Like many people my age (37 years old) with a couple of young children (Alex, age 5 and Brett, age 2) I have begun to do grown up things like create a will, buy life insurance, and invest for my family's future (college, vacations, investments/nest egg, etc.). Accordingly, I have begun looking more closely at our monthly and annual expenses as part of the process. This has truly been an eye opening experience and one of the family expenses that jumped out at me was the amount of our cable bill.
Much like the first time I bought a legitimate mattress, it is somewhat shocking to see what Cable services run these days. Removing broadband/internet/wireless service from the equation, I am still paying over $150/month for cable television services! But here is the real kicker'?¦I can hardly remember the last time I watched something significant on TV:
- Superbowl - at a local bar/restaurant
- Masters Golf - ESPN3.com
- Olympics/World Cup Soccer - various online sites
- NHL Stanley Cup - bar, NHL GameCenter Live, in-person (Go Flyers!!)
- Cable Shows (non-network) - HULU, NetFlix
- Various other Video Content- Wii, Droid, NetFlix, YouTube
I am sure there are people out there that watch a lot of TV and have the time and schedules to allow them to watch it in real time when the latest episodes air. I am not one of these people. I am often not awake late enough to watch the shows I would like to, and my schedule never allows me to be in front of a TV when I want to be... Accordingly, I am usually a season or two or three behind with the top shows. Additionally, my kids watch mostly DVD's and instant content from NetFlix (over the Wii or BluRay player). In fact my five (5) year old pesters me to watch Scooby Doo and Batman episodes on my Droid or family computer over YouTube incessantly. So basically it is my wife who utilizes our cable services the most. This is not a negative statement, just a fact when I consider my family. Having said that, even she only watches a few, albeit bad, television shows'?¦The Bachelor/Bachelorrette, Keeping up with the Kardashians, and the like.
With all the press around ipTV and content becoming more and more available over the internet and through multiple hardware platforms, I am seriously considering downsizing my cable bill to the bare minimum. Everyday there is news of Netflix and YouTube gaining additional rights and ability to share content. More and more content providers are creating consumer direct content solutions'?¦ they can make more selling direct to consumers online than the small stipend from cable companies that re-sell the content. Maybe my television is not actually a television anymore, but in fact a large computer screen.