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  • Thrive Detroit

Do you really need cable TV?

Television has come a long way in its more than 80 year history.  Originally devised as a way to keep your attention long enough to sell you dish soap and CoCo Puffs, television is beginning to outgrow its original purpose and become more about pure entertainment  and less about how companies can use it for advertising.

The idea of mom, dad, and 2.5 children gathering around the “ tele” for an evening of fun is fast becoming obsolete.  Today we have DVR’s, HDTV, 3DTV and a thousand other acronyms that separate us from the simple Cathode ray tubes that used to grace the average living room.

Not only have our televisions themselves changed drastically but HOW we enjoy broadcast content.  Watching network broadcasts of shows is quickly becoming a thing of the past for many viewers as we become more and more accustomed to watching what we want, when we want, no commercials.

“TV” is now available on computers, smartphones, tablets; almost anything with a screen. The evolution of television almost makes having a paid cable subscription redundant.

Cable and satellite companies are slowly addressing  the trend toward streaming by allowing some content on demand, but the selection of these services at best only match what you can already get online; nothing new there. Cable companies have yet to see the handwriting on the wall and put their on demand capabilities at the forefront instead burying them behind layers of unintuitive menus.

If you generally do all of your viewing on less than six or seven channels  or better yet; If you find yourself leaning more towards catching your favorite shows online and less towards channel surfing, it may make sense for you to cut the cord and give up cable altogether.  Free yourself from the need to have 100 plus channels “just in case” you MAY want to watch something on them one day.  We’re creatures of habit and you will more than likely continue to view the channels you’re habituated to.

Switching to an all online viewing experience does not relegate you to viewing shows and movies on your tiny laptop or smartphone screen.  Services like Netflix Streaming and Hulu are available to watch on a number of devices that connect to your television including Playstation 3, Xbox360, Roku, and Apple T.V.  All of these include HD streaming of your favorite shows and movies directly to your Television for as low as $7.99/month, a lot less than the average cable subscription.

These devices also include video services that allow you to purchase or rent shows and movies for about $2-$3 per episode if they are not already on Netflix or Hulu.

If you are a sports fan all of the major sports allow you to watch entire seasons live online or on demand via services like MLB.TV, NFL Rewind, and NBA League Pass.  Prices vary from about $30-$160 per season depending on your sport of choice.

For the thriftier sports fans among us you can watch almost any sports broadcast online on sites like and for free, but be prepared to sacrifice some quality if you do.

Giving up your cable may seem hard at first, you may miss out on some networks that don’t yet allow you to watch online, but that list is getting increasingly smaller as time goes by.  In the long run it can save you a lot of money and give you the freedom to watch on almost any device with a screen and an internet connection.

The more serious couch potatoes may want to stick with their cable package, but for the average viewer there are more than enough options online to keep us entertained, and the selection is only getting bigger with time.

If you want to cut the cord but can’t stand the thought of missing out on your favorite shows in real time you’ll have to pay a little to get specific shows, but overall you’ll still come out cheaper than paying $50-$100 a month for a cable subscription.

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