At this point, there are no excuses.
I cut the cord on cable TV back in August 2015, and though I did have a brief relapse, the explosion in the number and breadth of streaming services has made it easier than ever to dump the traditional 150-channel bundle.
There are now subscription-based video offerings for art films and horror, animation, comedy, competitive fishing, lots for children's programming and every sport that rarely gets time on Disney's (DIS) ESPN. Apple (AAPL) TV, Roku and Amazon Fire (AMZN) devices, among others, make toggling between streaming apps as easy as your internet connection can handle it.
For those who want a general facsimile of the pay-TV bundle and access to the largest broadcast networks, there's Sling TV from Dish Network (DISH) , DirecTV Now from AT&T (T) and Sony's (SNE) PlayStation Vue. In the coming weeks, they'll be joined by Alphabet's (GOOGL) YouTube TV and a still unnamed pay-TV service from Hulu, the video-on-demand service controlled jointly by Disney, Comcast's (CMCSA) NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox (FOXA) , along with Time Warner (TWX) holding a 10% stake.
In my case, I couldn't help but notice that my wife and I and our two kids, ages 11 and 9, weren't watching much TV. The cable bill would come months after month with a charge of about $85 for well over 100 channels. Each time I sat down to watch television, I found myself surfing aimlessly.
Meanwhile, my kids were hooked on Netflix (NFLX) and YouTube. Between the two services, they got all they needed. To this day, they especially like how easy it is to navigate Netflix and YouTube. They didn't grow up channel surfing -- bouncing between digital platforms is all they know. For my wife, a handful of shows on Netflix had more than occupied our time: Breaking Bad was blissful and Orange is The New Black was terrific.
So, I cut the cord with my local cable-TV provider and subscribed to SlingTV's Orange package, which includes ESPN, a bunch of Time Warner networks including CNN as well as AMC Networks' flagship network, Viceland and Comedy Central. Total cost: $20 per month (tax included).
Months went by until AT&T introduced DirecTV Now in November. Unlike SlingTV, DirecTV Now isn't a skinny bundle, which initially made me wary. However, I'm also focused on price, and DirecTV Now's introductory offer of $35 per month for more than 65 channels was too good an offer to pass up. So I canceled SlingTV and signed up with AT&T's streaming platform.
And because the cost of DirecTV Now is so reasonably priced compared to traditional cable TV and other digital offerings, we've become subscribers to CBS All-Access, the $5.99-a-month ($9.99 for a commercial-free version) standalone app that features live programming along with a huge library of CBS shows, though I have little interest in watching any of them. So we didn't miss the Oscars last month, which made everyone happy.
To be sure, there are differences between all these new offerings both on price and channel selection, as well as functions for binge-watching and recording live shows. Google's YouTube TV won't include networks owned by Time Warner, Viacom (VIAB) and AMC Networks (AMCX) , but it will offer a DVR service that saves programs for nine months. Play Station Vue offers lots of digital video games, which plays into a large part of Sony's business.
Of course, cutting the cord doesn't require replacing it with one of these newer multi-channel digital pay-TV platforms.