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Nine great things that cord-cutting brought us

How to squeeze more savings from your cable bill

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Nine great things that cord-cutting brought us

For those who’ve been trying to escape cable or satellite TV, the last week brought a lot of doom and gloom.

First, YouTube TV announced its biggest price hike ever, from $50 per month to $65 per month. FuboTV followed suit, raising prices from $55 per month to $60 per month. Sling TV has also hinted at price hikes to come, saying it will lock in today’s rates until August 2021, but only for those who subscribe by August 1. (Sling says it currently has no plans to raise prices within 12 months, despite the offer.) Disney is rumored to be raising prices for ESPN+ as well, from $5 per month to $6 per month.

All this of course prompted the usual wave of hot takes about how the cord-cutting dream is dead. We were promised a la carte TV, a chorus of jaded pundits said, but instead we got a system that looks a lot like cable. (In truth, the expectation of a la carte cable channels has always been unrealistic, but that’s another story.)

Me? I’m not feeling quite so glum. While there’s no sugarcoating the price hikes, cord-cutting only counts as a failed experiment if you ignore all of the good it’s done—and is still doing—for the state of television. In the interest of looking on the bright side, here are some examples of how cord-cutting has made TV meaningfully better.

There’s more to watch than ever

At the end of last year, Variety reported an eye-opening statistic: Netflix alone released more original programming in 2019 than the entire TV industry did in 2005.

Competition from Netflix and other streaming services has led to a boom in original TV, culminating in a record 532 scripted original series last year, according to FX Networks Research. A plurality of those shows are now exclusive to streaming services, and the vast majority don’t require a big TV bundle to watch. We’ve quickly forgotten how cable had become a reality TV wasteland by comparison.

And while new programming is nice, so is ability to conjure practically any old movie or TV show via streaming. Want to binge-watch the entire series of Seinfeld or Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? How about classic Disney movies that once had restricted availability? Grouse all you want about how Friends or The Office switch from one streaming service to another; it wasn’t that long ago that they weren’t available at all, at least not without splurging on DVDs or filling up your entire DVR.

streamingshowsreelgood Jared Newman / IDG

Streaming services are adding more shows at higher quality than ever before.

Almost everything’s available on demand now

Speaking of DVR, that’s become a relic for a lot of cord cutters. No longer must you park yourself in front of the TV at designated times or deal with recording schedules. Thanks to on-demand streaming services, you can watch practically anything on a whim. Even some live TV streaming services, such as YouTube TV and Philo, allow users to build up sprawling on-demand catalogs through unlimited cloud DVR space. The decline of appointment viewing is yet another benefit that cord-cutting naysayers too easily take for granted now.

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