5 reasons why we still keep a cable subscription
Recent surveys indicate that a growing number of population is turning their attention from regular TV and shifting to other screen. Majority of the shift is directed towards internet-based screens — smartphones, tablets and computers with on-demand services.
After not having over-the-air and cable TV for about 10 years at home, I decided to subscribe to cable plan from Sky (I pay around Php700+ a month to hook up two TV sets which is a little cheaper than the Php500 a month Destiny Global I used to have over 10 years ago). Aside from the fact that I was looking to watch a lot of cable news (CNN, ANC), the other people in the house (driver and house help) were also longing for regular TV shows and occasional schedule of movies.
And while I have also moved my habits to multiple screens — Chromecast for YouTube streaming, Apple TV for podcasts, Hooq for older episodes of TV series and a few movies in the archives — there are still some compelling reasons why a cable subscription is necessary.
1) Access to Premium Channels. Domestic, regional and international channels are still mostly available in cable-only subscriptions. If you mostly watch international broadcasts such as CNN, Bloomberg or Al Jazeera, then getting a regular cable subscription is the easiest and cheapest way to watch them round-the-clock. Same goes with sports channels and entertainment channels (The Food Network, Cartoon Network, History Channel). Let’s face it, there is not much to watch in local free TV channels and cable channels still offer the widest range of selection.
2) Pay Per View. The name Pacquiao can be the single biggest reason why pay-per-view is still a hot ticket. Granted that it is expensive at times (the last Pacquiao-Mayweather fight costs Php2,500 on PPV), it is still the single biggest venue to watch huge global events from the comforts of your home.
Aside from that, there are other special content in the line-up that can be pulled from the catalog at any time although you’ll have to add premium payment for that as well (like Sky on Demand).
3) Self-produced Content. HBO is very good at producing their own content and one of the best ones that is currently running is Game of Thrones. That series alone is well worth paying the monthly cable subscription.
4) Faster Internet Speeds outside of Fiber. Fiber connection is still the most stable and reliable form of internet connection. But, access to a fiber line is very sparse. The only other alternative that can offer speeds ranging from 24Mbps, 55Mbps, 100Mbs and 200Mbps would be cable (e.g. SKYbroadband). Granted that they’re not that affordable and will cost you somewhere between Php5k to Php20k, it’s still an option if your work heavily relies on the internet.
5) HBO Go. Unlike most other streaming services, HBO GO allows you to enjoy immediate and unlimited access to every episode of every season of the best HBO shows, movies, comedy, sports and documentaries within 12 hours of its US release. No more waiting months before the episode gets listed so this will be more attractive to those who fervently follow their favorite TV series.
To access HBO GO, down download the app on the iTunes Store or the Google Play Store. HBO GO service is free for SKYbroadband subscribers 5Mbps unlimited and up with SKYcable Asia.
For the most part, people who have access to fast internet might have other means to get good content. There’s Netflix (VPN connection and cheaper monthly subscription), and other subscription-based services like Blink, iFlix and Hooq.
The ABS-CBN TV Plus is also a good alternative since it offers local and free TV for a one-time fee (I use it in the office instead since we don’t have cable there) although content is very limited.
However, in other areas where internet connectivity is not that reliable (which is like most parts of the country), a wired connection (or even satellite like Cignal) to a cable provider is the next ideal thing to get good content.