For new homeowners, it’s often a challenging decision to choose between cable and Internet. Providers do a good job of offering bundles and discounts to entice families to purchase both, but in many cases, people are ditching standard cable in favor of devices like Apple TV or Chromecast that can connect a smart TV with the Internet. For major TV buffs, however, this greatly limits access to some of television’s greatest moments and programming. The Internet may be OK for watching re-runs of an old show, but when it comes to live TV, cable can’t be beat.
With the proliferation of social media, major live television programs have become even bigger shared experiences. Media Post reported that just one professional sports game can generate hundreds of thousands of tweets, changing a television show from a static piece of entertainment to a lively conversation and event.
Anyone without cable can be left struggling to find an online feed or otherwise kept in the dark for some of televisions best moments.
1. Presidential debates
As the election cycle continues to shock and inspire Americans around the country, the televised debates have seen unbelievable ratings. According to CNN, some of the early debates have brought in nearly 20 million viewers, meaning presidential politics are quickly becoming must-see TV.
The Pew Research Center stated that not only do Americans find the debates to be informative, but that seeing the prospective candidates go toe-to-toe can also be entertaining. For better or worse, the expected discourse for these events can at times be casual and candid, and viewers seem to be loving every minute of it.
For folks without cable TV services, it can be nearly impossible to watch the presidential debates and stay up to date on the latest happenings.
2. Professional sports
Americans love professional sports, and these are the bread and butter of cable TV. In fact, professional sports are so exciting that people plan parties and social events around watching an important playoff or championship game. Unfortunately for anyone without cable, doing so is not an option.
According to The New York Times, the 2016 College Football Championship game alone drew 25.7 million viewers, and odds are most sports fans spent the days leading up to and following the championship discussing the game at length. Having cable is a way to not only watch the big game but be caught up to speed with what everyone is talking and tweeting about.
Many folks who do not have cable may turn to illegally streaming live sports online, but for many obvious reasons that is far from advisable. Others must find a friend or family member who does have cable in order to watch the big game, or otherwise go to a loud bar or restaurant.
Unlike presidential debates, most major sporting events don’t come and go, they occur year-round every year. Without cable it can be next to impossible to catch the most important, exciting games of the season. As for special events, like the Olympics or World Cup, a cable connection may be the only way to get in on the action.
3. Award shows
Another major branch of television that comes with its fair share of hype is the various live award shows that air throughout the year. These are also big for Twitter and Facebook, and only people with cable can fully engage with both.
There are events like the Academy Awards or the Emmys that are high-profile, fabulous events that are dazzling to watch, while events like the Grammys or MTV Music Awards are full of live musical performances and celebrity antics. Sometimes unscripted events are the most exciting or even controversial, and without cable it’s possible to miss the next great celebrity faux pas.
4. Live musicals
Television networks have been leveraging the power of social media to earn as many viewers as possible, and for that reason the amount of live television events has increased in the past few years. For example, beloved musicals like “Peter Pan” and “The Wiz” have been performed live in primetime.
“Television networks have been leveraging the power of social media.”
Cinema Blend reported that “Grease” will be the next great television musical, headlined by Vanessa Hudgens and Julianne Hough. Anyone without cable will be left looking for a rerun online after the Twitter storm has passed and most people have moved on.
5. Reality TV
Some live television programs aren’t necessarily major social events, but they’re still exclusive to people with cable. Reality competitions like “American Idol” and “The Voice” air live every week, and without a cable connection, fans can’t watch live with everyone else online.
To make matters worse, not watching live means missing out on voting on who should stay and who should go. Fan voting goes a long way toward the evolution of a reality competition, and only folks with cable can watch live and vote in real-time.