Are you replacing cable TV with internet options?

Just a few years ago people began canceling their landline phone service and replaced it with their cell phone instead.  Now it looks like history may be repeating itself as cable companies lose subscribers to internet video.  According to USA Today, Time Warner Cable lost 155,000 subscribers this quarter, whereas Comcast lost 275,000 customers.

Landel Hobbs, Time Warner’s COO, stated that their research shows that subscribers who cancel their television service don’t have broadband services.  However TW would have no way of knowing whether the customer had a provider other than Time Warner for their broadband needs.  The CEO of Verizon, who experienced a similar shift firsthand during the landline-to-mobile transition, made an interesting observation, stating, “"The first thing when that happens is you deny it.  I know the drill. I have been there."

The article goes on to state that cable companies have been losing subscribers for quite some time, but have been making up for the losses with extra services such as VoIP and higher priced digital tiers, but the growth of those segments has been stagnant recently as well.

Although cable companies like Time Warner may claim that streaming is not impacting their business, the recent growth of Netflix tells another story.  With services from Netflix and Hulu, along with the high quality that can be gained from an antenna, customers are finding fewer reasons to spend $100/month for television service.

Are you on the cutting edge of cutting the cable?  Or do you think pay TV and internet sources will coexist in the long run?

Poll

What are you using for home video?

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Neowin Member Reviews: Orange San Francisco Android Phone

Next Story

Mobile Gaming Review Roundup - November 6, 2010

108 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

So is all this Live TV software out there just hogwash. I'd love to drop Dish Network and just watch my LIVE shows over the internet on my 27" LCD not tape recorded from HULU. What is the best program if there is any to watch live TV on your computer

Eventually HULU will come to Canada and that's when I will drop my overpriced cable bill. For now, I have the basic package which is about $65/month (no extras), I also pay for Netflix (now in Canada), and I have a Last.FM subscription for tunes. I have a main media computer hooked up to my 60" Plasma running Boxee and watch movies through Netflix via my Xbox for now. Music, Tv Episodes, and other Movies/Media I keep centralized on my Media server so everyone in the family can use their laptops anywhere's in the house or outside to do watch or listen to what they need.

My hope is that I will be able to purchase shows onine for $.99 cents or some cheap price and get only those shows I want to watch: Walking Dead, Supernatural..etc.

i torrent most tv shows and use on demand for others, will always have a cable tv scrip, unless something cheaper and better comes along...ya so i dl most shows and watch through my ps3 on my 42" hdtv, good times...thank god i have a 15mb unlimited dl cable connection!

I'll be stuck with regular cable tv service until ESPN, Fox Sports, and the other major sports channels *all* become available for *live* internet streaming. Otherwise I'm too big of a sports junkie to give up cable tv.

Never liked Cable TV's fixed channel packages - they always seemed like a rip-off to me. I never subscribed to any and used Internet happily since the beginning. It's the future. Those who still don't see it need better glasses or something

Not yet, still too much I can't get easy online.
The only thing I ever watch on regular channels is football.
Most of my viewing is HBO, syfy, foxnews and various discovery and national geographic channels.
Plus I have 7 TV's and don't want to have to hook a pc to each of them.

Bandwidth caps, anyone?! 30gigs can be eaten easily in 3-4 days of internet + Tv, even for the most casual user.

hi-def movie
hi-def hockey game
hi-def local broadcast for news and other entertainment

boom!

and that's if you even have all this content available on the net. that's what's happening here in Canada at least...

Mouettus said,
Bandwidth caps, anyone?!

I checked my usage after you posted

Was around 50Gb out of 250Gb (Comcast) before - gaming and netflix. So far I am at 65Gb last month when I was already using internet only (HDDVR was dead) so with lots of Hulu. So hopefully I have enough room for internet only usage but will have to see the weeks we are snow in

I never ordered cable when I bought my house, I'm doing fine without it. I have Netflix, NBA League Pass, news pod/videocasts, ESPN3 on the xbox, and an antenna for local channels. I can catch shows that I want to watch online and cable prices are ridiculous.

Nope, but they do work quite well together! Some of the premium (movie) channels are the primary ones Netflix has replaced.

im waiting for foxtell over xbox live, cable television over here is a joke and costs way to damn much for constant repeats

Couldn't stand wasting my computer to watch tv!!

Don't watch much tv anyway and, in fact, if it wasn't for the wife and kid, probably wouldn't own a tv!!

Typical Internet forum trend. Vast majority of people polled still watch TV using traditional methods, yet the vast majority of posts are from the minority.

I have my HDTV, but no cable or antena, just my computer with Internet and my PS3, it's been ages since i put a channel on my HDTV.

I'm thinking on geting netflix or the Google TV, but i'm not sure, maybe both.

I'm thinking about just replacing my cable TV with AppleTV that has Boxee and XBMC installed on it. Anyone have one? Would I still be able to stream movies from my iMac to the TV?

I have the EZTV app on my Android, is that enough? Throw in some PPStream for live sports too if I desire.
Even then I don't really watch TV nowadays.

I've been considering shutting off cable TV and just using Netflix, Zune, and HD OTA local channels through Windows Media Center for a few months now. I don't watch enough TV to justify the ridiculous expense of HD cable + DVR, and when I do watch TV it's more often Netflix than cable anyway...

IPTV has been around for couple of years in hungary. t-home has this service plus a few other carriers. it is comparable to regular cable.

I barely watch the Dish. I get my tv programs off the net. I was going toward Netflix since now available in Canada but now with CRTC and Bell being together and have implemented UBB. Make kind of like worthless to watch any streaming online movies or tv shows.

I don't think there nearly enuff TV shows and movies, on the Internet, yet. Will probably suck up a lot of bandwidth, when there are. I'll stick to satellite for now.

considering youtube can be painfully slow to watch at times here in nz, no internet solution exists nor the internet facilities to make one exist.

The main reason people keep cable tv is sports.
Make sports as available on internet as on cable and observe the revolution.
That said, cable companies will just rise their internet plans.

So you'll end up paying $100/month for internet and $40-50 for tv.

You can do whatever you want to lower your tv viewing costs, you'll just end up paying more again because your cable provider will surely up up their prices and because they have no competition, you'll just get screwed like me.

essential+ said,
The main reason people keep cable tv is sports.
Make sports as available on internet as on cable and observe the revolution.
That said, cable companies will just rise their internet plans.

So you'll end up paying $100/month for internet and $40-50 for tv.

You can do whatever you want to lower your tv viewing costs, you'll just end up paying more again because your cable provider will surely up up their prices and because they have no competition, you'll just get screwed like me.

Spot on. I'm not 100% aware of how things are in the US (i'm portuguese) but that seems a pretty good explanation. Neowin users don't seem big sport fans so no wonder they're more keen on streaming shows. Not to mention that less tech-savy people will prefer the ease of use of TV.

Now what I'm not entirely sure about, is your prediction for the future. I think sports leagues might make a lot of money if they start offering paid subscriptions to live streaming through their websites... or perhaps a centralized service for this like Hulu, but specialized in sports.

Sooner or later the shift will be to the internet and we are going to pay for it. The question is, WHO are we going to pay. But it'll probably still take a few good years until this revolution is over, as cable companies are going to put a fight and hold on to as much exclusive content as they can.

I mainly just watch TV series (which I can find on Hulu and other sites) and DVDs which Netflix usually has or the local video store. I don't have a need for cable or dish as it costs too much when I'd only use like a few channels and not even everyday.

I've never had more than basic cable at home and have used streaming video online for years. Never really been sold on TV when I can get most of my information online. I also watch a decent amount of Anime and stuff that isn't easy to find.

It's hilarious how many people are posting here that they get their TV programming illegally. Same "I'm entitled to everything for free" attitude. I agree that the prices are too high. You're paying for programming you may potentially watch. Imagine the costs to produce all the programming that airs every hour. It's a lot more than it takes to produce music, which the same people are probably also obtaining illegally.

I realize there are lots of legal ways to obtain the same programming. It's just far more of a hassle.

Apparently all of the people who are ditching cable/satellite (the people this article is about) are Neowin members!

jafoman said,
It's hilarious how many people are posting here that they get their TV programming illegally.

- most people posting obtain their TV legally. Netflix, Hulu, amazon are all legal means.
- of 200 channels in a digital package I watch may be 6 channels. Why should i pay the networks to produce the crap of the other 194 channels ??
- i don't pirate musics, nor tv, nor video. Broad accusation like what you did is just trolling.

No, people are canceling their cable for a couple reasons.
A. There isn't CRAP on tv worth watching.
B. It's too expensive to pay for it, because of A.

Nope, I never had Cable. It's hardly available in the U.K anyway. I have satellite. How come articles are always posted about cable and the likes, when lots use Satellite (Sky) in the U.K

Just cancelled last week my triple play +HD-DVR with Comcast when deal expired and bill jumps to $180. Keep internet only at $70. Antenna does not work well where I am. I have Netflix, Playon (+Hulu) and just bought Revue/Goggle TV ($300 but that's less than 3 months of what I am saving).

Even with a DVR, it was still choosing between something "live" versus something recorded. Now my subsription on Hulu and video podcast queue are replacing it and I love it. Plus AmazonVoD if I really want to buy something. The $110 a month I am saving convinced me to now purchase what I want, not what the networks want me to watch.

No, I get plenty of HD channels at under $100. I won't be canceling as it's too much of a hassle to use the internet plus the quality it too low for my tastes.

I will be cancelling our cable package this week, as $60 a month for just digital channels with NO HD is retarded. Upgraded our internet package to 15MB so I will just be streaming from now on.

50" Plasma here and never had TV service. Hulu/netflix provides everything I need.

Total costt for a hulu plus and netflix sub? 25 bucks a month.

Can't beat that vs a 150+/month cable bill.

Man, I knew cable was expensive in the US, but I didn't know it was so much! Quite a few people here are/ were paying more than $100 a month!! Don't your providers let you choose channels in packages?! They just have what, basic and extreme?

Here in India with Tata Sky (or others) you can choose a tiny base package, and then just add whatever else you like, be it specific categories of channels, or regional language channels. Even if we take the Annual Mega Pack (all channels + showcase movies), it will still only cost about $130/ year!!!

The Guardian said,
Man, I knew cable was expensive in the US, but I didn't know it was so much! Quite a few people here are/ were paying more than $100 a month!! Don't your providers let you choose channels in packages?! They just have what, basic and extreme?

Here in India with Tata Sky (or others) you can choose a tiny base package, and then just add whatever else you like, be it specific categories of channels, or regional language channels. Even if we take the Annual Mega Pack (all channels + showcase movies), it will still only cost about $130/ year!!!

Yes, we can choose packages. I pay $36/month for Dish HD only package. I get pretty much everything I want except the premium channels. But I have no interest in those.

The Guardian said,
Man, I knew cable was expensive in the US, but I didn't know it was so much! Quite a few people here are/ were paying more than $100 a month!! Don't your providers let you choose channels in packages?! They just have what, basic and extreme?

Here in India with Tata Sky (or others) you can choose a tiny base package, and then just add whatever else you like, be it specific categories of channels, or regional language channels. Even if we take the Annual Mega Pack (all channels + showcase movies), it will still only cost about $130/ year!!!

a lot of those $100+ a month are people who buy a lot of extras...... for me cable is $59 a month for 200 channels..... by itself

the whole you can watch it all online thing to me is bull, I want a live stream from each network of what they show on cable tv not just individual shows on demand, give me the entire channel as a stream also... until that happens i wont "switch"

Although I am still paying for a Sat service I have begun moving to getting my TV from the internet instead. Eventually I'll abandon Sat entirely.

The main reasons for me is that I can get much higher quality from the internet at a much cheaper cost and all the content is On Demand. I don't need to wait for specific times or dates to watch an episode of a show I like and I can watch every episode of a show one after the other. Not to mention no advertisements. My only real 'cost' is that I need to pay for my Internet service and the Hard Disks to store the content.

I made the switch from watching TV shows on cable to watching them online in 2005. Five years after I made the switch, I still have cable TV for certain programs that I can't watch online. Most US sites don't allow non-US residents to view their content. Also, streaming services like Netflix have only recently been made available in Canada with a limited library. What I'm trying to say is that in Canada, there's more reason to have cable TV than in the US.

Don't have cable. I have satellite and had it for many years now. I don't pay that much thanks to dish networks HD only packages. I won't go full internet streaming because the quality is so horrible. I have a 7.1 surround sound setup so 2 channel audio and less than 480p resolution just won't cut it. We are getting there. And I know where I can download my shows in 5.1 and 1080 so i'm content with that. I may drop dish soon to save a few bucks but internet streaming isn't where it needs to be just yet.

I cancelled my Cable TV last year, but I still have Comcast Cable Internet. I couldn't justify the $88 month for Cable TV when most of the channels I watched were available in FREE over the air in HDTV (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX). The only channels I miss on cable were SciFi, History, Discovery, TNT, Spike. So all that TV bill was really for only those 5 extra channels above the ones I get for free. So I now use Hulu to get the stuff I want from the SciFi channel.

If Cable TV/Satellite operators weren't gouging us on the prices or selection I would have stayed. I would happily play for TV if I could only choose and pay for only the channels I wanted (ala cart). But the pricing is jacked so high with all the crap channels they throw in.

There is nothing on cable you cant watch, download over the internet. The digital age is here and and Mr. Comcast has blinders on to the future. Take note Mr. Sony and your oh so great Blu Ray because your right behind Mr. Comcast as a dieing medium.

I would drop TV if it wasnt for my wife watching it.
Still, they have my custom as cable broadband rocks.

surely not. iptv is still very unreliable when it comes to dsl or ethernet. docsis with coaxial is still by far best option to deliver tv signal.

When we had cable TV i never watched it.

I would sooner just download stuff (legally)... its better quality than whats on TV here in the UK, has no adverts or network logos and I can watch it when I want.

About the only thing I watch on TV is Doctor Who and Top Gear.

Just reduce the monthly subscription price then they will be fine. As long as cable is cheaper than internet, well, people will choose cable...

I cancelled TV early this year, finally convinced my wife to let it happen. Our cable internet works great with Hulu, Netflix and other streaming. Just getting the locals over the air (digital for the win) is just fine!

I haven't had a land line phone for 9 years and TV for over 6. I haven't even owned a physical TV since that time. I stream everything I want online.

I canceled my TV. It was costing me $120/month for a lame HD experience with Comcast. I now spend $10/month on Hulu for all my shows in HD and $10/month on Netflix for Instant Stream movies which are great.

$20 a month vs $120/month television providers can blow me. If it were $40/month like it used to be, that would be more reasonable. It seems like raising the rates in an economic downward spiral was a good idea to them.

Tech Greek said,
I canceled my TV. It was costing me $120/month for a lame HD experience with Comcast. I now spend $10/month on Hulu for all my shows in HD and $10/month on Netflix for Instant Stream movies which are great.

$20 a month vs $120/month television providers can blow me. If it were $40/month like it used to be, that would be more reasonable. It seems like raising the rates in an economic downward spiral was a good idea to them.

Why were you paying $120 for just Cable??

Price Gouging Sir.

$40/Month for Internet
$10/Month for DVR
$10/Month for HD
$60/Month for Basic Digital
$20/Month for HBO & Starz

etc
etc

It was actually more than $120 that was just a figure I threw out there... Louisiana still uses the 1998 Guide from Comcast in their set top boxes. We just NOW started to get the Cisco set top boxes which support TRUE HD, and not some rigged feature but they still use the VERY crappy software that Scientific Explorer or whoever came up with.

andrewbares said,

Why were you paying $120 for just Cable??

As im anti advertising, and i dont have much free time to stare at ads for roughly 1/3rd of a 1 hour show...i prefer to download/tvshack em. Cable providers are rather non competitive as well, i cant sit down at my convenience and watch a show when i want. I can use PVR..but theres an extra cost, and there are other ways of achieving this via a cable provider but it keeps adding huge costs. I have cable still just cause i dont live alone, but personally i dont use it for anythin except having the news on while i have breakfast/supper.

Been using the net for my shows in the UK for over 3years but only got rid of cable 2 years ago. I much prefer being able to watch things when i want to plus its saving me over £145 a year =)

When I move out, I don't plan on getting cable TV. I can personally live off internet content alone (Revision3 is all I need at this point), but that's because I don't really get hooked on many TV shows.

Here in Canada, we don't have many online options like Hulu or Netflix (not a lot of content on Netflix.ca so far) outside of the broadcasters websites themselves... But those feeds are not HD or anything, so it's tough to compare.

I cancelled all of my TWC services and went with AT&T for internet and use Netflix for my entertainment needs. I was paying $120 a month for digital cable and internet from them and the service totally sucked. I had numerous techs out to try and fix the problem but it never got fixed, went through 4 DVRs and 3 different modems and they all had the same problem. So now I pay $9/month for Netflix and $20/month for internet.

The only shows I watch are: The Vampire Diaries, American Idol, and The Jersey Shore which can all easily be found online. I'm trying to convince the wife to let me cut the TV since it'll save us $90/month just for the TV. Anyone have a good solution to watch TV from the internet? I was thinking about getting the AppleTV and just streaming it from my iMac to the TV. The wife on the other hand watches everything, such as Disney channel, Home improvement shows, Survivor, Fridge, Grey Anatomy.

Dinggus said,
The only shows I watch are: The Vampire Diaries, American Idol, and The Jersey Shore which can all easily be found online. I'm trying to convince the wife to let me cut the TV since it'll save us $90/month just for the TV. Anyone have a good solution to watch TV from the internet? I was thinking about getting the AppleTV and just streaming it from my iMac to the TV. The wife on the other hand watches everything, such as Disney channel, Home improvement shows, Survivor, Fridge, Grey Anatomy.

Roku box is pretty great. If you have Windows in your Mac, you could set-up WMC and get access to web tv, Netflix, and Zune library.

I replaced TV for internet for my news information since 2004 .. as for entertainment .. I don't feel that internet is quite yet ready as it is as of today in TV, at least from my point of view

Got rid of Comcast in January. If U-Verse was available in my current house, I'd go back to them as I enjoyed the whole home dvr and other features. However, I am doing just fine with only locals as 90% of the content I want is available online. I would go as far to say that if certain cable channels offered live HD streaming, I'd pay a few bucks a month for that a la carte. While free, ESPN3 and the NBC Sunday Night Football broadcasts are good examples of how this can work.

I have both cable and broadband. I use a combination of both to watch video. I do like being able to stream video onto my tv from my computer though. I just don't do it all the time.

Getting rid of AT&T U-Verse in January. They cost WAY more than they are worth, and they want honestly take away several of my favorite channels. HELL NO! Sportcenter, HGTV, and Food Channel can be found on-line. With Netflix, my family could cut down the bill by over $100 a month!

Im going through this situation right now.. I love my Netflix and i would rather have a DVR that just records the current free to air HD local channels. I have an SD DirectTV DVR (looks awful on a HD TV) but to step up to HD DVR they want more money (cost of HD DVR & Step up in monthly cost just to HD Programming) but have increased my monthly bill as much as $20 over the last few years forcing me to step down in programming to save money. Im not huge about TV but the few things i want to watch id like to record them to watch in my own time.

I plan to this month as I've just gotten sick of paying for 500 channels I don't watch while a few channels I would like to have cost extra. If I could pick what channels I got and only pay for those I would be happy but I'm not paying for crap I don't want anymore. The last hurdle was getting espn3 and now that it's on xbox I have no need for cable.

I am 26 and actually find that the majority of things I want to watch are on local stations. I use an antenna to get my tv. If I actually had shows that I just had to watch and the internet had them somewhere to watch legally, I would cut the cable. But I think people overlook anttena as a competitor to cable or sat.