Cord-Cutting Is Gonna Suck in 2016, But It’ll Get Better
Earlier this year Dish launched Sling TV, a video streaming service that lets you watch several different television channels, including AMC, the Cartoon Network, and the Food Network, over the internet. But perhaps most importantly, it offers access to the one thing that has been keeping many people from canceling their cable: live sports.
So you cancel your cable TV and sign up for that $20 a month Sling TV package. But then the new season of American Horror Story starts. So you grab that on iTunes for $29.99 a season. You also need a $10-a-month HBO Now subscription for Game of Thrones. You already have an $8-a-month Netflix account, so you can keep watching House of Cards and Jessica Jones, but then you hear that The Man in the High Castle is really good, so you get an Amazon Prime subscription for $99 a year. Before you know it you’re also subscribing to ad-free Hulu for $12 a month because, you know, who needs ads? Now all that HD content is burning through your Comcast data limit. Or maybe didn’t but your internet bill still goes up by $10 and suddenly you’re spending about what you were for cable TV in the first place.
If you’re willing to break the law, you could supplement a meager streaming video service by torrenting pirated copies of your favorite shows. But with the feds cracking down on torrent trackers, that might not be an option for long, even if you’re willing to risk it. Or you could try staggering your subscriptions. Subscribe to HBO Now for for the few months that Game of Thrones is on the air, and then cancel and switch to Hulu. Subscribe to Sling TV in the fall for Monday Night Football, then cancel when football season is over. But that sounds like a hassle.
Such is the plight of the cord cutting couch potato in 2016. It will probably get better. The Federal Communications Commission is looking into Comcast’s data rates. Eventually, the advantage of exclusive deals with specific streaming providers may not be worth it for studios. For example, instead of going exclusive with Netflix, Marvel might make its superhero shows available on Netflix, Hulu and YouTube simultaneously, so you won’t need so many subscriptions.
But it could take years for all that to be worked out. In the meantime, let’s face it: cord-cutting is going to suck in 2016.