In this age of Hulu, HBO Go and Netflix, it seems like everyone and their grandmother is trading in their DVR for an all-streaming solution. Well, my grandmother still has a cable box, but she also gave up AOL in favor of Gmail years ago, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. Neither of my parents owns a TV, but that’s a different story. You can watch pretty much anything online, from trashy reality TV to the presidential debates.
So, here is my confession: My family still has a TiVo.
I know that’s not a cool thing to say, and I’m sure I’m giving up a few geek points by saying it, but it’s the truth. I feel better for saying it.
Why do we still send Comcast some of our hard-earned money every month? Two words: live sports. I just haven’t found a better way to watch baseball and football. I haven’t liked any of the streaming sports options. And our house is located at the base of a cliff and has so much metal lathe in it, it’s basically a giant Faraday cage. We’re not going to be watching sports over the air anytime soon. I have a four-year-old, so I’m not going to a bar to watch games.
My Dad and I have a Sunday ritual. I TiVo the Patriots game and he comes over an hour or so after it starts. We put our phones away (no distractions — and no spoilers!) and we watch the game together. We start from the beginning and we skip all of the commercials. We pause and rewind to our hearts content. A football game is surprisingly quick without advertising and a lot more fun. I think I’d keep TiVo just for those Sunday games.
Once you’ve decided to keep your cable box, you might as well stick with the standard channel lineup. We could probably go super-basic cable, but then I’d need to patch together an assortment of subscription services. And, as someone who does this stuff for a living, who has time for that? I’d rather just have the latest episode of my guilty pleasure (Supernatural) show up on my TiVo, than have to remember to go searching for it on Netflix.
I think that the envelope pushing from streaming services is fantastic. Some of the best TV out there these days is on Netflix and Amazon Prime. They aren’t boxed in by their business model, like broadcast TV, so they have more freedom to create ground-breaking content like Orange is the New Black or Transparent. I’m not sure what streaming media will mean for our industry in the long-term, but in the short-term, it often just means adding an Apple TV or a Roku to a system that already has a DVR (or three) in it.
With more and more streaming options available, I’m sure the day will come that we cut the cord for good. But for now, I’m perfectly happy to be a bit of a dinosaur.