With millions of cable and satellite subscribers around the country, it's likely that you've heard your friends or family members either swear off cable or brag about their hundreds of TV and movie channels.
So, what gives for these conflicting reactions to cable TV?
While it can be difficult to pinpoint and understand the exact reasons behind these trends, research suggest that it comes down to personal preference, affordability, and needs.
And after talking to experts and consumers, it's clear that cable viewing trends are a bit more complex than we assumed. Keep reading to learn more about the future of cable viewership...
Cord cutting - or getting rid of traditional cable in favor of online streaming - is one of the hottest topics in home entertainment today. And it's easy to see why. As more streaming options become available, it seems increasingly feasible for people to cut the cord and still receive quality content.
One consumer who took this step is Suzanna Keith, a 40-something marketing professional and blogger at Tech and Travel Mom.
When Suzanna moved from Rye, New York to The Woodlands, TX, she initially signed up for a Comcast Xfinity package that cost around $150. But when she decided to cut back on costs, she and her family canceled their cable package and instead watched content through Hulu and Netflix.
"We saved about $120 a month," Keith says.
And while there are certainly many cord-cutters like Suzanna, the Deloitte study "The reality of 'cord cutting' in North America," reports that the number of North American households that are completely eliminating their traditional paid cable services amounts to less than 1 percent of subscribers.
So why is there so much buzz surrounding cord cutting? One reason may be that some consumers talk about cutting the cord, but never actually go through with it, says Duncan Stewart, director of research for tech, media and telecommunications at Deloitte.
He also notes that a segment of customers may actually eliminate their cable services, but then change their minds and re-subscribe.
As streaming options through services like Netflix, Apple TV, and Google TV became more popular, Stewart says that many experts believed a high number of consumers would cancel their cable outright.
Instead, these would-be cord cutters became cord shavers, or people who downgraded their cable packages without actually eliminating them.
For example, Abbey Dieteman, 28, co-founder of Dieteman Technology Consulting in Oneida, NY, did just that when she decided to reduce her $192 monthly cable bill, which included high-speed Internet, a DVR and an HD digital cable box.
Dieteman saved money by downgrading to a more basic, 99-channel package and a slower Internet speed, which only cost her family about $40 each month.
While you may already be familiar with cord cutters and cord shavers, Stewart points to another important category of would-be cable subscribers.
Stewart says 20 years ago, young adults were likely to sign up for cable as soon as they moved out from their parents' homes and began living on their own. But today, he suspects that young adults who don't watch much TV are forgoing the process of signing up for cable packages when they move into their first apartments or houses.
He refers to this group as the "cord nevers." These cord nevers may have any number of reasons for not watching much TV - whether they're out playing sports, spending time with friends, frequenting bars, or engaging in other activities outside the home.
Take Tiffany Bradshaw, 38, of Los Angeles, CA, who has never had a cable subscription. Although she occasionally uses Hulu to catch up on certain shows, Tiffany says "I'm not a huge TV watcher in general and my schedule is so busy that it would never get watched."
Despite these ups and downs in individual areas, Stewart says that overall "the number of people paying for TV is extremely stable." The reason, he says, is simple: people like TV.
According to a March 2013 Nielsen report, "Free to Move Between Screens," during the last quarter of 2012, the average person spent about four hours and 39 minutes per day watching live television and 25 minutes watching content from their DVRs. Both of those figures are up slightly from the last quarter of 2011, when the average person watched 4 hours and 35 minutes of live television and 22 minutes of DVR content.
Cynthia Boris, 52, of Aliso Viejo, CA falls into this category, noting that she watches over four hours of TV per day.
She has a Cox premium package with more than 300 channels, a DVR, and HD service.
"I also usually have two or three pay channels and I rotate between Starz, HBO, Showtime and Cinemax," says Cynthia, who describes herself as a "huge TV fan."
And with Cynthia's viewing habits falling fairly close to the averages, Stuart says it's not surprising that the number of paid TV subscriptions is stable.
"People talk about [television] as though it's a dying medium, but the numbers do not support that," says Stewart.
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