," says Chris Sloan, executive producer of the Travel Channel's "Airport 24/7: Miami" and the president/founder of production company, 2C Media. Sloan says cable TV is a simpler solution for families than the alternatives which may require cobbling together various devices and services.

"AeroTV, Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, etc. are all great services, but don't completely replace cable, especially with live programming and full episodes of series," says Sloan.

Youtoo TV's CEO, Chris Wyatt, agrees. "Cable affords many benefits to consumers that are not available on traditional broadcast channels or the Internet," he says.

So just what are these benefits that you could miss out on if you cut cable? Keep reading to learn more.

Live Sports Coverage

For sports fans, one of the biggest negatives to cutting cable is losing live sports broadcasts of the big game, whether it's basketball, baseball, hockey, or another favorite sport. But can't you stream it on the internet, you might wonder? Rarely.

"Very few sporting events, especially premium ones, are streamed online," says Sloan.

Wyatt adds that "there is not currently a broadcast Internet option that offers live sports nor can the Internet broadcasters financially support one."

So, for the sports fans out there, cable may be your only option at getting the live sports coverage you crave.

"Cable delivers live broadcast channels, exclusive cable content, on-demand content, and live sports programming not available without a TV subscription," says Steve Necessary, vice president of Video Product Development and Management for Cox Communications. In addition, cable subscribers don't have to worry about not being able to see local games due to mandated sports programming blackouts.

 "Traditional broadcast and the Internet cannot even compare to the sports options available on cable," says Wyatt. For example, "with the NFL Sunday Ticket, viewers can watch virtually any NFL game regardless if there is a blackout in their local market," he adds.

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Entertainment and Educational Programming for Kids

Do your kids look forward to watching their favorite television programs while you make dinner, or when you sleep in on Sundays?

While you may be able to find these programs via Internet streaming, you may not be able to control the programs they are exposed to.

However, cable TV offers resources such as its TV Parental Guidelines Rating System to quickly identify age appropriate programming, and cable set-top boxes that can be used to block out inappropriate content, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's website.

"There is a vast array of educational channels for children including Nickelodeon, Spout, Nick Jr., Animal Planet and others," says Wyatt. "While these networks are entertaining for children, parents know that they are educational. For most parents, it is like having a virtual babysitter they can trust in their living room."

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Movies Galore – with a Quality Viewing Experience

If you're a movie buff, you know you have a variety of choices when it comes to finding a way to watch them. And while internet streaming and satellite are popular alternatives to cable television, there are also some pesky problems to be aware of.

For example, if you choose to watch movies over the internet, don't be surprised to find pauses or lags in the picture depending on your internet speed. And if you're planning on switching to satellite, be prepared for spotty reception or none at all when the weather is bad.

In fact, Necessary says that Cox customers who switch to satellite generally "report issues with reliability, weather-related outages, and variability based on their broadband service."

In addition to superior picture quality, cable television also allows movie fans to choose specialty channels based on their interests, such as the Independent Film Channel or the Sundance Channel, as well as on-demand options for customers.

 "We're constantly adding to the on-demand library," says Necessary. "[For example] customized collections such as recently nominated or winning films; sports-themed films; a particular interest such as all the 007 movies to commemorate 50 years of James Bond, to name a few."

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Other Cable Perks

Some of the other things to keep in mind when considering cutting the cable cord include loss of access to current specialty programs and series and the cost-benefit of bundling products.

Just think: If you love your cooking shows on Food TV or home improvement programs on HGTV, how will you watch these without cable?

"Full-length series are available only on cable, unless one chooses to pay a la carte for episodes on iTunes," says Sloan.

What's more, if you cut cable you may be missing out on other services and benefits that cable television can bring, including bundling your internet with your cable to reduce your overall bill.

Bundles make it easy for customers to save by having a single provider for TV, phone, and Internet, says Necessary.