Why do so many of us want to cut the cable TV cord? Where do I begin? The list is long and varied, but most of us bound to the local cable TV company don’t have much compassion for the company’s trials and tribulations whatever they may be (hint: most make money hand over fist) and would leave in a moment’s notice for a better choice.
Therein lies the problem. What’s better than cable TV? Apple TV? Hardly. It’s an alternative, yes, but not better in any way other than Apple gets your money, and in turn, you get more choices to add to what you get from cable TV, not improve it.
Apple bills Apple TV as “The future of television is here.” Marketing hype aside, and to quote Al Borland but aimed at Apple’s CEO, “I don’t think so, Tim.” If you watch much television, Apple TV itself is not a good reason to cut the cable TV cord. Most of us wouldn’t be cutting a cord. Instead, we’re moving from one restrictive and expensive cord to another cord– the internet connection– which, even with Apple TV, or Roku, or Chromecast, or whatever else– has its own restrictions and price tag. Unless you’re going full on over-the-air for TV, cord cutting in any direction does not work.
There is hope.
*The Mincey household is a hybrid household. For now. We have cable TV and it has advantages, especially with viewing choices, time shifting and ease of use. What? Ease of use? Sorry, but it’s not all about remote buttons. The cable TV remote has more buttons and choices than I can imagine but most of us use just a few; still, navigating channels is rather straightforward.
Contrast that with the Apple TV remote which has the fewest number of buttons possible, but Apple TV itself is a pain to navigate. No, not to a channel app or an app, but once you land on a channel app finding what you want is utterly painful. Bouncing from network to network on cable TV is far simpler than navigating through a long list of applications, the navigating within the application itself to find a video, TV show, or movie to view.
It’s just math.
This is where Siri can help us jump from the TV guide directly to either apps or specific shows or movies within apps. Siri can do that. Sometimes. But never as easy or as quickly as simply pressing a few buttons on the cable TV remote.
What the combination of cable TV and Apple TV does is open up choice. Netflix, Hulu, YouTube have huge audiences and cable TV doesn’t make any of those video programming choices available. So, one can see the tide changing here. We hate cable TV because it is expensive and service approval barely tops members of Congress. But when it works, it works. As to the expense, you get what you pay for. Sling TV, DirecTV Now, and other streaming TV services are taking us back to the last century with lean cable TV-like packages and little more. Want more channels? Pay more money.
For now, I’m not impressed with the cable TV cord cutting choices. Apple TV needs to do more and have more and do what it does easier. Otherwise, I’m among a growing crowd and chorus who laments the cost of telecommunications in the 21st century. My father had free OTA television and a telephone. Four TV channels. One phone in one room. One monthly payment of less than $10. The Mincey family, circa 2017, has cable TV, Apple TV, internet service, four family smartphones, and a total telecommunications bill higher than our first house payment.
What’s wrong with that picture?