One societal problem is identified with the battle cry, ‘Cut the Cord!‘ and refers to those of us tired of paying the cable television company a few hundred dollars a month to be entertained and informed, a company that pushes 300 or more TV channels down a cable even though most of us watch only about a dozen or so. Why is cutting the cable TV cord (which is really a cable) so difficult? And why is it so generational?
Let me put this as simply as I can. Humans are information and entertainment junkies. We’re addicted to almost anything that informs or entertains us and who does more of that for us and to us than the cable television company. Not only does cable TV provide hundreds of video channels, many systems offer radio stations, and most also push broadband internet access into the home.
That explains why cable television bills often hit more than $200 a month. The addiction is both commonplace and well documented. How well has the rallying cry ‘Cut the Cord!’ played out? I see this as a generational thing. Younger people, let’s say those from the early 30s and younger, have less difficulty cutting the cord and moving on to mobile devices as their primary sources for information and entertainment. That may explain why that generation is less informed, too.
The rest of us fall into a category which has a measure of difficulty cutting the cord. Sure, we have our smartphones and tablets, iPhones and iPads, but most of us remain informed and entertained the old fashioned way. Cable TV. Why? Ridding oneself of an addiction is hard work.
How many ways can we cut the cord? Let me put these into two categories.
Mobile Syndrome – Cell phones and tablets with data plans connect to the internet and that means music, news apps, social apps, YouTube and dozens of other ways to stay informed and entertained, and usually without the monthly expense of a cable TV connection.
Netflix Syndrome – Allow me to describe this alternative as the Netflix Syndrome (not limited just to Netflix, but a method of being informed and entertained by any internet streaming service, including Amazon, CBS, HBO, Apple TV, Chromecast, and many others).
The Mobile Syndrome allows for many diverse choices of information and entertainment, while the Netflix Syndrome does not. Over the course of a month, a cable television connection will provide far more options for information and entertainment than Netflix or most streaming services, but at a much higher monthly cost.
Other than cable TV, Netflix Syndrome and Mobile Syndrome are not mutually exclusive, either. In fact, many have both in varying degrees. Some of us have all three, starting with cable TV, and that simply incites the addiction to information and entertainment to a deeper degree. While attempting to cut the cord we try out different methods, including mobile devices and sources and streaming sources, only to find ourselves holding onto all of them, which increases the amount of money that is expelled each month just to be informed and entertained.
My father recounts the days of four or five AM radio stations, three or four TV stations, a local newspaper, and a nearby daily newspaper as the main sources of information and entertainment. The only cost was the newspaper subscriptions and the purchase of a TV and a radio. Today, my husband and I spend nearly $500 a month to keep ourselves connected (cell phone plans, cable TV, streaming video subscriptions, etc.).
How much do you spend to be informed and entertained today? If you could ‘cut the cord’ how would you do it? What would you sacrifice and why? How much are you willing to spend?