Saving thousands of dollars per year is a big reason to cut the cord. Cutting the cord is a general term for those that want to watch TV on their own schedule, without having to deal with a cable company or satellite provider. There are those of us who only need a few channels that are still provided free via over the air digital signal.
Tapping into that free signal is as easy as buying a good HDTV antenna. But I wanted to go to the source and learn from someone in the industry about cutting the cord. Grant Whipple, Director of Sales at TV antenna maker Winegard, sent me several great answers and an infographic, on how to cut the cord while still being able to enjoy your favorite shows.
1. What is “cutting the cord?” Can you explain this trend, and what it means for the future of how we watch TV?
We keep hearing the term “cutting the cord” these days because it’s a movement that is really gaining traction. It is when pay-TV subscribers cancel their cable or satellite subscriptions, and turn towards other cost-effective ways to watch TV like streaming services, set-top boxes, and over-the-air HD antennas. For example, the NPD Group says the average pay-TV subscription is about $86 dollars a month. That number is expected to go up to $200 bucks by 2020.
That’s a lot of cash for most people- especially when they don’t even watch the dozens of channels bundled into an average cable package. A new report from Nielsen found that American TV viewers now watch only 9% of the channels available to them.
We’ll be seeing more folks cut the cord in the near future. Morgan Stanley reports that 1 in 10 pay-TV subscribers say they’ll ditch their cable this year. There are more and more ways to watch TV, and content providers are even catering towards cord-cutters, too. Take the new Comedy Central app, and some of the older HBO shows, which are now on Amazon.
2. Who are cord-cutters?
A cord-cutter can be anyone, really. Saving money, and choosing their own programs a-la-carte is appealing to most people. However, many of our cord-cutting customers are younger and Internet-savvy. The millennial generation want to watch TV on their own time, without program schedules, and they’ve been exposed more to watch TV via the Internet.
Experian’s fascinating report found that nearly one-fifth of Americans who watch streaming services, like Netflix, don’t subscribe to cable. In addition, a quarter of young adults (that’s anywhere from 18-years-old to 34) who use Netflix don’t pay for TV. Plus, younger TV viewers like to check out their favorite programs across many devices- smartphones, iPads, computers, and so on.
3. How can people still watch their favorite shows? Do you have any tips on how to get started?
There are many ways to get content and new cord-cutter tools are constantly coming out. Before cutting the cord, I advise my customers to keep a diary of their viewing habits. This way, they can see if cutting out cable is right for them.
So, if you’ve decided to get rid of your pay-TV subscription, then you should look into a streaming service. Netflix typically run about $8 dollars each month. You can also choose Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime and more. Purchasing a set-top box like Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast are also a great way to get your content.
Cord-cutters should also buy an over-the-air HDTV antenna. Many people still have the misconception that antennas are bulky, rabbit-eared, archaic technology. But, it’s actually quite the opposite! Many of today’s antennas are modern, offering flat designs that fit right into your home décor. You can record live, local programming with TiVo, Simple.tv, Tablo and DVR+. So, you don’t need to be stuck to your programmer’s schedule.
4. There are so many models and types of antennas to choose from, how do you begin to learn which style is best and which model will bring in the most channels? Is there a website that shows how many OTA channels you can get with an antenna?
Visit websites like TVfool.com, antennaweb.com, or DTV.gov to use their signal mapping tools. If the signals in your area are strong, you can probably use an indoor antenna, if they are average or weak, an outdoor antenna would be a better choice. Make sure the antenna says it receives VHF and UHF in the specs, and buying from an established company with good support is highly recommended.
5. What is the Winegard difference? What do you feel makes your product unique when compared to others on the market?
Winegard puts 60 years of antenna engineering and manufacturing excellence into every one of our antenna products. We build our products in the US, and we stand behind them with an excellent warranty and great customer service. We are committed to producing the highest performance; highest quality antenna products and we have the state of the art design, testing, and manufacturing facilities to do it.
(Click the infographic below to view full-size.)
Thanks to Grant Whipple for his time in answering these questions and providing an informative infographic. If you want to cut the cord, cable or satellite, it’s as easy as 1, 2 and 3.
NPD Group https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/pr_120410/
Business Insider http://www.businessinsider.com/cord-cutters-and-the-death-of-tv-2013-11
Verizon Digital Media http://www.verizondigitalmedia.com/content/NewSlides_FULL_FINAL_NOCONJ_v2.pdf
National Association of Broadcasters http://www.nab.org/documents/newsRoom/pressRelease.asp?id=3168
GfK Media & Entertainment http://blog.gfk.com/2013/06/confessions-of-a-cord-cutter-skeptic-revisited/
Digital Trends http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/morgan-stanley-report-us-tv-subscribers-to-cut-cord-2014/#!CqGyU
Nielsen – (based on ratings for the week of March 17, 2014) http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/top10s.html