2019: the year I dropped all entertainment subscription plans - gHacks Tech News

2019: the year I dropped all entertainment subscription plans

This is somewhat of a personal story but it is probably one that is of interest to many out there.

For the past couple of years, I had Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions. I never subscribed to music streaming services because of the many alternatives out there.

I started with Amazon Prime a long time ago to reduce shipping costs. Amazon added more and more features and services to it, and eventually Amazon Prime Video.

I always saw it as an add-on to Prime and not something that I paid extra for. When Netflix became available in Germany, I decided to subscribe to the service after looking over the pond jealously for years.

While I was subscribed to both services, I have to admit that I did not really use them much. Sure, I watched a lot during my first month of Netflix and Amazon Prime, and the occasional show or movie throughout the years.

netflix membership end

In 2018, I started to analyze the time spend using these services and came to the conclusion that I did not really use them all that much.

There were months in which I did not watch a single show or movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime. It became clear to me that it was not worth it. With Netflix costing about €120 per year and Amazon Prime about €70 per year, I spend nearly €200 (about $226) per year on entertainment services that I did not use much.

Add to that the €210 that I'm forced to pay for a broadcast fee in Germany -- despite not watching any TV or listening to Radio -- I'd spend about €450 per year for these three.

While I cannot get rid of the broadcast fee, as it is forced even if you don't watch any TV or listen to Radio, I could cancel my Amazon Prime and Netflix subscriptions.

For Netflix, it was an easy decision. The streaming service offers some good shows but the number of movies and shows that are available is relatively low. Netflix does add shows and movies regularly, but it always felt like a dozen or so new additions of which maybe one or two could be interesting, and that was not really worth it.

Amazon Prime was a bit different as it included not only Video but also free shipping and other benefits. The Prime Video content on the other hand was not better than Netflix's offering; not enough content to warrant a subscription. So, I decided to cancel it as well and change my buying habits as well (buy less on Amazon, and mostly when free shipping is included).

The streaming landscape, at least that of TV and movie shows, will become even more fragmented in the future as it is. It will even lead to more fragmentation and more subscriptions that you need to access it all.

The alternatives

While I don't watch a lot of shows or movies, I like some very much and completely ignoring all of them was never an option.

Here is how I handle, and plan to handle, things in 2019:

  • Buy DVD or Blu-Ray shows or movies, preferably when they are discounted or offered on marketplaces like eBay. I understand that this may cost more than what the yearly subscriptions cost. Then again, the shows and movies that I want to watch are not on Netflix or Amazon Prime (last examples: Death in Paradise and Poriot TV show) and I can play them whenever I want wherever I want, even without Internet. Doing so will reduce media consumption as I have to think about the purchases and not just click on play.
  • Watch interesting shows on YouTube and other platforms. There are lots of cool shows out there that I'm more interested in than in shows and movies that get  arguably worse and worse.
  • Listen to Internet Radio streams.
  • Listen to Podcasts.

I'd consider an offer like Spotify, but for movies and TV shows. If a service would offer everything, more or less, and for a reasonable price, I'd probably would subscribe to it.

The likelihood of that happening is relatively low, though. Maybe after some mergers or consolidations.

Now You: Are you subscribed to media services on the Internet?

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2019: the year I dropped all entertainment subscription plans
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2019: the year I dropped all entertainment subscription plans
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Here is why I decided to cancel all my entertainment subscription plans in 2019 and going forward.
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Comments

  1. New Tobin Paradigm said on February 11, 2019 at 8:21 pm
    Reply

    Good on you dude!

    Allow me to share a quote from Babylon 5:
    “I don’t watch TV. It’s a cultural wasteland filled with inappropriate metaphors and an unrealistic portrayal of life created by the liberal media elite.”

  2. Anonymous said on February 11, 2019 at 8:25 pm
    Reply

    The forced broadcast fees are outright theft. Not to mention the irony of paying for the ‘privilege’ to be brainwashed.

    1. egalis88 said on February 11, 2019 at 10:04 pm
      Reply

      thats utterly Bullshit. mostly uneducated ppl w/o clues and trends to populism & altfacts spread such shit.
      german news + dokumentaries + researches + reports are one of the best you can find out there. I gladly pay that fee to keep up that quality.
      if you want to see where private/ad dependend tv leads to- look rtl, pro7, sat and other trash. or fox. there you have your brainwashing

      1. NotAnonymous said on February 12, 2019 at 12:10 am
        Reply

        @egalis88,

        No one should be forced to pay for something they don’t use or don’t want to use.

        Do you live in Germany??? No, of course not, so don’t go criticizing Anonymous for stating the obvious.

        [Comment edited by admin. Please don’t attack other users personally]

      2. NotAnonymous said on February 12, 2019 at 12:02 pm
        Reply

        Martin,

        If you’re going to censor my post by deleting half of what I posted, then have the decency to add to add the text “I, Martin, deleted half the post due to wrong-think.”

        It’s disingenuous to censor a post and not mention your censorship.

        Don’t worry, I won’t post anything to your page even again. Why would I bother to post anything useful if it will get censored in the future.

        This includes corrections to your articles, since in the past, your articles have needed correction and I have posted the corrections in the comment section. That will stop immediately, I don’t care if your articles are incorrect anymore.

        Ironic that you should censor, since you live in Germany. Enjoy the fruits of your Orwellian wrong-think future.

      3. Martin Brinkmann said on February 12, 2019 at 12:04 pm
        Reply

        I don’t allow attacks on other users, never have, never will. You are right that I should have added a remark to the comment.

      4. Anonymous said on February 12, 2019 at 3:00 pm
        Reply

        “I don’t allow attacks on other users, never have, never will.”

        Maybe in the interest of transparency you should define what a forbidden attack on other users is, considering the mass of allowed insults flying all over the place since forever here. This would dispel any suspicion of arbitrariness in censorship.

      5. Martin Brinkmann said on February 12, 2019 at 4:08 pm
        Reply

        Just be polite. If you find something that looks like an attack to you let me know about it using the contact options and I check it out and handle it.

      6. supergirl said on February 13, 2019 at 2:16 am
        Reply

        Martin’s Moderating is Near perfect.

        I Have had Imposters post as me…..
        They cut & paste things I have actually posted mixed up together
        to make me look foolish.

        I DONT CARE.

        I think others probably figured out its not me…as it was totally nonsensical.

        I was rude in a reply segment & then Apologized….
        I typed a bit about myself & my views which drifted into politics.

        & got a Completely oppositional political reply. *sigh*

        He closed the comments…..Sorry! …. To All & to Martin.
        He strikes me as being a Very reasonable person.

        Perhaps you are too…after you calm a bit.

      7. Rush said on February 13, 2019 at 4:38 pm
        Reply

        @Supergirl

        “I Have had Imposters post as me…..
        They cut & paste things I have actually posted mixed up together
        to make me look foolish.”

        What I thought was a coincidence, after your reveal, now I’m not so sure.

        Someone posted with my same moniker (couple of weeks ago) and they said absolutely nothing. hmmmmmmm…

        And you are right Martin, personal attacks or ad hominem attacks serve no purpose and are easy to be considered unacceptable.

      8. Glenn said on February 12, 2019 at 4:27 pm
        Reply

        Except when it suits you?

        Calling something said by someone else “utter bullshit” is still a personal attack. I guess it’s all about just how you’re “attacking”, eh?

        I just think it’s unfortunate that you can’t let people agree to disagree.

        I used to moderate a well-known forum. Unless someone was making actual threats, I’d let people have their say. There’s really nothing more important in human culture than to let people express their views and beliefs–no matter who is offended by those expressions… including but not limited to admins and mods; because everyone has the right to believe whatever they choose to believe, and to express those beliefs, no matter how stupid someone else might think those beliefs are.

        All I’m saying here is that your double-standard is showing… and it ain’t pretty.

        …and now, back to our regular programming…

      9. John Fenderson said on February 14, 2019 at 5:52 pm
        Reply

        @Glenn: “Calling something said by someone else “utter bullshit” is still a personal attack.”

        I disagree. It may be rude, but it’s not a personal attack. A personal attack is when someone is disparaging the person rather than their argument. Saying that the argument a person made is bullshit is still attacking (weakly) the argument, not the person.

      10. RX9 said on April 4, 2019 at 11:23 am
        Reply

        So why does egalis88 get away with it?

        “That’s utterly bullshit” – trivialising Anonymous’ opinion on the topic.
        “mostly uneducated ppl w/o clues and trends to populism & altfacts spread such shit.” – Basically passively lumping Anonymous into said group.

        If you don’t see that as an attack, I’m calling bias.

      11. Panama said on February 12, 2019 at 2:19 pm
        Reply

        Martin, thanks for the smile on my face.

      12. Anonymous said on February 12, 2019 at 2:53 pm
        Reply

        “No one should be forced to pay for something they don’t use or don’t want to use.”

        It’s not that simple, because there would go all tax supported public services, to be replaced by private services that would mostly cater to the needs of the wealthiest, those being finally freed from having to pay their share for the basic needs of the masses that are actually producing the wealth.

      13. bear said on February 14, 2019 at 12:52 pm
        Reply

        No society, a capitalist one or some other, is possible without everyone being forced to accept some thinks that they personally don’t like, including paying for things they don’t like. Even the system of private property is a legal rule that is invented and upheld through force in society. So for someone to in the first place get any money others must in practice be forced in a number of ways. Force is inevitable. This is just a simple fact about life in a society where people have different preferences at different times in their lives.

        For example in many countries taxes help partly fund sport activities like football fields for kids. I don’t play football. Does it then make sense for me to call that theft, forcing, orwellian state bullshit, etcetera? No, of course not. Funding for public service television and radio can be defended as a public good in a similar way to how research, education, sites for sports, and much more.

        Some countries have for historical reason done the public service broadcasting funding through an obligatory fee rather than through the regular tax system. One idea has been that such a setup will make public broadcasting less vulnerable to pressure through punitive defunding action from the political party that at the moment is in power. But some countries do it through the tax system. There are some arguments for and against those two methods of collecting the funds but there isn’t really a principled difference.

        Now back to the actual topic:

        Martin, one alternative to mention is to subscribe to services like Netflix only in short periods. Wait 6 months until enough new good shows are available and then subscribe for a month and watch them all. Repeat.

      14. Anonymous said on February 12, 2019 at 12:52 am
        Reply
      15. George said on February 12, 2019 at 1:59 am
        Reply

        Totally agree with egalis88.

    2. asd said on February 12, 2019 at 10:26 am
      Reply

      Same forced TV tax in Italy. It is beyond outrageous.

    3. AnorKnee Merce said on February 12, 2019 at 1:16 pm
      Reply

      It’s fairer if only TV/radio sellers and/or buyers pay the TV/radio broadcast tax that finances public or government TV/radio channels in Germany, and not every household.

      Some governments like to have a wide tax-net that traps more people into paying = more tax revenue.

      Germany has a population of 82 million = about 20 million households = 20 million X Euro200 per year = E4,000 million or E4 billion in TV/radio taxes per year.

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 12, 2019 at 1:23 pm
        Reply

        They get even more as businesses have to pay as well. More than 8 billion per year.

  3. John Fenderson said on February 11, 2019 at 8:50 pm
    Reply

    “Are you subscribed to media services on the Internet?”

    I cancelled my Netflix account a few years back, because of their support for the EME in HTML5. I do have an Amazon Prime account (although I prepaid for a year, and plan to ditch it once it expires), but I have never actually used their streaming service, and I probably won’t.

    I am a paid subscriber to YouTube, which (if you don’t count Prime, as I don’t) is the only internet media service I subscribe to.

    1. Harro Glööckler said on February 11, 2019 at 9:47 pm
      Reply

      Just a friendly advice if you’re paying for YT because of no ads:
      – PC: any adblock helps, i prefer uBlock Origin
      – Android: Youtube Vanced; it also supports background playback

      No need feed Google with additional money, they already have enough of it.

      1. John Fenderson said on February 11, 2019 at 10:46 pm
        Reply

        @Harro Glööckler

        Thanks, I am aware of those options (and more). I don’t have a problem with paying for a service that I use, even if it’s to Google. YouTube is literally the only Google service that I use anymore (and I only use that on a tablet that is devoted to YouTube and not used for anything else), and I have been seriously considering ceasing to use YouTube.

  4. George P. Burdell said on February 11, 2019 at 8:55 pm
    Reply

    My Netflix subscription here in the USA has been priced at $5 per month for many years. Now I hear it will jump to $8 per month. At that price I receive the loan of two DVD disks per month, one at a time, and no streaming. By now I have already seen about every movie made that is worth my time to watch, so I am on the edge as to canceling Netflix, but will continue for a while. Maybe if your Netflix bill is too high you could subscribe at a lower level with fewer privileges.

    The movies I have not seen tend to be black and white, often silent films from the early 1900’s. One of the best movies ever made is The General starring Buster Keaton, available free on Archive.org. Check it out!

    As regards Amazon Prime, I have never been a member, although I regularly shop on Amazon. Shipping is always free for me anyway, since I wait to order anything until my accumulated total order exceeds their free shipping threshold. The other features of Prime beyond free shipping do not appeal to me.

    The USA has no national tax to support radio and TV, but I am delighted that the Germans and the British do! Thank you all very much! I spend hundreds of hours a year listening to the BBC on Internet radio, and can unreservedly recommend their huge library of podcasts to any of my fellow gnathostomata out there.

    To sum up: Martin you have been very generous with your purse! Money you don’t spend counts the same as income you don’t have to earn. “The art of living easily as to money is to pitch your scale of living one degree below your means.” – Sir Henry Taylor

    1. H Davis said on February 12, 2019 at 5:56 pm
      Reply

      For those cancelling subscription services; you may be interested in Tubi TV, Crackle and the Roku Channel (a Roku player not needed). These are free but do have ads.

      As for “The USA has no national tax to support radio and TV”, I would disagree somewhat. PBS and NPR get a minor part of their support from the general taxes levied by the U. S. government. In addition most of the local affiliates operate as non-profit organizations and pay no income taxes; another government subsidy.

      1. Clairvaux said on February 13, 2019 at 3:45 am
        Reply

        @ H Davis

        Since the discussion has veered into politics, let me chime in for a second and correct a fallacy. You say :

        “PBS and NPR get a minor part of their support from the general taxes levied by the U. S. government. In addition most of the local affiliates operate as non-profit organizations and pay no income taxes; another government subsidy.”

        Public television getting a minor part of their revenue from subsidies (I note you said minor) is, indeed, a subsidy.

        Being exempted from taxes is not a subsidy. That’s just the government doing what it should : leave people well alone.

        Saying a tax exemption is a subsidy is straight socialist thinking. The underlying assumption is that all your money belongs to the government, and any amount left to you is a gift. Let me correct that : it’s not even socialist thinking, it’s downright communist thinking.

        Now some entities being forced to pay tax and others being exempted might be construed as an injustice. But the normal, fair reaction to that is to ask lower taxes for everybody, not the other way round.

    2. John Fenderson said on February 12, 2019 at 5:59 pm
      Reply

      @George P. Burdell: “Money you don’t spend counts the same as income you don’t have to earn.”

      Indeed. When I was young, I dated the daughter of the wealthiest man in my city. I asked him what’s the key to getting rich. His response: “Make sure your outgo is always less than your income. It’s not how much money you’re taking in that matters, it’s how much you keep.”

  5. Luca said on February 11, 2019 at 8:56 pm
    Reply

    Our town library is allowing to rent DVDs, for free.

  6. zakius said on February 11, 2019 at 8:59 pm
    Reply

    “Buy DVD or Blu-Ray shows or movies, preferably when they are discounted or offered on marketplaces like eBay”
    uh no, waiting till them release BD in US can take up to several years, and shipping costs would be astronomic
    but I’m really getting pissed off already, paying for a service, paying for unblocker and still not being able to use it cause licensing is messed up and routing even worse? no thanks, I’m going back to the olden ways

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 11, 2019 at 9:23 pm
      Reply

      I don’t mind the wait time; it is sometimes difficult to avoid spoilers but if you wait long enough, most movies and TV shows can be bought for a very good price.

      1. zakius said on February 12, 2019 at 4:01 am
        Reply

        if they ever get released in English, and still shipping through the ocean is quite costly itself
        and still I’d have to grab a BD drive and deal with all the annoyances coming with BDs (it’s still as bad as it was in DVD times but harder to avoid, right?)

        there are so many services that just won’t let me pay and some that will let me pay but not use them it’s just ridiculous
        oh, and if something actually works it doesn’t have the show I want cause someone else has exclusive license

        living in a second world country isn’t a piece of cake unfortunately, and even the first world is tormented by many issues coming from not understanding how market works (better service is more popular, especially if it’s free… price and quality speak louder than morals)

      2. Shiro said on February 12, 2019 at 10:27 am
        Reply

        I used to buy DVDs. Now my closet is too full, and selling them is nigh impossible (people no longer want to own discs, they get Netflix).

        So I stopped buying, never went to Bluray format. Like you, I have A Prime from DE, because of shipping. So if the urge gets me, I can watch a movie there.

        Or watch my Poirot english imported DVDs again :-)

  7. Anonymous said on February 11, 2019 at 9:24 pm
    Reply

    Enjoy re-discovering your local public library. It offers more than books.

  8. user17843 said on February 11, 2019 at 9:30 pm
    Reply

    A couple of years ago I watched all movies on Netflix that were relevant for me within a couple of months, and then realized that it had nothing to offer anymore.

    The new stuff they add seems to be routed in some strange ideology of political correctness. The soul that is essential for a movie is gone, it feels political. You can’t simply produce art in a mechanical way, like Netflix tries.

    Here’s the a couple of movies I watched and really liked on Netflix:

    – Fifth Element (1997)
    – Rushmore (1998)
    – Adaptation (2002)
    – Prince of Persia (2010)
    – Lone Ranger (2013)
    – Les Miserables (2012)
    – Riphagen (2016)
    – Winter in Wartime (2008)
    – Wall-E (2008)
    – Oliver Twist (2005)
    – Mrs Doubtfire (1993)
    – Argo (2012)
    – Today’s Special (2009)
    – Her (2013)
    – Forrest Gump (1984)
    – The Cider House Rules (1999)
    – I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

    Most of them are from another time, when movies were still art.

    I have Amazon Prime, and have not found a single movie I enjoyed.

    Netflix focuses on their own productions now, and some from the above movies were probably deleted from their database over time.

    If there was a service offering an extremely broad selection from the beginning of cinema until 2010 or so I would probably spend lots of money to buy access to it.

    I am considering buying access to Spotify, as they offer lots of value.

  9. Harro Glööckler said on February 11, 2019 at 9:37 pm
    Reply

    No way i’ll ever pay for new music, tv series or movies since they lack something called “quality”. I can proudly say i didn’t watch tv since 2002 and didn’t listen to any radio stations since 2011.

    Everything i watch and listen to is downloaded from p2p, mainly because it’s impossible to buy it. My 1998-2005 electronic music collection consists of one-hit wonders you won’t find anywhere on Ebay because they’re too rare and released only on vinyl, which are useless for me. Same goes with movies and series – i prefer 80’s and 90’s German dubs you can find only on VHS tapes i am unable to play.

    If i’ll ever subscribe to any streaming service, i’ll most likely watch all interesting content in the first month of and then cancel it before they bill me…i did the same with Origin Access and their games.

  10. Wayfarer said on February 11, 2019 at 9:44 pm
    Reply

    Services like Netflix and Amazon Prime (and Sky/NowTV in the UK) aren’t just a ripoff – they’re designed and formulated to be ripoffs. Their business algorithms have nothing to do with fair pricing, they’re simply aimed at determining how much undiscerning people can be conned into paying.

    And apart from outrageous costs, there simply isn’t the quality content to support these services – the level of mind-numbing dross – often ageing and repeated dross – is unbelievable. Most movies seem aimed at the average 10-year old, and the occasional inclusion of explicit content seems only there to justify an adult certificate on an otherwise juvenile movie.

    There is some good stuff around, but not enough to even remotely justify a subscription service. I find my own needs are more than adequately met by catchup TV services (I rarely have time or patience for live TV) and the occasional purchase of a DVD (as often as not for pennies from a charity shop within months of original release.)

    1. bk said on February 12, 2019 at 6:17 am
      Reply

      bravo for the local charity shop & the pointer to archive.org

      another good source is the rescue/ reuse/ revolve/ recover shops that are attached to the local rubbish tip – my kids & i love ‘going for a scav’, and all the promise that it holds as we eagerly pick through the piles!

      … now, if only i could convince my wife that it’s a good thing coming back with more than i took?

      ‘stan’ streaming service seems alright the few nights that i watched when staying with relatives recently – one series that springs to mind was called ‘electric dreams’ which was an adaptation of some of pk dick’s stories (we’re planning to subscribe to that for a month or two at a time, binge watch then cancel)

      i frequently and regularly find a tonne of unheralded music on bandcamp, where if you’re keen-eyed, there are freebies to be found in the form of artists (and the platform) publishing with a ‘pay what you like’ pricetag… as long as you can handle the slightest bit of ‘guilting’ that the platform imposes on you when you ring up with a $0 pricetag }:P

      my missus is listening to streaming from django every other day and it’s only costing us bandwidth – you can subscribe if you wish

  11. John said on February 11, 2019 at 9:52 pm
    Reply

    Yes. I can’t afford a traditional cable television package, and I don’t live in an area where I can receive any channels over the air.

    Usually, what I do is this: During football season, sign up for a live television channels via Internet thing to watch my favorite team, and other entertainment. Outside of football season, sign up for things like Netflix, Amazon Prime, CBS All-Access, or Hulu *usually one at a time*, on a monthly basis. Basically, catch up on top priority shows each has, and then switch to the next thing the next month after I finish, rinse and repeat. If it’s not football season and there is nothing I really want to see that I haven’t seen anywhere or have seen but want to watch again, my default is Netflix. I also of course have legal free to watch stuff like the Roku Channel, Reuters News, etc. on my Roku box connected to my television- by themselves they aren’t really anything that would provide enough to be my main source of video entertainment, but they can be supplemental to a primary paid source, or something that gets me through a few days if I have to go without a paid service for a few days to align it with when I can pay for it.

  12. Anonee said on February 11, 2019 at 10:18 pm
    Reply

    This shows the difference between personal taste as well as the location you reside.
    Personally, I could never cancel my Netflix subscription. I’ve had Netflix since around 2006-2007 when it was a DVD rental service that put Blockbuster out of business (thanks to people like me).
    Since then it has become a streaming service, which is even better than waiting for DVDs to arrive – and they have their own original shows/movies they are constantly adding.
    Very good value considering it’s only around ~$10 a month depending on the plan you pick, plus it helps that we don’t have a broadcasting fee/tax in the USA.

    However, I do understand the desire to cut back on internet subscriptions for sites/services you just aren’t using anymore because then you’re just wasting your money.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 11, 2019 at 10:28 pm
      Reply

      The Netflix content is way better in the US than in Germany. Was it double the content or even more? Cannot remember.

      1. Anonee said on February 12, 2019 at 11:35 am
        Reply

        Well when it comes to their original content, it’s the same selection across all countries.
        However when it comes to content from other studios/companies, then the selection differs from country to country.

        Some countries have content we don’t get or we both get something but they get it first or get to keep it longer than we do. Other times it’s the opposite.

        The r/Netflix subreddit is a good place to get in touch with Netflix users from around the world. I don’t have any personal experience with the Netflix selection in Germany so it’s better to ask other users such as on that subreddit.

  13. nobody said on February 11, 2019 at 10:27 pm
    Reply

    @Martin
    I can say many things but Sir Peter Finch said it better:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTN3s2iVKKI

    Now fast forward in 2019 and add next to “television” word also “the internet” and there you have it….it happened….world’s IQ is on free fall.
    Maybe it’s a good thing after all, as they want us to sleep so they can manipulate us easier into extinction.
    Choice is yours

    Note: this picture made me stop watching TV 4 years ago. Now fighting with “the web” and getting closer day by day ;)

  14. seeprime said on February 11, 2019 at 10:52 pm
    Reply

    Since we cut the cord, I like Netflix showing the previous season of many syfy and CW shows. My wife and I hate commercials, So, we subscribe to Hulu’s commercial free offering at $12 per month. We save $150 on cable, and pay under $95 per month for “high speed” DSL (4K HDR works) which includes the three services. Also, we installed a digital antenna in our attic that feeds an amplifier which has the old cable connections plugged into it, for watching local news, etc.

    I enjoy reading how other people have coped with the insane pricing of all forms of media.

  15. HeeeeeeHawwwwww said on February 11, 2019 at 10:54 pm
    Reply

    option number 4, be a streaming pirate like me and pirate everything. HeeeeeeeeeeeeHawwwwwwwwwwww

    1. Rush said on February 13, 2019 at 4:52 pm
      Reply

      @HeeHaw, So what you are saying is…the internet is your friend.

      As a resident of the United States, I do feel a twinge of guilt…but only for a second or so, and yes, I don’t pay for streaming sports, movies, certain TV shows, because of the many reasons mentioned so far on this thread. I have a feeling tho…studios will grease palms of the Feds, and a crackdown looms….until then…I won’t pay.

  16. someone said on February 11, 2019 at 11:02 pm
    Reply

    need I mention Kodi, 3rd party add ons and a VPN ;-)

  17. dmacleo said on February 11, 2019 at 11:08 pm
    Reply

    no cable option here, used directv for years before dumping. only 5 ota channels here.
    use ota (embry server), netflix, prime and hulu now.
    not perfect but fills our needs, the odd show I can’t get……..I do end up getting…..

  18. Tom Hawack said on February 11, 2019 at 11:29 pm
    Reply

    Martin, I feel your decision as a breath of fresh air, as a pause in this speedy world to sit down and think, and your conclusions seem to me relevant of lucidity and quality over quantity.

    I think we should all question ourselves about what we wish versus what we have, are we following or are we walking towards our true quests?

    I am not subscribed to any media services on the Internet, and don’t intend to. Not only am I not interested in arts managed as candies or potatoes but I even happen to consider that a screen of a smartphone is ridiculous compared to a PC or TV output and that these are ridiculous compared to what cinema theaters offer. Same for music, nothing compares to a live performance. Same for painting, sculpture when galleries, museums are the closest you can get to the truth of the work and to that of the artist.

    My belief is that the Internet doesn’t play in the same league as reality, it does things nicely to get a look, a first impression. but it is virtual, like TV and radio, it represents what is elsewhere, it is not that elsewhere.

    I go to the movies, concerts and when those have impacted me (you recall them day after day, you know what I mean) then I buy a support to be able to later on view and listen to their ersatz. Books, even though digital support, fortunately survive better.

    I’m a radio fan nevertheless, far more than a TV aficionados. So many radios on the Web that the problematic is to find what you like and not what is available. I have about a hundred I switch to when I have a given genre in mind, otherwise I just discover randomly when I have time to spare wandering. TV? Dozens of channels here of which, IMO, 90% are ads supported by stupid programs mixed with old American soap-operas. Craps. I watch practically only French public television and ARTE, the remaining commercial channels are essentially worth slightly less than zero.

    So, no. I wouldn’t spend a penny for Web media services, when 0.9 cents would be lost. Not worth it.

    1. Apparition said on February 11, 2019 at 11:48 pm
      Reply

      I wholeheartedly agree with you that watching a television program or movie on a smartphone screen is ridiculous. However, you can watch video streaming services just fine on your PC monitor or large screen television.

      As for cinema being better than watching a movie or television program at home or going to a live music performance being better than listening to music at home, I will have to respectfully disagree. The average movie ticket price these days is about $15, sometimes $20, then it’s another $20 at the concession stand. Then, after paying $35 or $40, I have the “pleasure” of accidentally being drenched in Coca-Cola from the neck down by someone working at the concession stand (actually happened, true story), or have a three year-old sitting behind me repeatedly kick the back of my seat and scream throughout the entire film, or have multiple people in the theater text message people and/or play mobile video games, or have someone pull the theater’s fire alarm in the middle of the film for giggles and force everyone to evacuate (again, actually happened, true story). No thank you.

      1. John Fenderson said on February 14, 2019 at 5:58 pm
        Reply

        @Apparition: “I wholeheartedly agree with you that watching a television program or movie on a smartphone screen is ridiculous.”

        I don’t think that it’s ridiculous at all. All else being equal, a larger screen is better than a smaller one — but for most movies and TV shows, a small screen is perfectly serviceable and provides advantages that large screens can’t.

  19. Apparition said on February 11, 2019 at 11:36 pm
    Reply

    I’m currently subscribed to six different video streaming services, and two different music streaming services. On the video side, I’m currently subscribed to Amazon Prime Video ($10.80 per month), CBS All Access ($10.80 per month), CuriosityStream ($3.24 per month), Philo ($21.60 per month), WWE Network ($10.80 per month), and YouTube Premium ($10.80 per month). That’s $68.04 per month. Rumor is that WWE Network plans to increase their monthly fee another $5 per month in a few months as well, bringing it to $16.20 per month with tax.

    On the music side, I’m currently subscribed to Deezer Premium ($10.80 per month), and Pandora Premium ($10.80). I’m considering dumping one, but I’m not sure yet as they both have their pluses and minuses.

  20. Tony said on February 12, 2019 at 12:00 am
    Reply

    I used to subscribe to Amazon Prime, but I discovered that they lose content regularly enough that it wasn’t reliable.

    For example, I started watching The X Files TV show from the first episode. By the time I had gotten to the middle of season 3, Amazon cancelled providing that content.

    It was frustrating enough that I cancelled Amazon prime.

  21. Haakon said on February 12, 2019 at 12:13 am
    Reply

    I’ve been renting DVD and Blu-ray discs from Netflix since January, 2006. When the streaming service broke off from the disc rentals, the latter site went to dvd dot com.

    So far, I’ve rented over 1200. I was on the one-out at a time but a few years ago when I retired I went with two-out at a time. Watching the movie on the same day and getting it in the mail the next meant a movie a week, and now two a week.

    Current USA pricing is 10 and 15 bucks a month for Blu-ray and 8 and 12 for DVD with unlimited rentals per month. Depending on your mail service and movie availability, it’s possible, but rare, to get in two or three movies a week. No late fees, free shipping & returns, first month free, cancel anytime.

    So, for me, about $1.75 a movie.

    The newest movies show up for rental three to six months after the theater run, about the same time the discs arrive at the store or the titles show up, if they do, on HBO, Showtime… When I see a movie I like trailered on teh webbuhnitz or TV, I look it up on dvd dot com and place it my queue. Right now I have fourteen January and February releases in the to-go queue and forty seven 2018-2019 titles in the saved queue. “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” should arrive in my mailbox shortly. “The Front Runner” in on its way.

    The DVD and Blu-ray movie and TV show library is mind-blowing. And 99.999% of it will NEVER stream on Netflix and if you dispute that, you are misinformed/unaware.

    Last year a couple I met recently signed up just to rent all 34 discs of seasons one thru seven of Game of Thrones. Right now they’re working on Westworld. Rome and Silicon Valley are next. Movies in between. Up until I told them about dvd dot com, they didn’t know it existed.

    Of course, one needs a player and flat screen. Or (please refrain from laughing) an optical drive equipped laptop, notebook or PC. Viewing on a toaster pastry or microwave dinner tray sized device is not an option.

    1. Apparition said on February 12, 2019 at 12:57 am
      Reply

      Of course, on the opposite end of that a lot of newer television shows don’t release on optical media, or only on DVD at best. Amazon Prime Video does not release any of their original content on optical media. FOX only releases their new television shows on DVD, not Blu-Ray. Sorry, but in 2019 DVD just doesn’t cut it IMO. In both cases, if you want to watch them in HD (or watch them at all), you’ll need to watch them digitally.

      1. Haakon said on February 12, 2019 at 7:51 pm
        Reply

        So, not everything is available to everyone everywhere? And if it isn’t in one venue it’s in another? Who knew?? Thanks for that gifted, ingenious insight!

        And since you brought it up, “HD” is relative. The HD I get from the Prime Video stream, at 16-20 Mbps on my gear, does not, will not and never will equal the HD of a 35GB m2ts 1080P video decoding at 40 Mbps. Which is not to dismiss Prime – at times when congestion ramps the stream down to 10-12 Mbps, it still looks great. Hats off to ’em. (The Prime app is on the Blu-ray box, on the gigabit wired LAN, 100 Mbps cable, late model Samsung flat screen. 4K gear is in the budget for 2019, serious shopping to begin soon.)

        Those poor FOX fans, suffering DVD. So sad…

  22. Anonymous said on February 12, 2019 at 12:55 am
    Reply

    Here is how I handle, and plan to keep handling, things in 2019:

    – Downloading movies, games and porn via torrent for free and pay zero for entertainment.

  23. Anonymous said on February 12, 2019 at 2:17 am
    Reply

    Martin,
    I think that you will enjoy the rest of 2019 just fine. I echo the comments of others – – also check your local library.

    By the way, I am boycotting Spotify since it is one of the apps that continues to collect your data even after you delete it.

    ( https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-22/now-apps-can-track-you-even-after-you-uninstall-them )

  24. Yuliya said on February 12, 2019 at 2:55 am
    Reply

    Now You: Are you subscribed to media services on the Internet?
    Never been, never will be, most likely. I will never reward and encourage companies forcing nasty DRM practices on their users with my money. I want the freedom to do whatever I want with the file I aquired from the internet – play it whenever I want, offline or online, wherever I want, on the player, OS and hardware of my choice. If you as a company decide that you want to take away this freedom from me, then I’ll just find another way of aquiring a DRM-stripped copy of the media file I want. And you will never be able to stop me or anyone else from doing so, that’s the beauty! ;)

  25. anonymous said on February 12, 2019 at 5:26 am
    Reply

    There are legally free alternatives as well such as crackle.com or tubitv.com

  26. AnorKnee Merce said on February 12, 2019 at 7:44 am
    Reply

    I get all my media entertainment from the Internet for free, eg websites for video-streaming of catchup TV shows and old movies, live-streaming of TV News(eg BBC News, FOX News, etc), live-streaming of sports events, MV-streaming of music playlists, etc.

    Why are old catchup TV shows in USA, UK, Europe and Australia banned from most Internet users.? Imagine web-surfers not being allowed to watch old episodes of Friends or Seinfeld or Cheers.? It’s like M$ going after people for selling bootleg copies of Win XP or Win 98 online. Is this IP/copyright protection or censorship.?

    I do not use Kodi or Plex.

  27. Paul(us) said on February 12, 2019 at 8:32 am
    Reply

    I never understand TV series like for example: Dead in paradise.

    This because in 8 seasons from let’s say 20 episodes each season conservative calculated that will be around 160 people who have been murdered on a (making more victims than the whole Bermuda triangle) isle. That means that the whole population has died at least once. Percentile wise that will be the highest murder percent population wise speaking.

    And which tourist wants to go on a vacation or healthy thinking human being wants to emigrate to an aisle where the whole population, over the last 8 years has been murdered. No thanks, not me. :-)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 12, 2019 at 8:53 am
      Reply

      You could make the same argument for books, though. You cannot use logic like that when it comes to entertainment as you would probably end up with nothing to watch, listen to, or read (fiction) in the end ;)

    2. Tom Hawack said on February 12, 2019 at 10:43 am
      Reply

      @Paul(us), your comment opens a debate beyond the scope of this article but I must say I agree with you that blood is the easy way to captivate the audiences.

      Blood, and murder, its endpoint. Violence. I think it is French author Gide who wrote “On ne fait pas de bonne littérature avec de bons sentiments.” (“You don’t do good literature with good feelings”).

      Is this true? If it is we may admit that before murder there is a wide area for bad feelings, but also that bad feelings and ultimately murder doesn’t guarantee good literature nor a good movie. IMO what is hidden, suggested is always more powerful than what is indecently showed: good thrillers act on imagination and suggestion.

      I’ll go further: I believe you can do good literature (and movies) with good feelings, but it requires a great deal of talent which is maybe why the leading archetype of violence (psychological and physical) is so successful. Also because many of us get hooked on what frightens them (death) more easily than on what triggers their consciousness.

      I remain optimistic nevertheless. Maybe because the world is in crisis, we discover more and more literature and movies built upon a quest of beauty, beauty of emotions, beauty of emphasizing on the best of humans rather than on the worst. But if talent lacks, the fiasco is guaranteed : aunthenticity is imperative here.

  28. Wash said on February 12, 2019 at 9:01 am
    Reply

    I watch my washing machine doing the wash. Very relaxing, no commercials, no subscription.

  29. Emil said on February 12, 2019 at 9:47 am
    Reply

    My last real TV set died before the turn of the millenium. Then I realized it was a huge waste of time and attention and I never bought a new one. I have a real love of reading though. And digging in Youtube does turn up the occasional diamond so I don’t waste time and money on any subscription service at all!

  30. Jack said on February 12, 2019 at 10:19 am
    Reply

    “will become even more fragmented in the future”

    Yoho Yoho… Will become an even better option than it is now.

  31. Ascrod said on February 12, 2019 at 1:52 pm
    Reply

    If you cancel all of your streaming subscription services, is it still considered “cord-cutting”? :P

  32. Clairvaux said on February 12, 2019 at 2:12 pm
    Reply

    I don’t understand how anyone can pay for Amazon Prime. It’s such an obvious scam.

    Maybe some people already buy so much on Amazon that it’s worth it for them, but really… Shipping is free starting from a low minimum… it takes a bit longer, but who cares… and if you throw in a book, then shipping will be free anyway.

    Okay, people are illiterate now and don’t read books. Let’s say my comment is not for them.

    Subscription for anything is the largest scam that ever existed. You should stay out of that as much as you can. Unless you don’t count your money, of course.

    Subscription was a good deal when it was about newspapers. You’d make great savings if, instead of buying the paper every day, you bought a year of it outright. And you’d have the added bonus of having it delivered to your door.

    I’m speaking of daily newspapers, of course. I’m speaking of a time when you practically needed to read the paper everyday in order to be educated at a minimum level.

    Anything else, avoid. You can’t avoid subscriptions for electricity, the Internet, water maybe. That’s already too much.

    Pay the right price when you want to buy something, and don’t pay anything else the rest of the time. That much should be obvious.

    I don’t use Netflix, but it’s very interesting you said there were too few movies on it to justify the price. That’s the only thing for which I might consider subscribing to it. But if it’s not the Amazon bookshop equivalent of movies, why bother ?

    1. Apparition said on February 12, 2019 at 9:18 pm
      Reply

      Amazon Prime is more than about shipping, movies, and television programs. You also get one free eBook per month, the ability to backup of all your photographs to the cloud, the ability to borrow many eBooks and magazines from the Kindle Lending Library (just like a library), and have low cost food delivery, (which is good if you’re disabled or lack transportation). Now, whether or not those are worth it to you is a personal decision. But it’s not “a scam.”

      1. Clairvaux said on February 13, 2019 at 4:00 am
        Reply

        @ Apparition

        Yes, it’s a scam. Dangling all sort of goodies in front of you, the way you described it, is a scam, because there’s no way all Prime subscribers, or even most of them, would actually need and buy what is “offered” for “free”.

        The very nature of that hodgepodge list, which has everything in it but the kitchen sink, betrays the scam. You need to backup your pictures to the cloud ? Look for a service which does just that, study the market, compare features, check the prices, and choose what is appropriate. Indeed, there are many ways to backup your pictures to the cloud for… free.

        Same thing for every item on your list. Mixing all those unrelated services in one single offer prevents you from comparing prices on the market, and pressures you into paying for something you would never have bought if you had to pay for it separately.

        It’s very likely many Prime subscribers use services out of that list just because they have already paid for it, and the money would be lost otherwise. And it’s very likely many of them just don’t use a significant part of what they have bought.

        Daily newspaper subscription was not a scam, because only one product was on offer, and it was a straightforward decision to ponder if you needed it or not, and whether the price was right.

        The Amazon way of doing things, which is not limited to Amazon, by the way, is just a method to lure naive users to part from their money. Look ! we offer you this ! and that ! and that !

  33. John IL said on February 12, 2019 at 10:26 pm
    Reply

    Netflix spends far too much on original titles and doesn’t provide the value it once did. Many original tilte’s have not impressed myself or my wife. We watch Netflix less and less, which is why we downgraded to a basic plan. We talked that maybe quitting altogether if things don’t improve. Amazon Prime at least has other perks which we take advantage of, the Prime video is a joke as many titles are old and not relevant to many viewers. The originals by Amazon are on par with Netflix, with a few being well done and the rest just second rate productions not memorable.

  34. GL1zdA said on February 12, 2019 at 11:07 pm
    Reply

    I’ve had a Spotify subscription for about a year, then cancelled it, then resubscribed for a few months. It was nice for a while to find new music, but there were just to many CDs that were not available there. I also own dozens of CDs, which I rip to build my personal library.

    The only thing I subscribe now to is the official F1 TV. I don’t have a TV and didn’t like the Polish commentary available on one of the local platforms. Pirate streams were unreliable and this almost made me stop watching F1. I’ve subscribed to the official service as soon as they’ve launched. It was rough in the beginning (they were not prepared for the demand), it still had some technical issues with the “alternative streams”, but it’s good enough.

  35. Ken Saunders said on February 14, 2019 at 5:16 pm
    Reply

    I’ve been with Netflix since they started.
    Once larger companies started buying up other companies, Netflix started dropping a lot of TV shows and so I signed up with hulu.
    Now, I spend more time using hulu than any other service or even cable TV although, for now, I’m still keepin’ Netflix.

    Amazon Prime – too costly
    Google anything (of course YouTube)? No frikin’ way would I give them any financial info.

    I’m very pleased with hulu and have always found something that I like.
    I don’t know what hulu’s offerings in Europe and elsewhere are like, but, the commercial free plan is less expensive than Netflix’s 13.99.
    Perhaps you should give hulu a shot.
    All depends on what you like I suppose.

    As far as the noise. Do what the hell you want want.
    It’s your site, and running a site is a bishhh.

  36. Sanjay Nayak said on February 17, 2019 at 6:23 am
    Reply

    Martin/ All – is there a recommended device which can connect to the Internet and play audio streams or podcasts on a speaker? Something like a radio.

    I hate listening to podcasts on a mobile phone or a laptop (using ear plugs or otherwise) as it makes you stuck to a single place.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 17, 2019 at 8:08 am
      Reply

      You can buy Internet Radios which allow you to play Internet radio streams. I don’t use these devices and cannot recommend any, and don’t know if there is a device that supports podcasts as well. Note that there are two types of radios: those that require another device for streaming, and those that don’t.

      This looks promising but it is expensive: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Roberts-Radio-Stream93i-Internet-Speaker/dp/B008R8B8QC

    2. George P. Burdell said on February 17, 2019 at 12:55 pm
      Reply

      @Sanjay-

      https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Digital-3-5-Inch-Display-GDI-IRC6000/dp/B004YI9NTS

      I use the Grace Mondo radio. I’ve been using four of them for years. They are like a web browser made in the form of a bedside radio, with good sound. They have a color display screen, and have an extensive menu and index system. The manufacturer provides a searchable index of “stations” world-wide, and updates it periodically. You can’t add a URL on your own, which is a drawback, but you can petition via a web form to have an address added.

      If a station, such as BBC World Service, offers podcasts, you can dive in and select a program from long lists of titles. Or you can just listen to a live stream.

      Among the available 80,000 stations are about 75,000 I could not care less about, but among the rest are some real gems. Search by Genre or Location or Station Name, etc., and you will find much of interest.

      If that’s not enough, there is a USB port on the back, so you can plug in your own thumb drive loaded with MP3’s. Or you can browse your own NAS network disk drive over Wi-Fi, and entertain yourself that way. My entire music collection from the past half century is digitized and available at my fingertips. I fill my house with commercial-free and announcer-free music, or with news. Regarding the latter, on occasion I have called up local stations from some town experiencing some unfortunate disaster, to get more detail that the national networks would not have the time or patience for.

  37. TelV said on February 24, 2019 at 3:29 pm
    Reply

    @Sanjay,

    Download the free VLC player: https://www.videolan.org/

    Launch it and then click the “View” button at the top and then click “Playlist” in the menu which appears. From there, click “Icecast Radio” in the left hand menu. Here’s a screenshot of the choices you’ll get: http://imgbox.com/G3kDDswI

    As can be seen from the size of the scrollbar, there are hundreds more to choose from.

  38. Not Important said on February 24, 2019 at 11:07 pm
    Reply

    I get my episodic entertainment from free web novels from websites like topwebfiction.com and royalroad.com.

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