I cut the cable on March 17. Cutting the cable means ‘to unsubscribe from cable and/or satellite TV”.

First, a few words on the substitution.

I face the CN Tower, with a clear line of sight. As a result, over-the-air for the live weather and idiotic fluff works nicely. It provides zombie noise for those 10 minutes between checking the pad for the hard news (because there is no hard news on in the morning…anywhere) and running out. Check.

Netflix provides a lot of zombie noise. I prefer to work to reruns of ‘yes minister’ and ‘arrested development’. Yes Minister is nothing more than a university textbook on public policy dynamics and arrested development is benign background noise. Zombie viewing. I’m somewhat annoyed with Microsoft Xbox for periodically losing my connection to their Gold servers, causing Netflix to collapse, and interrupting the viewing. I’m considering a hard switch over to my Wii to correct for that.

I’d like to understand why MSN.ca video’s value ‘add’ VOD service returns such a small screen, inferior to Netflix.

There are a few shows that I’m bridging over through the use of Canadian based broadcasters websites. I don’t quite understand all the exhortations from Food Network Canada to check out their site and catching full episodes. Watching a full episode of Top Chef was painful and de-branding because of the streaming issues. I became dizzy whenever the camera moved. Which, if you watch Top Chef, happens a lot.

CityTV is a delight to use. I watched 30Rock and The Office flawlessly.

CTV.ca suffers from both performance issues with their video player, an amazing lack of buffering, and an information architecture that looks like it was built by a drunk spacechimp. I’m saying booo, not booo-urns. I took me 1.5 hours to watch The Amazing Race because you had to keep on clicking on all the clips…and they wouldn’t always load.

Global couldn’t handle streaming out Family Guy, and had very bad sound-visual mismatches. However, it did stream Survivor really well. I don’t get the inconsistency.

Getting streaming video right is actually pretty hard. The technical challenges are formidable, so I salute the folks at CityTV for a very decent experience. I can’t tell if Food Network and CTV just suffer from a lack of technical expertise, apathy, or both. It can’t be easy to be at Global, in particular, owing to the state that Canada.com was found, but I applaud their technical work. They’re coming a long way.

Attempting to go through the legitimate digital route has been mixed, and I increasingly understand the popularity of torrenting the desired content. The sad reality is that I’m more than happy to pay for full episodes by way of iTunes…I’m just blocked from doing so because of CRTC mandated rent-seeking, and I am exposed to some pretty horrendous user experiences.

Of the shows I’m willing to seek out online, and you can tell – really try to watch, 30 Rock, The Office, Top Chef, The Amazing Race, Survivor, and Family Guy — 4.5 hours of sought out viewing, I only had a good experience with 2 hours of it. What’s happening is a hard switch to entirely season marathon viewing. And I’m okay with that.


Indeed, the takeaway is that even a hard-core TV watcher can cut the cable and shift off most of it. And not really miss anything. I’ve also come to realize just how fragmented my attention is while the TV is on. Entire episodes have streamed by on Netflix without any sort of memory commit. I’ve read an entire book on innovation (don’t hate) and scarcely remember a BBC series, or something about Eddie Murphy. Yet the evidence is there that it was streamed.

I don’t miss cable. I don’t miss the cost. I don’t miss the commercial abuse. And I’m quite happy getting on with it.

Have you made the switch already?

One thought on “Cutting The Cable: 10 days on

  1. Ian says:

    You would love The Thick Of It. It’s a somewhat up-to-date Yes Minister, with much, much more cursing:


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