We’re in our 6th year of watching only on demand services such as Netflix and Amazon TV, after cutting the PayTV cord. We’re still able to access popular sporting events live like the Super Bowl without a PayTV subscription, which for some weird reason my wife likes to watch. When we were planning to cut the cord I wrote a couple of articles (Part 1 and Part 2) on why it may work for us, as it will not work for everyone.
Over the years the thing that has become entrenched in our viewing habits is a visceral intolerance for adverts. This year my wife gave up watching the Super Bowl as the interruptions from adverts simply ruined the experience. Its been that way for me for several years. We all drifted off onto our devices, and then onto chores, playing pool, going for a walk, and all the other stuff in life. The adverts during the Super Bowl are some of the best US TV has to offer: yes, its a Tide advert. Yet were a nuisance, and dropped the experience below where we were prepared to spend our time.
Its been interesting to see the changes in our TV viewing since cutting the payTV cord, we now only watch TV perhaps once or twice a week. Unless we’re bingeing through a series, the latest was Altered Carbon which we started when our son was at a sleep-over. Ah, the time before kids
Our son is a daily TV viewer. In the morning, as he rises early, for 30 mins, before I start making breakfast; and if he’s done all his homework and chores for 30 mins in the evening. He’s currently in a phase where he’d happily play computer games all week. But we limit that to 2 hours over the weekend. He’s currently working through Lego Worlds after getting to the point of boredom in trying to complete to 100% Lego Super Heroes.
I really should have kept a diary of our habits before and during the cord cutting. I’m only able to give some qualitative analysis. For our son he’s under regulated viewing, so its the same as before cord cutting. He’s generally self-directed on the content within limits, such as he’s banned from watching videos of people playing video games. He’ll be on a play-date at a friend’s home and they’re sat in the basement watching someone play say Clash Royale, and barely able to communicate coherently after watching it for likely over one hour.
For my wife and I, our time is utilized with greater diversity and quality expectations. The time spent watching TV is about 10 to 20% of what it was with PayTV, this a guesstimate, we did watch TV most evenings before cutting the cord. TV viewing has now become a date TV experience, where we agree on watching a show together in the evening, or a movie as a family. Currently, working through the Back to the Future series with our son. Its funny seeing the portrayal of 2015. The big difference is our quality expectation are much higher, not just with TV viewing, but how we spend our leisure time.
Where is the rest of the time now spent? Reading, especially after we’ve been traveling and get into new authors. Reading the news or work articles. Casual gaming. Getting more chores done through the week, so the weekends have larger chunks of free time that are now spent shuttling our son from games and practices. Hiking. And we do have more dinner and impromptu gatherings with friends and neighbors. On Wednesday last week it was 77F outside (back to 32F the following day though) and we had an impromptu BBQ with a neighboring family.
I know the above sounds a little saccharin / idealistic, but I do feel that cutting the cord has improved our lives. Our expectations on the quality of TV viewing are much higher. Our expectations of the value from our leisure time has also raised. My advice after all these years is “cut the cord, you’ll be glad you did.”