Wednesday, June 21, 2017

No Cable? No Problem.

I’m an enthusiastic cord cutter … maybe even a fanatic. I grew to hate the cable bundle to the point where it simply had to go. My family and I have a much better experience with TV now that we get it over-the-air, on the Internet, and through streaming services. We’re saving money and we’re making smarter entertainment choices. Gone are the days of mindlessly flipping through 300 channels in search of a single decent program. Our viewing experience is now very focused.

For me, much of the focus is on bike racing. In the past I praised those pirated feeds of the major European TV networks, but during the last year it seems like they have gotten less reliable. Sites like continue to publish links, but more often than not the feeds are geo-restricted. Video quality—a hit-or-miss consideration before—is now almost uniformly terrible. And while I have been able to enjoy many races without English commentary, it’s better to have English if you can get it.

So, today I subscribed to the NBC Sports Gold cycling package. I will get a year of live and on demand video that includes all the major road races, some BMX, track and mountain bike events, and (especially) cyclocross. Only a small portion of the coverage will be broadcast on NBC’s family of over-the-air and cable channels, so don’t look at this $39.99 investment as a replacement for something I was getting in the old bundle. No, this is the epitome of à la carte TV: just cycling. I’m getting only what I want, whenever I want it, at a very high level of quality, from a single trusted source.

When I was a cable subscriber I checked out NBC’s streaming coverage a few times, so I know what I’m getting: extra content, no commercials. We’re between major races right now. The real test begins on July 1 with the Tour de France. I expect to be very satisfied. In the meantime, I will continue to check out the on demand offerings.

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