The death of cable television

Troy Wilkinson

It’s about time that cable gets kicked to the curb.

The horrid customer service (as shown by Comcast especially), exorbitant prices and poor quality should have been enough to keep cable from succeeding but somehow the industry continued to rise in subscribers up until 2012. Most everyone that has used cable television knows most providers are horrendously slow and those who’re sticking with cable just accept it as a norm. I’ve heard (and personally experienced) plenty stories of cable providers, like Comcast, hiking up customer’s rates for no respectable reason. Often cable fails to do its job; the cable channel guide won’t correctly display what’s playing or the recorder won’t record what it’s been told to.

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There are better alternatives that don’t try to undermine their customer’s trust, and thankfully the market is starting to realize that. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video and even the cable network’s websites surpass the quality of cable providers by leaps and bounds. Online and instant video services are far more convenient than trying to watch a show through a cable box; they’re quicker, more accessible and there are even less advertisements.

The wounded animal that is cable television  is about to be delivered its finishing blow from HBO. The internet has slowly been chipping away at cable television, but for one extremely popular network, HBO, a cable subscription was required. Only recently, though, HBO has announced that its online streaming website will be available independently. For those television watchers that have been holding onto cable in order to watch HBO shows like Game of Thrones, the option of cutting the cable cord is now available.

Geoffrey Fowler, a writer from the Wall Street Journal, cut his cable mid-June of this year and turned his television bill from about $200 to $70. He saves upwards of $100 a month and that’s before HBO’s stand alone service. Fowler also talks about cable providers offering an option of paying a lot less for a smaller section of cable, like just one network, for a lot less.

Why choose this option, though?

Cable is so ingrained into American society that it seems to be a staple of the household, even though its quality is so poor. Paying for cable in order to watch the few shows is essentially paying for hundreds of other shows that go unwatched, plenty of shows that probably don’t have much merit to begin with. Keeping cable for just one section of television is wasteful and unintelligent – just cut it altogether to save money. It’s all about voting with your wallet, by continuing to pay for cable you’re supporting a backwards, horrid system.

Cable television is an inefficient, flawed beast that has been supported by society because it’s been accepted as a societal norm. This needs not be the case for the future, alternatives are a plenty and there’s no possibility of being roped into paying for it just to watch one specific show anymore. Cable is on its way out and it’s about time.

Collegian Columnist Troy Wilkinson can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter by @Blumitts.