WSJ Print Edition, Readers Struggle to Make Sense of It All

We asked WSJ Print Edition readers how they are juggling streaming services, or whether they’ve found a simpler way to just watch TV.

Cut cord, no regrets

I cut the cord when I realized that I hardly watched anything on cable, so why pay for it? I do not miss it at all. Instead, I juggle streaming services and love the option of mixing, matching and dropping services repeatedly. Therefore, I stick with providers like Amazon, which connects me to services like Paramount+ which I’ll watch until a couple of favorite shows are done, then switch to Acorn for a couple of months, then move on to PBS. However, I also enjoy other providers like Netflix and HBO because of their original content. One thing is certain, I will never pay for cable again said to WSJ Print Edition.

100 channels of tedium

We still have basic cable for local stations and currently subscribe to seven or eight streaming services and split our time between them fairly equally. A lot of what we watch is recommendations from friends and co-workers. Far and away, “Yellowstone” is our favorite must-watch. I really enjoy the streaming format that encapsulates a story in eight to 10 episodes and that I can watch entirely over the course of a few days. It seems to lend itself to much more dynamic storytelling than the old 22-episode season from the heyday of networks. This format leads to dull repetition, in my opinion. Much of cable TV is so boring. A hundred channels of tedium. The only time we watch the legacy networks is for local morning news and live sports.

IT support for Mom

We’re still trying to figure this out. We cut our DirecTV service and opted for YouTube TV. We also have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Apple TV. When “House of the Dragon” launched, I added HBO Max but then dropped it. I’ve also been helping my mother (who is 70) with her decisions for these services and recently convinced her to drop cable for YouTube TV. I let her use my subscription until she was more comfortable with it. I even helped her and her husband (age 80) buy two smart TVs and helped them load all of their streaming services. It was a lot of work, and I’m regularly on call for IT support.

  • Regan Fackrell, St. George, Utah

Missing the old days

We’re definitely juggling services and, frankly, I’ve lost track of the whole thing. Trying to find where/how to watch a particular football game makes me feel like I’m in a bad sequel to “The Da Vinci Code.” I actually had to research why “Yellowstone” season 5 wasn’t showing up anywhere even though we apparently have Paramount+, I guess through our Prime subscription? And I seem to remember watching it on Peacock (Why? Who knows?) but, of course, it’s on Paramount Network (what even is that?) and doesn’t show up on streaming until after the whole season (but not on Paramount’s service…huh?). This is all starting to make me pine for the days of cable. I used to complain about the lack of choice and the cost of cable. Ahh, how naive we all were!

  • Scott Campbell, Friendswood, Texas

Generational divide

We primarily use streaming declare Charles to WSJ Print Edition. We have a cable bundle for an older family member who isn’t comfortable using streaming as their primary video source. On the other end of the spectrum, our 10-year-old daughter has no concept of linear programming—her entire experience has been one of on-demand via streaming.

  • Charles Simonds, Los Angeles

The cost is right…for now

My wife and I juggle five streaming services at the moment, and we do not have cable TV as it is cost-prohibitive. In a situation like with the recent World Cup, we temporarily subscribed to a sixth service, but that is our limit. If at the end of streaming wars subscription prices rise, we would need to re-evaluate as right now the monthly prices for the services are quite reasonable, and we share the costs between us.

  • Bradley Collier, Daly City, Calif.

On my parents’ dime

As a young adult in my mid-20s, I have moved away from my parents and now live with a roommate. Still, we still take advantage of my parents’ cable account to enjoy sports and other television shows. To access local sports events, I utilize a VPN to pretend I am still in my parents’ state. I also have access to HBO through our family’s AT&T plan and still use my parents’ Netflix account. My only paid streaming subscriptions are for Spotify and Amazon Prime, as I receive Hulu through Spotify. If there are any other shows I want to watch, I simply sign up for a one-week free trial said to WSJ Print Edition. The only inconvenience is that I need to use a website to keep track of my progress, as I refuse to pay for numerous subscriptions. For now, I plan to stay on my parents’ accounts as long as possible.

  • William Pflueger, New York

Limits of rural living

Local TV is a dinosaur living out its last days, but I live in a rural area, 5 miles away from the end of high-speed internet lines so I have to pay for satellite TV and subpar internet. I love streaming. If I ever get good internet, I won’t ever watch regular TV again, said to WSJ Print Edition.

  • George Dean, Kittrell, N.C.

Can I get a bundle?

I hate all the different streaming services and separate logins and user interfaces. It would be nice if some of them bundled together in a master bundle. As much as I hate juggling so many services, I think it’s a much better value than most theater experiences in this day and age.

  • Jeff Vojta, Durham, N.C.

A TV junkie

I’m kind of a junkie. I have wired cable plus satellite TV subscriptions, and also a plethora of streaming services—all the big ones plus a few little subscription services that are hiding in the couch cushions. I also have Roku, Chromecast and at least two Apple TV boxes.

  • John Collins, Greenwich, Conn.

Give me a la carte

I dumped cable early on because the price was constantly marching upward and we were being forced to pay for channels we do not watch. Sadly, every one of the live-TV streamers also now keeps jumping the price and adding unwanted content. I, for one, would like to see if there is cartel-like activity going on. It sure looks like it from the consumer standpoint.

I want an a la carte approach and have no problem with signing a contract to help the companies with churn. There are about 4-5 channels I actually watch, and I do not want or need the others. It is quite ridiculous in the streaming era to force bundles of unwatched and unwanted channels on consumers. It would be really nice to be able to pay a set fee and pick a limited number of channels that we actually watch instead of paying outrageous fees for dozens of channels of worthless drivel we do not.

  • David Gregory, Marion, Ark.

Streaming for Star Trek

We were early adopters of streaming, mostly Netflix and Amazon Prime, but there’s one additional service that’s a special exception. I recently subscribed to Paramount+ because all of the Star Trek series were pulled from the other streaming outlets. Each episode is about 40 minutes long, the perfect length of time for me to work out on my rowing machine. I am watching them in chronological order (by series), and this practice keeps me consistent and helps me row longer. I look at it as a healthcare expense! Since starting in 2019, I have completed 592 episodes, with 126 more to go before finishing the pre-2000 series. By then, several of Paramount’s more recent series will be available.

  • Bob McLeod, Orlando, Fla.

Ad-free above all

Baby boomer here. I cut the cord some time ago. Not a sports fan, but I subscribe to about six streaming services. I hate commercials, so I really enjoy streaming. Prior to the streaming era, I had a DVR to skip commercials. I’m always willing to pay for no-ad content. My cost per month? Still cheaper than Dish was.

  • Christopher M. White, Idaho Falls, Idaho

Cost creep reafirmed WSJ Print Edition

When we moved in ’21 we left cable for Xfinity internet and Hulu Live. The introductory rate for internet was $40 per month with another $60 per month for Hulu Live. This saved us $86 per month over our previous cable package. Now costs have risen, so we’re paying $84 a month for internet and $75 for Hulu Live. Time to reassess and find a new viewing solution. Somebody needs to go.

  • Gerry McCann, Manchester Township, N.J.

Give me a good book

I have not used a television per se for years. We never had a cable subscription. My kids only watched a few shows growing up. During Covid I watched all the great shows I missed for the last 20 years, but I watched them on my MacBook Pro, declared to WSJ Print Edition. I only have Netflix and Amazon Prime, but would sign up for others for a short period if there was a show I wanted to see. I still read three books a week, so I am not the usual suspect.

  • Peg O’Donnell, Kensington, Md.

Progress? Not for me.

The promise of a la carte was that the consumer could pick and choose the channels, content and services they wanted as opposed to the “all in one” cable buffet. What people are quickly learning is it now will cost MORE to receive LESS than we enjoyed with the traditional cable bundle, while adding complexity. It is not enjoyable to switch inputs, dongles and services in order to watch different things on different streaming services. Have you tried watching Amazon Thursday Night Football? It takes multiple buttons to be pushed to launch, and then the viewer must wait for it to buffer and display on screen. This is progress? With cable, you simply tune into a channel and the viewer gets immediate instant gratification. Be careful what you wish for…

  • Connor McOwen, State College, Pa.

Serendipity of cable

I have Xfinity cable and am pleased. I’m low-maintenance. I have multiple movie channels and enjoy catching movies I’ve watched for years. I don’t necessarily need them to start at the beginning. Therefore, I don’t like streaming, where I have to allocate a fixed amount of time.

  • Rick Spell, Memphis

Need more old movies said to WSJ Print Edition

I’m still relying solely on Netflix and Prime, but am getting increasingly frustrated at how few older films are available on these two streamers. Almost every title search provides results that require another subscription or an ad-supported service.

  • Ramond Ford, Hockessin, Del.

Turned off the TV

I cut the cord in February 2015 when I moved out of my home for a major renovation. I moved back four months later and never reconnected the cable. The TV is still in the box eight years later. So no streaming, no cable and I don’t watch many videos. I get my news via WSJ Print Subscription, online websites and talk radio. I go to a friend’s or family member’s house or to a bar to catch major sporting events, presidential debates, etc.

So I used a major disruption in my life—the renovation—to live more intentionally. Since I have to go somewhere to watch TV, I’m much more selective about what I watch. And it gets me out into the world, rather than keeping me home in front of the screen.

Nancy Nicodemus, Dunwoody, Ga.