Ooh, genuine information from a genuine TV pro. We here at TVWriter™ love being able to bring you this look into how to get more for your money when it comes to indulging in what we assume is your second favorite pastime, watching TV.
We’re assuming, of course, that your fave is actually writing TV. Anyway:
by Michael Schneider
Garth Ancier is one of the few TV execs to have run three different networks, having headed up entertainment at Fox, The WB and NBC. He also spent time at Turner and BBC America, and was behind one of the biggest syndicated hits of the 1990s, “The Ricki Lake Show.” Traditional TV was once Ancier’s livelihood — but he’s not nostalgic when it comes to the changing ways we watch TV.
Recently, Ancier decided, like many consumers, that it was time to cut the cord — using social media to crowd source his choices. After plenty of research, he came up with a mix of over-the-top subscriptions to replace his old school setup: YouTube TV (with unlimited Cloud DVR), Netflix, Hulu (no commercials option) with Live TV, Amazon Prime, CBS All-Access (no commercials option), HBO Now, and Showtime.
Prior to the switch, Ancier was paying $142.97 a month for cable service, including HBO and Showtime (but not including equipment charges). The new total is $92.95, but includes Netflix 4k and Hulu with no commercials. (“I’m not including Amazon Prime in that because I’m an Amazon addict, and I’d get it for the free shipping alone.”)
The exec chronicled what he learned, and the pros and cons of how he did it, on Facebook. Most notably: He found that the video quality on video over IP was far superior to switched digital video via cable — another troublesome point for legacy multichannel video programming distributors as they lose customers to the Internet.
Ancier agreed to share some of those thoughts with IndieWire, as a bit of a primer for others who might also be considering a change.
“Honestly, I love that I can watch all of this anywhere on any device,” Ancier wrote. “The legacy MVPDs never understand the value that creates for a customer like me.”
Every consumer is different, and Ancier’s needs were very specific. He had previously been subscribed to Spectrum Cable in Los Angeles for his home’s 10 screens, in addition to Netflix and Amazon Prime service. But Ancier frequently travels and watches TV on the road via an iPad, and he found that Spectrum’s “out of home” offerings were lacking.
Add in Spectrum’s “crazy equipment costs” and he realized the only reason why he hadn’t canceled the service earlier was because of its live TV options (including HBO and Showtime).
Still, “I’m paying for the same networks on multiple services for just me,” he wrote, explaining why it was time to say goodbye to the old system.
In cutting the cord and switching to so many streams, Ancier said he depended on a “rock solid Cisco Meraki IP network powered by a Fixed IP Spectrum broadband modem.”
That was important, because Ancier noted he’s very picky when it comes to picture quality. Here was one early surprise: The video quality is better on over-the-top services, because they can use better compression schemes and present a better picture….