Four Big Cord Cutting Myths Dispelled!

Cord CuttingSo, my Cord Cutting experience (having actually done it, that is) goes back a while now… and I now consider myself a true practical expert. I admit, these are NOT the questions I ever asked… but some folks are, so it is worth covering!

4 Cord-Cutting Myths Dispelled

Forbes – By: Mark N. Vena – “It’s not an exaggeration to say that cord-cutting is now a national obsession. Millions of consumers have shed their cable and satellite subscriptions over the past ten years, and every major legacy cable and satellite company has suffered. Some choose to cut the cord in an attempt to save money. Some do it out of a desire to better pick and choose their content, and consume it whenever and wherever they want.

What continues to surprise me is how many individuals jump into cord-cutting without close consideration of the tradeoffs. This is not to say that it is a bad idea—simply that consumers should consider all aspects of the decision before moving forward. In this column, I’d like to address several common misconceptions about cord-cutting that I’ve identified from my longtime association with the category.

Myth #1: You’re going to save a ton of money when you cut the cord

Most consumers hate their cable or satellite company on a level usually reserved for the IRS. This frustration stems from the fact that in many markets across the United States consumers only have one option to choose from. Additionally, cable and satellite companies often have byzantine pricing schemes that make it purposely difficult for consumers to get an Internet-only subscription without purchasing some minimal premium video package. On top of that, most cable and satellite companies have been slowly increasing their pricing over the past couple of years due to broadcast TV surcharges and regional sports fees.

The thing to know is that even popular streaming services like Netflix, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now are not immune to raising their monthly pricing. While there is a still a gap between what you’d pay for an equivalent cable or satellite package (excluding Internet access), the delta is closing. In short, if you cut the cord, don’t count on necessarily saving the dollars you thought you would.

Myth #2: I will be able to completely replace all the channels from my cable or satellite subscription

This is perhaps the most glaring misconception that consumers have about cord-cutting. While consumers typically want to have access to all the channels they enjoyed with their cable or satellite subscription, the fact of the matter is that the average consumer only watches 17 channels or less, 80% of the time. It’s helpful to take time to study your own viewing habits and identify the must-have channels. Interestingly, despite the popularity of premium Over-The-Top (OTT) video subscriptions, local TV channels remain quite popular for news, weather, and sports.

Fortunately, there are easy-to-use Web site tools like Suppose and that analyze what you currently watch and how you watch it, and provide recommendations on which services will best satisfy your viewing habits. Consumers should also consider adding an Over-The-Air (OTA) solution to augment their cord-cutting endeavors. Not all local broadcast TV channels are available outside of a conventional cable or satellite subscription—an OTA device can help you capture local news, sports, and weather for free. More on this later.

Myth #3: What streamer you select is unimportant

Selecting the right streamer to operate at the heart of your cord-cutting setup is actually quite essential and should not be taken lightly. Your likely choice will ultimately come down to an offering from Roku, Amazon, Google, or Apple.

My longtime favorite is the Roku Ultra ($99 MSRP), which offers, among other capabilities, essential features like HD, 4K/HDR support, dual-band wireless connectivity, voice remote functionality, and a lost remote finder. What really sets Roku apart, though, is its gloriously simple and intuitive interface and its voice-based universal search capability. This search functionality is critical for avoiding the dreaded “overlapping content syndrome” where you end up paying for a movie only to discover it was available as part of a premium channel you already subscribe to. Though Roku was early to the party, it’s not the only one with this capability—Comcast’s Xfinity voice search is nothing to sneeze at and Apple has made significant strides in this area. Roku also offers, at no cost, its Roku Channel, which features surprisingly fresh hit movies, shows, live news, and sports. The Roku platform is also the most “agnostic” streamer of the major brands; it works with a wide variety of OTA solutions for local TV viewing and its Channel Store includes more than 1,800 channels of highly specialized content. Side note: several major television manufacturers (TCL, Sharp , Philip, Hitachi , and RCA, to name a handful) now embed Roku functionality into their TVs. This is worth considering if you’re in the market for a new TV.

Apple TV 4K is a bit pricey ($199 MSRP for the 64GB model) but remains an excellent choice for users who are already a part of the Apple AAPL +0% ecosystem with iPhones, iPads, and iMacs. The product’s Apple-esque look and feel will be immediately familiar to legacy Apple users. Additionally, its Apple TV app, coming in September, looks like it will provide many useful navigational, discovery, and personalization enhancements. However, Apple TV still significantly trails Roku in terms of the sheer number of customized content channels available (many of which are free).

Myth #4: Watching OTA channels is illegal

I often get asked whether watching Over-The-Air broadcast channels is somehow illegal. This might have something to do with the infamous 2012 Supreme Court ruling that Aereo, who offered a streaming subscription service with OTA channel content, infringed upon the rights of copying holders (the case was initiated by several broadcast networks). The FCC has also done a lousy job of promoting the fact that OTA channels are free to consumers to access (and have been since the early 2000s). These two things, in my mind, helped create the false perception that consuming OTA channels is illegal.

OTA viewing is, in fact, one of the best ways you can cut the cord and save money at the same time. On top of that, many of these channels are broadcast in HD. If you don’t have an appetite for premium channel services, OTA is probably your best bet access local channels in your market. Solutions like Tablo and AirTV not only allow you to easily capture local TV channel signals via a low-cost antenna, they will enable you to “stream” the channels to other devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and even other TVs. Products like Tablo and AirTV even integrate local TV channels into a familiar, intuitive linear viewing guide and offer both cloud-based and local storage DVR capability. Did I mention that Tablo even offers ad-skipping capability for recorded content?

Some closing thoughts

Hopefully these myth-busting explanations will help users who are thinking of jettisoning their cable or satellite subscriptions to be better informed. The sheer amount of premium streaming content now available to consumers can be overwhelming, and that trend is not likely to decelerate with the likes of Apple and Disney getting into the video content creation business. Competition is a good thing, and consumers will have more choices than ever for content that precisely suits their tastes and sensitivities. There’s a lot for consumers to be excited about when it comes to cutting the cord, but it’s a decision that should be made thoughtfully and deliberately.

Disclosure: Moor Insights & Strategy, like all research and analyst firms, provides or has provided research, analysis, advising and/or consulting to many high-tech companies in the industry. The author does not have any investment positions in any of the companies named in this article.”

Roku and Amazon are the Big Dogs in Cord Cutting

Roku and FireTVThis is why I have an Amazon FireTV App and a Roku Channel! 70% of users are covered!

Amazon & Roku Control Almost 70% of The US Streaming Player Market

Cord Cutters News – Luke Bouma – “We have known for some time now that Roku and Amazon have dominated the United States streaming market. Now according to Parks Associates Roku and Amazon now control almost 70% of the market. This leaves the Apple TV, Android TV, and Chromecast to fight over the last 30%.

‘The adoption of Roku and Fire TV streaming media players continues to grow at the expense of Chromecast and Apple TV,’ said Parks Associates Senior Analyst Craig Leslie.

Roku is still in the lead controlling 39% of all installed streaming media players at the end of the 1st quarter of 2019. Amazon’s Fire TV controls about 30% up from 24% two years ago. This lines up very well without own studies of our readers that shows Roku with a strong lead but the Fire TV catching up quickly.

This strong lead makes being on Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV a must for any streaming services currently on the market. Without Roku and Amazon, you are missing out on 70% of Americans. This is also why Apple recently announced that its new Apple TV app will be coming to Roku and the Fire TV later this year.”

USATV247 Allows Watching Cable Channels Free on Your Computer

There is a service called USATV247 (USA TV 24/7) that provides computer, tablet, and smartphone users the option to view certain channels free on the web. No account is required, and there is no charge. You simply go to the web site, and choose the channel that you want to see. Obviously, you can also Chromecast the computer screen to your HD TV as well, if you like.

Local Stations in Some Areas via

LoCast.orgThere is service that provides free streaming of local stations to some areas of the country. It is called and is free. They do accept donations, and claim to be expanding their service. so, if you are having trouble with your local antenna, and live in these areas, this might be an option for you!

“Locast is a public service to Americans, providing local broadcast signals over the Internet in select cities. All you have to do is sign up online, provide your name and email address, and certify that you live in, and are logging on from, one of the select US cities (‘Designated Market Area’). Then, you can select among local broadcasters and stream your favorite local station. is a ‘digital translator,’ meaning that operates just like a traditional broadcast translator service, except instead of using an over-the-air signal to boost a broadcaster’s reach, we stream the signal over the Internet to consumers located within select US cities.

Ever since the dawn of TV broadcasting in the mid-20th Century, non-profit organizations have provided ‘translator’ TV stations as a public service. Where a primary broadcaster cannot reach a receiver with a strong enough signal, the translator amplifies that signal with another transmitter, allowing consumers who otherwise could not get the over-the-air signal to receive important programming, including local news, weather and of course, sports. provides the same public service, except instead of an over-the-air signal transmitter, we provide the local broadcast signal via online streaming.

You need a broadband Internet connection for optimal performance. Using a laptop, smartphone, or computer connected to the Internet, point your browser to to sign up. You then can choose which local broadcast station to watch from your Internet-enabled device.”

PBS May Soon Be More Cord Cutter Friendly

PBSPBS is making noises that it might soon be open to putting their content on services like YouTubeTV and Hulu. This is a turnaround from the past, because they have said that so much of their content is owned by local PBS stations. The discussions with these local stations must be going well, because they have announced the potential of freer access in the future.

Today the Boston PBS station WGBH has confirmed that they will be launching on 1 to 2 live TV streaming providers this fall with more on the way. This comes from Jon Abbott, president and CEO of the WGBH Educational Foundation.

Tablo Has a Great New Feature Coming!

Coming soon! A “commercial skip” function for all Tablo owners! I am REALLY looking forward to it!

The Tablo Blog reports: “In late March, we’re starting an open beta for our automatic commercial skip feature! (No signup will be required.) This makes it possible for any subscription-enabled Tablo OTA DVR to play most recordings without any commercials.

Tablo’s commercial-skipping magic is a cloud-based hybrid of digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms and machine learning. When enabled, pesky ads are accurately and automatically detected so Tablo apps on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Apple TV can hop right past them.”

Philo Account Savings

Phil AppSo, new year, and I finally cut the cord! I just signed up to the Philo service as well. If you join via this link (below,) we both get $5.00 off our accounts!

Philo is a legit, fully legal, licensed service that gives you the channels that you may want that you can’t get via other methods (legally) without a cable subscription. This is about the best deal I have seen, and it works great!

I was able to quickly and easily install the Philo app on my new FireTV Cube… and it looks good! More on the show, coming soon!

By the way, here are the networks that you get for only $16.00 a month (all fees included)

Animal Planet
BBC America
BBC World News
Cheddar Big News
Comedy Central
Discovery Channel
Food Network
Hallmark Drama
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Investigation Discovery
Lifetime Movie Network
Paramount Network
Sundance TV
Nick Jr
Teen Nick
The History Channel
TV Land
Motor Trend

Roku Rumor

And, speaking of Rokus… there is a rumor in Cord Cutting circles that it may soon be possible to watch Roku content off of the Roku app on your phone. If so, that would be a huge deal! A lot of folks watch YouTube on their phones, and if Roku channels could be seen via a phone, that would be amazing! We will see if this is just “pie in the sky” or the real thing, but hey… it would be very cool!

Don’t Get Caught in a Roku Activation Scam!

Roku LogoRoku boxes don’t require “activation!” Don’t let anyone tell you they do! This gets worse when people get them as Christmas presents! Here’s a head’s up from Cord Cutters News:

‘When my friend upgraded from a Roku streaming stick to a Roku Ultra, she had to pay an activation fee. Is this now required for all Rokus?’

Streaming boxes and sticks like Roku are likely to be popular gifts this holiday season. Unfortunately as the popularity of cord cutting increases, so have the number of scams seeking to target less savvy consumers.

Starting in mid-2017 we began to hear reports directly from Tablo customers and other sources in the cord-cutting community saying an official-looking website required them to fork over credit card information to activate their Roku.

Roku does not nor has ever required users to pay fees for setup, activation, or tech support.

Once you purchase your Roku you can use it right out of the box with no additional payments required – unless you’re wanting to hook up subscription-based streaming services like Netflix. And in that case, you’d be paying Netflix, not Roku.

If you want to avoid these ‘scam’ websites, it’s best to contact the manufacturer of your cord cutting device directly or visit an official corporate website for help. Both pieces of information should be on the device’s box or in the documentation that comes with it.”

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