The Weird Comfort I Get From Watching Cable Television
The percentage of cable cutters continues to rise, but my sentiment towards cable television remains the same
When I first moved to New York City in 2012, I was a post-grad fresh out of college. At the time, I was twenty-one years old and was making a salary of thirty-something thousand dollars a year.
Between paying for rent, food, transportation, and all of the other general costs of living in a huge metropolitan area like Manhattan, I didn’t really have much disposable income left over to splurge on things that weren’t a “priority” expense. So, when it came to television and film entertainment, I heavily relied on Netflix and [my sister’s] HBO GO account.
Over the years, as my salary increased, my apartments got nicer and more spacious and I had a lot more disposable income to play with. In the summer of 2016, I moved out of Manhattan and into Queens because the appeal of having more space and paying less for rent became much greater of an option than living in an over-priced shoebox apartment in the city.
And with this relocation, I also indulged in the luxury of finally being able to afford cable television — So, I subscribed to cable television.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Why would you do that?” — That was the general response I got from my friends and colleagues when I told them that I pay for (and enjoy having) cable television. Responses varied between, “Who even does that anymore?” or “You’re spending way too much money on cable” or “Are you a grandma or something?”
When it comes to paid television services, I’m probably in the minority group when it comes to the percentage of people who are still paying for cable television, especially within the millennial pool.
At the moment, I pay a whopping $160 per month for combined television and internet service from Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable). And I am completely aware of the other, most cost-efficient options to be able to stream and watch television or movies at home or on-the-go. After all, that’s what I had been doing for the four years prior to making the switch of paying for cable — And I actually still do pay for my Netflix account too because well, it’s Netflix.
Though, despite the criticism and mockery that I may get for being dumb enough to still pay for cable, I’m not at all embarrassed by it. I’m not being “ripped off” or “taken advantage of” — It’s a conscious and intentional decision that I truly don’t mind making because in all honesty, having cable television brings me this weird sense of happiness and comfort.
In an article published by Variety in 2018, titled “Cord-Cutting Keeps Churning: U.S. Pay-TV Cancelers to Hit 33 Million in 2018 (Study)”, author Todd Spangler shared insights from the 2018 eMarketer study highlighting that the number of cable cutters will have risen to 33 million by the end of the year.
Furthermore, eMarketer’s study predicted that this number will grow to 55 million by the year 2022 (a 22 million increase in a span of only four years).
So, why am I still paying for cable television when it seems that the number of people who are cutting the cord is rapidly trending downward?
Well, as I said earlier, I experience this weird comfort after coming home from a long day of work, mindlessly pressing the power button on the remote control, and flipping through channels until I come across something that I can loosely watch without being 100% invested in. As robotic as it may sound, it’s nice to not have to make a choice.
I find comfort in settling for whatever is on television on that particular day or night. I find comfort in turning my brain off and having the television playing in the background without actually having to pay attention to it — It’s like a white noise that fills the room, similar to a sound machine that gives people in ease in falling asleep.
Growing up, my family bonding time came in the form of spending time in the living room after having dinner with my parents and my sister, and turning straight to channel seven which aired Jeopardy! at 7 pm (EST) immediately followed by Wheel of Fortune at 7:30 pm.
This was the same exact routine that occurred every single night for nearly my entire youth, right up until I moved out of my parent’s house and went to college — And to no surprise of mine, my parents still follow this same exact routine to this day, in which I am pleased to join them in whenever I go back to visit.
Cable television brings me this sense of nostalgia, bringing me back to familiar times of growing up and having cable television as the only option for television or film entertainment at home. Now, with the abundance of options between streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, etc. you have to search through the plethora of genres and options to the point where it gets too overwhelming.
I enjoy the sense of ease of not having to choose when it comes to cable television. And though many may not agree, it’s something that I will be truly sad to see go if that ever happens.