“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”
― Douglas Adams
Nope, not wanting to hear your birth stories ladies.
The cord I'm referring to here is not umbilical in nature (though come to think of it, some may disagree)... I'm talking about cutting the cable TV cord. Though many people heavily rely on television as their main source of news and entertainment, many more (myself included) are sick of paying $60, $80... or even more per month for cable TV service. When trying to reign in monthly expenses, or even just streamline life a bit, cutting the cable is a great place to start.
So, how to embark on this wonderful new cable-free life? Keep reading...
I'm sure a lot of you will have heard of services like Netflix, Crave TV or even Hulu. These are streaming services, meaning that they deliver video content (TV shows, movies, documentaries) via the internet, whereas cable delivers it via ... you got it... that cable that runs from your Rogers or Bell box to your TV (the one you are paying $60++ for each month). The idea of cutting the cable is simply that you cancel your subscription for your cable TV service, and rely instead on an internet based service like Netflix.
Netflix is a streaming video service. Streaming is a way of delivering content (say a TV show) to a digital device (say an iPad or even directly to your Smart TV). Streaming delivers the show a bit at a time. Think of it like an actual stream, the content (TV show) flowing scenes onto your iPad and then off of it. Streaming services require an active internet connection because the TV show you are 'streaming' is being delivered bit-by-bit from Netflix (and their computers) to you via your iPad, TV or computer (along the internet). And because the data from the TV show flows onto your device, then off again as you watch, there is no need to worry about the show taking up 'space' on your iPad. Nothing is stored on your iPad (or computer/ iPhone ... whatever device you happen to be using).
Compare this with another term you have likely heard: downloading. When you download a TV show, the data from that show is physically stored on the hard drive on your device, so it does take up space. The benefit of this is that you don't need an internet connection to watch the show. Great for if you are going to the cottage (assuming there is no wifi at the cottage.... please tell me you don't have wifi at your cottage!), or if you are on a plane.
Long winded explanation of streaming vs. downloading, but I hope it was helpful.
Back to Netflix and their streaming service. So Netflix allows you to watch unlimited TV shows or movies for one monthly price (at time of posting it is between $8 - $12/month depending on the package you choose).
As I mentioned at the top of this post, there are other streaming services around, they each have their own list of shows and trial offers, I encourage you to check them all out and see which one suits you best. You may have heard of Hulu as well. Hulu is a US-based subscription service that competes with Netflix, not yet available in Canada.
Speaking of Netflix, for those Suits lovers have a look at this picture... look familiar?
Yup, it is indeed the lobby of the building where Harvey Specter and wunderkind Mike Ross have their offices. Manhattan? Nope, our fair city of Toronto is where the show is actually filmed, none other than the lovely Bay Adelaide Centre. Many an evening I have strolled by and seen them shooting lobby scenes, with of course a big crowd of onlookers, especially when Harvey is in the scene. For the super Suits fan, click here to be redirected to a Torontoist article that details the many scenes shot in downtown TO.
Ok, back to Netflix. For those of you not familiar with the service, I'd say try it out. They offer a one month no-obligation trial. There is no contract and you can cancel any time. You do have to create an account and offer a method of payment, but they won't charge you until after your free month is over so it gives you lots of time to try it out and see if it's for you.
For those of you that are uncomfortable using your credit card online, you're certainly not alone! It took me a while before I found a comfortable balance between the convenience of online shopping and security. I'll share some of my solutions in a future post.
Just a word of caution. If you do end up loving Netflix (or Crave) and start binge watching be sure to check to make sure you don't go over your monthly data allowance from your Internet provider. To take a minute to explain: if you have internet in your home (either wired directly to your computer, or wireless in the form of wifi) then you pay a company like Bell or Rogers for that service. Monthly packages usually start at around $40/month and go up from there depending on the package you select (which ultimately depends on your internet usage). If you start to stream videos from Netflix your internet usage will go up, and if you go beyond the monthly allowance / package they will charge you an overage fee, which can get pricey. If you are new to Netflix, it's a good idea to call your internet service provider about a week in and ask them how much you have used to date, then you can adjust your package as needed. When people 'cut the cord' they often will need to increase the size of their internet package -- but upping your internet package by $10 or $20/month is almost always less expensive than what you were paying for cable.
Next time: part 2 of cutting the cord, What's old is new again (think rabbit ears).
That's all for now,
PS - Have a question about something in the blog? Have an idea for a future blog post? Post a comment in the comment section below.
Here are links to the different streaming services I mentioned. Click on the name below to be redirected to their website:
Here a couple of articles on the topic of Cutting the Cord. Click the link to be redirected to the article: