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Should You Cut the Cable Cord?

———

Americans still want their TV. It’s just fewer seem willing to pay for it.

Cable, satellite and telecom TV-service operators lost an estimated 400,000 customers during the second quarter, according to a report today in The Wall Street Journal. Some analysts told the paper that although the second quarter is typically weak, since college students temporarily disconnect dorm service at the end of the school year, the overall decline points to more consumers moving away from paid TV services, a practice known as “cutting the cord.”

Some doubt the trend will really catch on, pointing out that cord-cutting isn’t all that appealing for most TV junkies. “The average consumer, it’s not easy, affordable or reasonable to think that they can cut their cable,” says Dan Rayburn, an industry analyst with Frost & Sullivan. On top of that, some analysts question how much cord-cutters really save. After all, service providers often charge higher rates for Internet service when cable isn’t part of the package. And securing alternatives like over-the-air antennas and video-on-demand subscriptions adds to the cost.

Deciding whether it makes sense to cut the cord depends a lot on where you live, the shows you watch and other viewing habits. This reporter, who lives in an area where there’s a single cable provider, saved $60 a month by eliminating a cable-phone-Internet package in favor of a phone-Internet bundle with another provider. Free broadcast channels supply my news fix, and a monthly Hulu subscription covers most of the others shows I watch.

Here are some things to consider before making the switch:

Cutting the cord may work if you:

  • Don’t mind spoilers. Cord-cutters tend to be those who don’t feel they must be in front of the set on Sundays at 10 p.m. sharp for the latest episode of “Breaking Bad,” Rayburn says. Often, new episodes aren’t available to buy, rent or stream until the day after they’re broadcast.
  • Can handle a piecemeal solution. Paid TV substitutes “requires a number of additional steps and efforts,” says technology consultant Alex Goldfayn. That includes a willingness to watch on a laptop computer instead of a TV screen, and the ability to juggle different services and devices depending on the content you want to watch. “It’s not as simple as picking up the remote,” he says. But it can still be simple — devices like the $50-and-up Roku connect to your TV set and offer access to Hulu, Netflix, MLB.TV, Amazon on Demand and other services. (Most require separate, paid subscriptions.)
  • Live in New York City. Startup Aereo offers residents an hour of free live TV for free each day and bigger packages for as little as $8 per month. Users who subscribe can also record shows to watch later. The service currently works only on Apple devices.

Sticking with cable is preferable if you:

  • Are a serious sports fan. Live sports games are the one thing holding many viewers from cutting the cord. Some leagues offer streaming, others don’t or for a limited number of games only. The NBA, for example, offers league pass subscriptions for up to 40 live games, but only those that are out of the subscriber’s local market.
  • Love your premium channels. HBO offers a free streaming service, but it’s limited to people who are already paying for TV access on certain providers, Goldfayn says. iTunes and Amazon have some premium channel shows’ seasons and episodes for purchase, but others, like HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” aren’t available (legally, anyway).

It’ll be a tough call if you:

  • Watch a wide variety of TV. Cutting TV out of your phone-Internet-TV bundle often means paying a slightly higher rate for Internet, narrowing the savings in some cases to as little as $30 per month, Rayburn says. Consumers who need a number of new subscriptions to replace their must-see content may find the savings are negligible. Crunch the numbers before making the switch. Netflix streaming and Hulu Plus each costs $8 a month, for example, and new TV show episodes can cost as much as $3 apiece ($50 per season) on iTunes. Sports subscriptions like MLB.TV can add $20 a month, or $40 for an annual package.

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    • By WebOsPublisher

      Orb of Knowledge: Google Maps GIcon imageMap Property
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      skip to main |
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      Orb of Knowledge
      Information I find useful; thoughts I want to share.
      Friday, November 2, 2007
      Google Maps GIcon imageMap Property
      Been fooling around with Google Maps API lately. When using custom markers on the maps, you should specify the imageMap property, so that the markers are still clickable even when beneath a “shadow,” in Firefox. Yet the Google Maps API never describes the format in detail, simply stating it is “an array of integers representing the x/y coordinates of the image map we should use to specify the clickable part of the icon image in browsers other than Internet Explorer.”I searched high and low and could not find anyone that explained the format in more detail, but after studying the HTML image map formats, it became clearer that Google wants you to use the same format for this imagemap array as the “polygon” type of imagemap that HTML uses.Specifically, your x,y pairs should denote points OUTLINING the area you want to be clickable. In very simple terms, if you have a square icon that is 8×8, and you wanted the entire square to be clickable, you would use an array of: [0,0, 7,0, 7,7, 0,7]. The first pair is the top/left corner, the second pair is top/right, the third is bottom/right, and the fourth is bottom/left.They key is to think of your starting point, and traveling from point to point in order, encircling the area to make clickable for your GIcon (aka google.maps.Icon).
      Posted by
      Thomas
      at
      11/02/2007 10:23:00 AM
       
      Labels:
      GIcon,
      google maps,
      imagemap
      26 comments:
      Jeremy
      said…
      Thanks! This hint made my day! best regards from germanyjeremy
      Friday, May 23, 2008 7:06:00 AM PDT
      miki
      said…
      thanks! very useful ;)
      Tuesday, May 27, 2008 11:10:00 AM PDT
      Max
      said…
      And fixed another problem successfully! Great! Thanks! ;-)
      Friday, June 27, 2008 6:01:00 AM PDT
      driedfruit
      said…
      Thanks you! That information is ridiciously hard to find
      Friday, July 11, 2008 11:12:00 AM PDT
      Bernhard Schenkenfelder
      said…
      Thank you very much! This blog post was very helpful.
      Friday, October 10, 2008 1:35:00 PM PDT
      DhilliPrasad
      said…
      Thanks! This Was an outstanding post-Dhilli
      Wednesday, December 17, 2008 6:44:00 AM PST
      Anonymous
      said…
      Muchas gracias!!! Tu comentario fue muy Гєtil!!!MartГ­n.
      Monday, January 12, 2009 2:54:00 PM PST
      Anonymous
      said…
      damn man, you really rock, lol, that’s works perfectly in FF, cool comment… have a nice day cheers from Mexico.. ;)
      Saturday, January 24, 2009 3:01:00 PM PST
      Anonymous
      said…
      Thank you very much!It was hard to find this simple definition of “Icon.imageMap”.Thank you very much!:D
      Wednesday, March 18, 2009 3:22:00 PM PDT
      grosven
      said…
      Awesome dude! THANKS!
      Monday, March 30, 2009 11:11:00 PM PDT
      Anonymous
      said…
      Thanks for the note.
      Thursday, April 2, 2009 5:02:00 PM PDT
      jwheat3300
      said…
      I just wanted to say thank, couldn’t figure it out either. Google really should include an example!
      Wednesday, April 8, 2009 6:56:00 AM PDT
      Chiel
      said…
      Thanks a lot :)
      Thursday, May 28, 2009 2:23:00 AM PDT
      Luke Moynihan
      said…
      awesome thanks! I couldnt see any info on Googles docs about this
      Wednesday, August 19, 2009 9:22:00 PM PDT
      kajs
      said…
      the G_DEFAULT_ICON imageMap type is "poly". it uses more than just 4 points.
      Tuesday, October 27, 2009 12:08:00 PM PDT
      miha
      said…
      Thank you from Slovenia.
      Sunday, January 10, 2010 8:31:00 AM PST
      Angus Purcell
      said…
      This probably save me about an hour of mucking around! Thanks!Angus
      Tuesday, January 12, 2010 3:36:00 AM PST
      Dan
      said…
      Thanks so much, I’ve been fighting with this for nearly a day thinking it had to do with PNG files and transparency.
      Tuesday, January 12, 2010 1:51:00 PM PST
      Anonymous
      said…
      Thanks.
      Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:14:00 PM PST
      Hiroyuki
      said…
      Thank you! You saved my lots of time!
      Thursday, March 4, 2010 7:42:00 PM PST
      Diego
      said…
      Wow! Gracias! I had a hard time trying to figure this out… thank you for your help!
      Friday, March 26, 2010 3:28:00 AM PDT
      Anonymous
      said…
      Still up to dateThanks a lot
      Thursday, April 29, 2010 4:00:00 AM PDT
      Mark
      said…
      Many, many thanks!!
      Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:55:00 PM PDT
      local map marketing
      said…
      very nice work going .
      Thursday, October 28, 2010 2:00:00 PM PDT
      Headsets
      said…
      I think the problem is fixed.
      Sunday, October 9, 2011 12:49:00 AM PDT
      Anonymous
      said…
      Thanks, this really helps me understand ImageMap property of icon. But I was wondering if any one know the alternative of it in v3 API of Google maps?
      Wednesday, April 11, 2012 2:15:00 PM PDT
      Post a Comment
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    • I got rid of DISH a year ago. I signed up for TIVO,installed a great antennae (to the DISH cable) and have Amazon Prime. Total cost is approx $16 month, plus I get other benefits with Prime. I don’t miss the DISH at all (this surprised me). It amazes me how many people are struggling financially, but have huge cable bills. When I suggest cutting the cable they are shocked. It’s much easier than you think.

    • I have direct tv, HATED COMCAST! evryetime o gave them a chance I got pissed. Plus they cost too much. The cable does go out during bad storms, but comes back pretty quickly. My Internet I’d through at&t. Which is really not that bad!

    • Adele’s stage name came from the Western Island in Australia of the same name.  I wrote the song Rolling in the Deep about my relationship with Australian Michael Hutchence of INXS. Hutch and I met when I was 15 in 1983 after Joe Elliott of Def Leppard desiovcred me while on tour in the US promoting the Pyromania album. I also wrote Someone Like You

    • meant 5 years!

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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