Are you replacing pay TV with Internet options?

With other options such as Hulu and Amazon Prime giving customers the ability to stream on-demand, do we care about paying for cable TV anymore? Last year we reported that 20% of Netflix streaming customers have already cut the cord and the number is expected to grow and today we told you that ABC is making it more difficult to stream shows from their website.

Back in 2010, we asked a simple question: Are you replacing cable TV with Internet options? Back then, 25% of respondents said that they had already cut the cord, although the sample size was relatively small. We've even seen threads in our own forums discussing the pros/cons of making the switch. It's now 2014, and we want to know how the numbers have changed. Let us know how (if?) you consume regular television, movies, and sports, and provide some tips for those who may be considering the switch but are still too timid.

Poll

Do you still use pay TV services?

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Report: PS4 outsold Xbox One during 2013 in UK

Next Story

Apple denies involvement in NSA eavesdropping on iPhone users

59 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I have never payed for TV and have always just used the local Over the Air channels and Netflix, Hulu and more recently Amazon Prime Instant Video.

I recently cut cable but used to PVR and commercial strip it. Now I use mainly streaming, and archive it in case it will disappear, although I PVR atsc and free to air shows and strip the commercials because it's usually higher quality or they aren't available on streaming. I also trade shows with friends who do the same.

For those americans that aren't already aware you can get NFL, NHL, NBA and other sports in an online subscription (HD streaming) via their website or an app, no need to have a cable subscription for most popular sports now.

Youview in the uk (free to air channels inc HD via iptv) is a great way of watching tv and will hopefully will be getting more pay tv channels added next year to compete with sky and virgin (pretty much the only 2 tv subscription companies). You can get 2nd hand youview boxes for £60 off ebay with a 320gb hdd, much cheaper than freeview hd and no aerial needed, just decent broadband speed.

Just have basic cable for local channels and even then only watch in the morning for news and for live sports. I'd cut the tv cord if I could get decent reception, but unfortunately I can't get OTA.

internet video drives me nuts, WAY too many ads... why should I have to watch a 30 second commercial for a 20 second video clip just to watch another 30 second commercial before another short clip?..... They seem to find ways to inject ad's way more into internet video streams then tv could ever handle...

and OTA sucks since we went 100% digital broadcast, where I am at we use to get 15+ local channels via analog, when they went digital broadcast the signals got weaker and I get a whole 1 now

Been cable free for over 3½ years and I'm doing just fine. Especially considering the fact that I now have Google Fiber and download speeds are now a non-factor, it's alllllll good.

The ONLY thing I miss is sports, particularly the NBA. I still use an HD antenna for local channels, but the NBA is poorly represented there (remember NBA on NBC? *sadface*).

Would love to cut the cord. Most of the TV shows i watch are available streaming. Biggest issue is live sports, and I watch a lot of live sports. So for now, cutting the cord is a non-starter.

I still pay for tv services, but it isnt as much as most people, I work for dish network and get everything they have to offer except for the equipment which i have the sling hopper and a joey with the dvr services. which is like 30$ after taxes, but i also reffered 3 people and am now paying around 17.xx$ for service. I love it the hopper is awesome. But if i had to pay full price i wouldnt have tv. I would online services like netflix or torrent sites for everything else.

I will cut the cord as soon as HGTV is fully accessible in an easy format for my fiancée. She loves it and is the only reason we have cable.

The good thing about cable is I can always find good shows I never heard of/watched before and I am introduced into something new. It is just like buying things online vs at BestBuy.
The prices are a bit expansive but it is still nice to go browse/flip through products/channels instantly.

I got rid of cable TV like year and half ago and i'm pretty happy about, since i just go to that channels website that i normally watch, an watch everything for free. So no need for netflix or hulu etc.

I've not paid for TV since Freeview/FreeSat came out in the UK. A handful of free (near) HD channels is good enough for me. The switch to sky might happen if UK ISPs get any tougher on bandwidth and content lock downs.

I got Netflix on a free trial and haven't cancelled it yet. As long as my girlfriend claims to use it, then I will keep it running.

I don't fancy paying per episode, but I would favour any HD pay-monthly-no-term-subscription model if the shows were released the same/next day (like Breaking Bad was on Netflix).

OTA HD for Local-Network TV, NFL, & NBA, Old Series on sub channels.
Netflix
iTunes or Xbox video for my Investigation Discovery Network shows and Walking Dead

We do pay for bskyb.

So when my team are playing and it's not on T.V. I watch it on the internet.

I only watch news or sport on T.V. anyways!

Voted other. Some of the family uses the TV (but they only use between 7 or 8 channels, ever). I never watch it, EVER. Just wait for things like Adventure Time to arrive on youtube etc...

I miss network TV (2,4,5,7,9,11,13,28) back in the 80s and 90s, NOTHING compared (for us SoCal folks).

Those are some of the only channels I watch at home (rarely at that) and at work during lunch. Otherwise Netflix and Amazon Prime for me. Heck, even South Park lets you stream in HD goodness.

For most sites relying on stupid flash players I use the Photon Web browser on my iPad. It works best when you turn on the pop-up blocker otherwise some streaming sites insist on spitting 5 pop-ups until you see content. This + Apple TV = bliss.

Still prefer my cable, too many good features and conveniences to pass up. (Never mind it drives my broadband and phones.) I do run a Plex server here though, since the cable uses a central DVR that hits every TV in the house anyway, I can stream via Plex to every TV as well, super convenient. Had Netflix for a while, but didn't make enough use of it to justify it.

I have been wanting to cut the cable for years but my wife did not want to. Now she is ok with the idea but I still haven't because I am sure what I want to do. I only randomly flip through channels but mostly like watching History, Discover and if I had it National Geographic. I also watch a few NFL games and lots of College Football games. My wife watches TV shows although lately she is so busy she can't keep up with them anyway. Right now we have Dish at $55 per month.

From what I have read. Netflix has older seasons of TV shows and Hulu has newer seasons of TV shows. Since we have not been keeping up with TV shows I think we would need both to watch all seasons to catch up.

What options are available for History, Discover, National Geographic or similar channels?

I am thinking about doing OTA for local, giving up sports unless it is on local channels, and doing Netflix and/or Hulu. I have a PC hooked up to the TV and ready to go. Right now the PC is used for our media.

Any advice?

Billy, good questions, I am in the same spot as you. Keep me posted. We're looking at getting a decent HD OVA Antenna for local and the Roku box.

Hey Billy,
Thanks for typing all that out for me! In same boat as you also. Wife has FINALLY thought about dumping cable and finding alternatives. Cable is about worthless, unless you subscribe to everything, and then, I still wouldn't call it a "value package"

I'm not a tv watcher and probably wouldn't own a tv, if it wasn't for the wife. When I do watch tv, it's mostly the same channels as you listed also.

I know some one will chime in here as to what might be the cheapest/best way of doing this!

Will be following this topic.

I did some research for OTA a while ago and from what I remember is that there are some websites that can tell you what your reception would be like and if you are likely to get OTA at your location. There is also a difference if you have an antenna thirty feet in the air, on the roof, under the roof, or right by the TV. Despite the results the website gives you it is suggested to search for other people who have OTA in your location and see what their results are. Here are two websites I binged.

http://antennaweb.org/address.aspx
http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/dtvmaps/

For my location I only get good results if I have a thirty foot antenna. Unfortunately I do not want that so I I will not be getting local channels. I still need to find some people from my area with experience to see if it is possible with an antenna on the roof or under the roof.

BillyJack said,
I did some research for OTA a while ago... Here are two websites I binged.

You, sir, win the internet for the day, for saying "binged". Congratulations.

Unable to get rid of Dish satellite cause of two big reasons - #1 the wife watches a ton of shows and such that she just wouldn't be able to lose unless we were both out of the job and #2 I watch a ton of college football games and they are mostly ONLY on ESPN and unless my ISP (Comcast) allowed me to stream watch ESPN from my paid very expensive cable internet bill account then I'd have to stay on Dish to enjoy those games. I'm just barely on the edge of being able to get some OTA channels for locals so if it came down to it I could throw up a large antenna and get them. Just don't see cutting anything off at this point.

I still have satellite TV, only because my 75 year old mom who lives with me insists on it. Over $100 a month so she can have background noise is a bit expensive IMO, but she's paying for it, so . . .

Otherwise I'd just use Netflix plus the occasional XBox Live Season Pass for current stuff. $20/mo for Netflix plus $30-$40 each for the entire season of three shows I actually watch is a much better deal.

I don't own a TV anymore and I rarely watch anything at the minute. Everything I do watch is acquired via the old PC. Although, sometimes I do stream films / Tom & Jerry through some apps on my Lumia 1020.

Think I will grab a TV when me and the other half inevitably get a flat together. Even then, I'll probably just stream to it, I'm contemplating picking up a PS3 this year, so that can act as the middleman.

Got rid of satellite TV after less than a year. Now have Netflix + a subscription to a website that shows all the NHL games.

$70 month cut to like $15.

I would cut the cord if I could watch live tv on netflix. To me the that is the only thing holding me back from doing so

I have cable, but it's not plugged in basically have it to save money ISP wants me to pay $70 a month for just internet or 50 for both cable and internet makes a lot of sense right.

Geoffrey B. said,
i marked as cut cable, even though i have never had cable service. I use the internet for all of our entertainment needs.

That's a good point -- many people (especially younger ones) have never had pay TV.

I personally don't use cable but my wife and daughter need it. For €10 a month we get 70 channels including movies, so it doesn't really bother me to pay for it! I personally get everything I need from the Internet, but now with work and spending time with family I only get to watch one hour of TV a day and a movie or two at the weekend!

My wife is not PC savvy and couldn't possible use it to watch TV, she can't even use Windows at all. She can use the Xbox, but there is no Netflix where I live, so the Xbox is only good for YouTube which is no TV replacement.

Netflix, Hulu, Online TV and Amazon Video, sometimes Xbox Video

i also replaced over-the-air Radio with Xbox Music

Yup, I cut my satellite provider and now I can save a lot of money. Currently I use: Netflix when I need to watch movies. Digital antenna Tv channel when I need to watch local tv channels. Finally YouTube when I need to watch some videos from people I subscribed. I noticed a big difference in money savings and better options.

I have Sky where I live but have found that I rarely use it - in fact the only things I've watched on it in recent months were Formula 1, and episodes of Star Trek on SyFy - which I already own on DVD! I have however been using Netflix a **** load!

I'm shortly about to move house and needless to say Sky will not be getting reinstated - just the fastest broadband I can afford! Kudos to Netflix!

Still use Sky for local channels but 99% of the time we either use Netflix or Plex through Apple TV's in every room. Also use Apple TV youtube as a video jukebox for my man cave when playing pool with mates around. If it wasn't for a few select british shows we would ditch the sky box totally.

I haven't paid for cable in over 15 years. I was never actually able to find enough to watch regularly to justify the cost so I've been on a terrestrial antenna and streaming for a long time.

Still use Sky TV here as it is the only reliable way I can get TV. Freeview signal was ok when I first got it, but when they switched off the analogue signal in my area I began getting a lot more noise/interference. Have a decent ADSL connection, but Internet steaming just doesn't seem reliable enough for frequent use yet.

Besides, I watch a lot more sport than I used to now and as far as I know none of it is available via (legal) streaming options.

I cut the TV part of the cable when the transition to HD happened in Canada. My cable provider's HD services would not work with my home grown HTPC without a ton of pain on my part so I switched to an OTA Antenna. I use OTT services such as Netflix and Xbox video to augment my families viewing habits. We have Xboxes and Rokus in addition to OTA on 3 TVs in the house. Canadian TV providers are also experimenting with the web access prove you have a cable package first ordeal. #notimpressed

I mainly use Netflix, Hulu, Youtube and other streaming services. I have been doing so for the last 4 years. TV is pretty expensive in Denmark. It cost ~ $1100 dollars annually and on top of that everyone has to pay something called "Media License" which costs about $900 annually.

That is a $2000 dollars a year for TV. I don't want any part of that. I can spend a fraction of that on Internet streaming sites and use the rest of the money on better things.

Had Sky but moved to Virgin. I never watched it anyway, was more for the missus. Cancelled Virgin when all we watched was Cbeebies channel which is free on Freeview anyway. Started using NetFlix and stuck with it since. Use it on my computer, phone, PS3, Wii U and Chromecast around the house. I have a grudge against Sky for having a monopoloy on UK TV anyway so I am glad to see they are losing customers!

I cancelled my Sky tv subscription (pay satellite tv) a while back.. and while it was a right pullava to cancel and they still send me letters and call me periodically to try and win me back.... It was definitely the right decision.

I bought a free to air satellite box and I barely switch it on. I only put it on when I have company. All of my show watching is done through DVD or Blu Ray, and occasionally over the internet.

I pretty much had exactly the same experience, telling them I was moving overseas was the only way I could cancel my subscription. Use free sat and Netfix.

Considering my pay-TV provider (Comcast) is also my ISP, not only no, but HECK no. What I have done is maximize my options by doing several things:

1. Upgraded the cable modem to DOCSIS 3.0 - even at the average speed, it's more bandwidth than the household normally uses.

2. Replaced the single-band N router with a dual-band N router. The two smart TVs support being streamed to wirelessly - because the wireless router can cover the entire house, I can always stream content to them. Even better, the wireless leg is from the router to each TV - my computer is connected to the router via wired gigabit.

3. Replaced two standard-definition STBs with TiVo Premieres (the 500GB model that was replaced in the lineup with the Roamio last year). Because they replaced STBs, I don't get whacked with outlet fees; because I did all the installation legwork, the CableCARD itself is free. The only quibble is that because I did NOT purchase the Tivo wireless adapter, when I want to check for firmware upgrades, I have to physically move the TiVo to the router. (Still, it's a quibble - dealing with it is easy.) During 2014, the remaining STBs (and two DTAs) in the house will likely be replaced with Roamios.

4. No subscription TV at all - all my channels are either basic or extended-basic. Still, that's a ton of programming I have access to - both standard AND HD.

Nice!! I love it when people take any opportunity to brag about all their geeky goods! :-) I am the same way, have to stop myself sometimes.

Not quiet the setup you have but otherwise I have a very similar setup (Two TVs... one with cable + blueray + netflix + Prime... other with cable + chromecast).

The main difference is we still pay for cable ONLY because the extra cost (internet vs internet + basic) is $15 - and that includes HBO. We dropped down from HD + a stack of pay channels (I think the package had everything but skin'e'max). The only reason we had THAT package was a "new customer" deal that we called to cancel every year when the price ballooned and they capitulated every time (eventually).

Basic cable is worth it at $15/month... but not much more than that.

I cut the cable. I used to have Sky TV before I moved, and chose not to move my Sky subscription. I have a Freeview HD+ box which basically acts as a Tivo for free-to-view TV channels in the UK, and also have a Netflix account for my on-demand needs (on the odd occasion they have what I want).

I found that Sky (and related pay TV services) are mostly just repeats now, and I don't really have much chance to watch TV anymore anyway, so it's just £300 per year in my pocket, rather than BskyB's.

I wouldn't say you've 'cut the cord' if you're still viewing terrestrial TV.
Although it's not "corded" as such, it's still the traditional way of receiving TV rather than a pure Internet stream.

I agree with your post though. I cut off Sky a while back because i was paying a fortune to watch ads pretty much. Now i use Freeview, catchup and Netflix in combination and couldn't be much happier. Same goes for my wallet.

MikeChipshop said,
I wouldn't say you've 'cut the cord' if you're still viewing terrestrial TV.

D'oh, you're totally right, I missed the option for "traditional and streaming". Guess that's what I get for answering the poll before my first caffeine intake of the day

Actually I think you answered correctly. The 'Traditional' in the second question has to be taken in the context of the first as it was not clarified. So should have read 'Traditional Pay TV service' as in the first question. If it meant 'Traditional Free to Air Service' then it should have been worded as such.

You are no longer using Traditional Pay TV so therefore you choose correctly.

I have done exactly the same thing. Just paid a one of price for Freeview HD PVR box and the TV has Netflix built in should I ever need to use it. It just does not make economic sense for people to be paying £20+ as month for free to air channels with 100's of channels they never watch, which is the model here in the UK. I'm glad people are catching up at last.

Edited by Wam7, Jan 2 2014, 1:22pm :

Wam7 said,
Actually I think you answered correctly. The 'Traditional' in the second question has to be taken in the context of the first as it was not clarified. So should have read 'Traditional Pay TV service' as in the first question.

Agreed - that's what I was going for when I made the poll. Thanks!

MikeChipshop said,
I wouldn't say you've 'cut the cord' if you're still viewing terrestrial TV.
Although it's not "corded" as such, it's still the traditional way of receiving TV rather than a pure Internet stream.

Considering the question was "Are you replacing pay TV with Internet options?" then I would say he answered fairly.