Cutting the Cord

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Have you heard the expression “Cutting the Cord”?

It used to mean finally letting go of your children and allowing them to live their lives in the adult world without you interfering. But if you Google it today, you’ll get a completely different meaning.

In today’s lexicon, “cutting the cord” refers to getting rid of your cable TV provider and signing up for individual streaming services, like Netflix or Hulu. Those services, along with Paramount Plus, Disney Plus and others, are available for a monthly fee. You can even stream premium cable networks like Showtime, HBO and others.

Many are “cutting the cord” with cable, retaining only their Internet service, allowing access to all available streaming services. I’ve spoken to several people who have done this, and they all sing the same song, “It’s great!”

Based on their viewing habits, watching “Live” TV has never been a priority. With the advent of the DVR (replacing the VCR), I can’t say when I last watched any show on the date and time new episodes appeared. There are just too many commercials. Although I still call it taping a show, recording it on your DVR allows you to watch it at your leisure while zipping through those annoying commercials.

Sports are a different story. I’m that guy that taped games (when necessary) and avoided social interactions because I didn’t want to find out the score. Watching a sporting event when I already know who won doesn’t work for me.

Total disclosure—in addition to my monthly Verizon FIOS bill, I also subscribe to many of these streaming services. I enjoy the original programming offered. They entice you with their low monthly subscription prices, like $9.99, $12.99 or $14.99. But those services start to add up month after month.

However, there is one thing individual streaming services can’t give you that our generation perfected with the invention of the remote control—channel surfing.

Is there anything better than grabbing the remote and surfing through channels every five seconds? I’m constantly switching channels during commercial breaks. Every April, I could watch parts of different hockey and baseball games using my trusty remote on the same night. You can’t do that with individual streaming services.

Switching between services is not as easy as just changing the channel. You can’t switch between shows on Hulu and Netflix without exiting one service and entering another. I don’t have to enter my password most times, but sometimes I do. At least, when watching a TV series, the service keeps track of where I left off.

I’m not a fan of “binge-watching.” I liked it when shows had cliffhangers that held my interest until next week. Sunday night TV was incredibly eventful when watching shows like DexterBreaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Now I can watch complete seasons of Ozark or Cobra-Kai on a single weekend (if I wanted to).
With so many different options, I have problems making a final decision. For me, too many options mean I can’t make up my mind, even when trying to pick a movie from the “On Demand” menu. It’s so much easier to channel surf and find something I’m comfortable with.

It’s like choosing between a sit-down restaurant or a buffet. A restaurant provides you with choices on a menu. You select a meal, and your waiter personally delivers it to your table­—appetizer, followed by soup or salad, then the entrée, ending with a dessert.

With a buffet, you never know where to start. You end up piling things on a single plate you would never eat in combinations, just because you can. When finished, instead of being satisfied, you didn’t enjoy anything because you overate.

Do you know what would be great? If you had all those streaming channels available in one place where you could use your remote to switch between all the different shows.

Oh wait, isn’t that what your cable provider does for you?

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