Cord Cutting Is About Choice, Not Price

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It seems a number of people are going about the whole cord cutting thing wrong.

Just because streaming TV is marketed as an alternative to traditional cable and satellite services, that's not to say you should just go about your cord cutting business the same way you did before. TV consumption has now changed, and that also means we, the viewers, need to change our habits too.

Here we will look to clear up some of the more common misconceptions about cord cutting, and to avoid beating around the bush – let's start with the biggest one.

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Cord cutting is NOT about price

If you think you going to save massively on cord cutting then you might be disappointed. Might is crucial here as how much you save all depends on how much TV you want.

Like anything, the more TV you want, the more you'll have to pay for it. So, if you subscribe to EVERY channel you had through your cable package then you are likely to pay around the same amount.

It's not rocket science – you're paying the same for the same. The way in which you access content is irrelevant. It is the same amount of content and so it's not going to be massively cheaper one way or the other.

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Arguably, you may even find cable is a little cheaper considering the provider might be able to shave a few cents here and there due to the channel bundling deals they make with networks and studios. Although that's not taking into account any of the nasty additional charges, fees and taxes some companies seem to routinely sneak into bills.

Cord cutting IS about choice

This neatly leads us to the main point people seem to forget when drawing like-for-like comparisons. While you might not save loads when comparing identical channel lineups, that's not the same as saying you can't save.

For example, how many channels from your cable subscription do you actually watch? This question is key as the chances are high many people only watch a fraction of the channels they pay for.

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That's not your fault, it's the fault of cable as these companies play a 'numbers game' with consumers.

DEAL: For only x amount each month you get access to 185 channels.

Sounds great, right? After all, you are getting a lot for one payment. But if you don't need as much of a lot, then that one payment starts to look like the real "a lot."

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Yes, you might be able to downgrade your cable package, slightly, but the room you have to negotiate with is minimal. You will only downsize the price a little and the cable company will decide what channels you get in return. It will ultimately be their choice what you have and what you pay. Not yours.

That's not how cord cutting works. The power is completely in your hands instead and almost to the point where you can chop and choose exactly which networks you want to subscribe to. More importantly, ONLY pay for those networks that you do want.

This is where the real savings can be had. If you subscribe to a package from a cable or satellite company then you will be told what networks you have access to. When it comes to baseline plans/packages/bundles it won't matter if you don't want access to 50-percent of the channels you get as the baseline packages are non-negotiable. The only negotiation you have is to add more networks at even higher prices.

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If you take the cord cutting approach instead, you can build out the network selection you want and starting with the network/channels you watch most and then adding on the others. Soon enough you'll have a rich variety of networks that are included and entirely based on your needs.

In other words, a channel lineup of the channels you DO watch. A channel lineup that's customized by you, for you.

By taking the approach of only paying for you watch, most people will find they save, and some will find they save a lot.

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Cable's whole approach to date has been built on the premise that if you want this, you'll have to pay for that as well. In some cases it might be at the channel level where you pay for channels you don't want to access channels you do want, but in other cases it is even more restricting. For example when companies want you to also get your internet and phone from them before they can offer you a good price on the TV you want.

But one payment is easier than many

This is true. One payment is certainly easier than many, and there's no escape from that. If you want greater control of what you pay for then you'll have to take greater control of how you pay – by paying more companies, individually.

To stick with cable just because one payment is less than many you will also be shifting the power from your hands back to the provider's. They will dictate to you how much you have to spend each month, how many channels you get, and even the devices you can use to access the content. Your entire viewing experience will be dictated to you by what's best for the company.

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For reference, one payment is also easier for the cable companies. So not only are you shifting all the power to them, but you're also making it easier for them in the long-term as well.

How can that be a better deal than you being in control of your own TV experience?

But, but, but…

Stop it. Here's the bottom line:

If you honestly do not see the benefit of having control of the channels you are subscribed to AND having control of the amount of money you have to pay out each month, then cord cutting is not for you.

If you are happy to be tied down to lengthy contracts, to pay equipment charges you no longer need to pay for, to be forced into a packages that locks you out from also choosing aspects like your internet provider, then stick to cable.

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Editor-in-Chief

John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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