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Jennifer Van Grove: Cord-cutting's not all it's cracked up to be

Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Science & Technology News

When it comes to cutting the cord and streaming TV, readers naturally have questions. Some have rants. Others just want me to know that cord-cutting is not for them.

So in the spirit of openness, I thought I'd share a sample of reader emails I get each week, with emails edited for length and clarity.

Spoiler alert: Not everyone who reads this column sees the value in cutting the cord.

Greg Pharis writes:

"I find the whole cord-cutting topic amusing and ironic. We started out wanting bigger and bigger screens, and hoping one provider could carry all the shows we wanted to view. Now it has returned to desiring smaller screens and many networks to view shows. Some of it makes sense, especially cost-cutting. But, there is one overriding factor that keeps me from cord-cutting.

I have watched a lot of television in my life. Nearly all has been for entertainment's sake. Entertainment is for fun and relaxation and should never be work. Spending many hours to find the right network(s), which is never going to cover everything I would like to view, would be work. Thus taking the fun out of my entertainment.

 

As far as cutting costs, well, that's bordering on farce. If one wants to watch (or at least try) all the original programming available, how many networks are you going to have to buy? And those networks seem to be growing all the time. So, I've decided to remain with one provider that has a zillion channels. Though I still won't get everything I would like, I have more than I can watch for the rest of my life. And most importantly it's not work."

To Greg, I say this: I appreciate your point of view and accept that you're happy with what you have. However, I'm of the mindset that there's work to be done in both the corded and cordless environments.

For many, myself included, the traditional pay TV paradigm comes with poorly engineered interfaces that require, in my view, too much work to navigate. Surely improvements are being made, but I have many not-so-fond memories of trying to track down on-demand material through a cable provider only to be met with menu after menu. That is the kind of work I wish to avoid.

And, only a few weeks ago, I attempted to help my mom, a Spectrum cable TV customer, record a show remotely from the company's mobile app. After about 10 minutes and several error messages, that process was aborted, much to our mutual frustration.

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