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Cord Cutting Isn’t Just About Money: Streaming Services Are Better Than Cable
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view.        Cord Cutting Isn’t Just About Money: Streaming Services Are Better Than Cable
by Justin Pot on July 29th, 2018          Cord cutting is picking up steam. Forecasters are predicting a 33 percent increase in people dropping their cable subscription this year over last—faster than analysts predicted.

You might think this is all about the money, and that’s certainly a big factor. Cable TV bills, after the first year lock-in deals expire, can easily climb above $100 a month. Replacing a cable subscription with Netflix, which costs $14 a month at most, is a quick way to save a little money. And sure, part of that $100+ per month you’re still going to have to pay if you’re keeping your broadband internet. But, even with that, you can still save money cutting the cord.

But cord cutting isn’t just about the money. Depending on how many streaming services you pay for, cord cutting might even be more expensive than cable (especially since you still have to pay for internet access), but people are doing it anyway, because streaming services at this point are better than cable. Here are a few reasons why.

Streaming Services Offer Better User Interfaces
I haven’t had cable since college, back when woolly mammoths roamed the US and Slashdot’s traffic could take down web-servers. Things were straight forward then: you turned on your TV and changed the channel until you found something you wanted to watch.

Modern cable setups are not like this. For one thing, the advent of digital channels has made channel changing slower. Try to flip through channels these days, and you often have to wait a few seconds before each channel actually pops up on the screen.

And yes, modern cable set top boxes try to offer features like interactive guides and searches, but those are often more frustrating than they should be. The guides and other features can be slow to work with, and most show channels you don’t even have access to with no way to filter them out.

Take Verizon’s FIOS offering, for example. One of my coworkers with FIOS reports that it’s so slow that just about every button press takes seconds to respond. Fire up their On Demand interface, and it can take up to 30 seconds to load. And even then, the thumbnails for shows haven’t popped in.

Now, to be fair, some providers do at least try. Comcast’s Xfinity service, for example, actually has a pretty slick interface and a nice feature set—guides that fly in from the right, for example, and let you filter to just the channels you want to see.

Xfinity also has apps that add some functionality, even though they are very few at the moment. You can tie in your Netflix account (but not Hulu or Amazon), pop up a window with sports scores, and that sort of thing. And their voice remote is surprisingly good. You can use it to change channels, adjust settings, and even search for movies, genres, actors, and so on. But even with all that, things are still a little clunky. The interface is a bit sprawling, so things are harder to find than they should be. Button presses can take a while to register (try to pause a show, for example, and you could wait several seconds before it actually happens).

And even Xfinity (which is the best cable TV interface we’ve seen) just doesn’t hold a candle to the interface provided by streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Log in, see the shows you’ve been watching, and then start watching them.

Cable set top boxes also pale in comparison to the utility of steaming set top boxes like Roku, Fire TV, or Apple TV. For one, the streaming boxes have access to way more streaming content providers. But they also have interfaces that are much simpler and more powerful. Roku, for example, has access to thousands of different channels, but still makes everything very easy to access and search.

In the end, cord cutting isn’t just cheaper than cable (usually). It’s a better solution all around.

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