According to a recent article by CBC, about 1 in 6 Canadians do not have cable. Around 16% of Canadians stated that they do not watch any conventional television, and stream shows and movies directly online. The people that most likely do still have cable television were of the demographic 45 years of age and older.
This makes sense to me. People who are 45 years of age or older (aka baby boomers) are most likely to be able to afford cable television (yes, that's approximately an extra $100 a month) and not be technologically savvy enough to navigate streaming television shows and movies from the Internet. Yahoo Finance states that the average cost of cable for an average Canadian is $71 per month. Over a year, that is $852 a year, which is equivalent to a digital SLR camera, a flight from Vancouver to Halifax, or even a flight to Asia or Europe if you find a good deal. Funny how a flight to Asia or Europe and a flight across Canada roughly cost the same, but that's a rant for another time.
Here are some alternatives to cable television to save you money:
Netflix is akin to an "all you can eat" buffet. For $7.99 a month, you can get unlimited access to the television shows and movies available on Netflix. This is by far the most popular alternative to cable television. Some of the pros include a free trial for a month and also no contract, so that you can cancel anytime. Another great aspect of Netflix is that you can watch your shows and movies anywhere, as it's streaming from the Internet. The iPad, iPhone, Android, tablet, and television are all fair game.
To watch it on your television, you will need an HDMI cable to connect your computer to your television (the cheapest but most cumbersome option - you can get an HDMI cable from Amazon.ca for under $10), or a DVD player that is wifi-enabled (approximately $70-$100), or if you have a console like the Xbox or the PlayStation that's even better. Finally, you are able to watch Netflix through the Apple TV too.
The downside is that it is rumoured that Netflix U.S. is much better than Netflix Canada, though this has come a long way because when I first watched Netflix a few years ago, the only movies that existed were terrible B list movies that I wouldn't even watch for free. There is a way to offset this, and it involves tricking the Internet into thinking that your IP address originates from the United States. I have not tried this myself.
This is obviously the cheapest option, but if you're not very good at returning things on time, this might not be a wise choice.
Apple TV is a great option if you have a large storage of movies already on your computer. You can also rent movies and watch shows a la cart. There are some free shows available, but for the most part, renting a movie costs the same as it would have cost when you rented it from Rogers or Blockbuster, about $4-$6. The Apple TV costs $109, and it is small and inconspicuous so it doesn't add too much bulk to your TV viewing area.
This is the other cheapest option, though it has its limitations. If you are happy watching small, short clips (I know I am), then YouTube is your friend. I find a lot of YouTube videos entertaining and some of them are even 20-30 minutes long.
Cutting the Cord...
To be honest, I have not had cable for almost a year, and even when I did have it I didn't watch it very much. I don't miss cable because I often can't get organized enough to PVR something or to schedule time to watch it. Sometimes I feel a bit left out when people are talking about the latest episode of Breaking Bad or Mad Men, but I feel that I can use my time so much better without spending a few hours watching television.
I do plan on getting Netflix soon so that when I have friends over there is something to watch, but I'm in no hurry. I know that once I get hooked onto a show, it might become a deep dark abyss of time sucking!
Bargainmoosers, did you cut the cable recently? Which alternative did you switch to?
(banner image credit: Ho John Lee)