• Jim Gagen

Old School - Cutting the Cord?

Old Dog, New Trick

You might be able to teach an old dog a new trick, but he may not necessarily like it. While on vacation last week, I had the opportunity to experience cutting the cable cord since our vacation house had converted from cable to Roku. While I wasn't a couch potato all week, I did watch TV because it was a big news week and the middle of March Madness. I am somewhat familiar with streaming devices, owning an Apple TV and a Fire Stick, but have never been completely without cable as a viewing option since cable came onto the scene. Even though I eventually learned how to work around some of the idiosyncrasies of Roku, the overall experience was more cumbersome and less than satisfactory than cable.


How do I not like thee, let me count the ways:

  1. I had to sign in to multiple apps available; and each sign-in had a different sign-in format. I had to use my cable password for each cable network app and my Amazon password for Amazon Prime. Maybe it was because I was just a visitor in the vacation home?

  2. Then I couldn’t find a WTBS app for March Madness, but eventually figured out I could find those games on YouTube TV. Silly me, why wouldn’t I think the NCAA Basketball Game televised by WTBS would be found on YouTube TV instead of a WTBS app?

  3. Even though I ultimately found my game of choice on YouTube TV, I wanted to keep up with the other game being played at the same time. With cable, I just hit the last button to flip between games. With Roku, I had to hit the back button, then scroll over to the other game, then click on that game and wait for it to load. While this is only two-three clicks instead of one, when you do this multiple times during each game, it adds up. And after a few beers each click becomes more of a challenge.

  4. Finally, I think I saw the same four commercials @ a 500x frequency in five days! I think I’m going to hear "Put down the keys Kevin" in my sleep for the next month: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQvkMLvxWEc. While I understand delivering the impressions, and I realize this is an Ad Council spot for the NHTSA, it was pretty ridiculous seeing this ad and its partner spot EACH AND EVERY COMMERCIAL BREAK (and often multiple times)!

Will this dog hunt?

While some of the above observations were probably a function of being in a rental home and being on vacation in a small market, I have experienced the frequency issue mentioned in #4 above with other streaming services. Overall, I found the viewing experience of cutting the cord far inferior to cable and feel that their long-term growth to critical mass will be limited until they improve it.

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