A few years ago a good friend decided to cut the cord.
Roku, an over-the-air-receiver, a loaned Slingbox, a few network tweaks and he was up and running and paying 1/8th of the cost of my cable bill. It seemed like a genius move and he was almost making money on the deal.
A few years and a Supreme Court ruling later, he’s decided to go back to the mainstream. The June 29th decision, that knee-capped Aereo, a start-up backed by big wig, Barry Diller, that uses an array of small antennae to pick up and then transmit the free, over-the-air signals that major cable networks send out, was the major factor.
Well that. And sunspots. Anyone who has ever tried to grab the HD signals streaming over the air knows about these events. Essentially, magnetic storms on the surface of the sun disrupt the television signal and cause static. Often times the storms are worse in the Fall and Spring, because of the way that the storms hit the satellites that carry the signal. The magnetic storms have been so bad of late, that he’s going to reconnect the cord.
For my friend, this is huge. Notoriously hacker-like, he has been known to do everything from dismantle boat engines (and end up with “spare parts”) to manually reprogram high-end home stereo systems as a birthday gift (*cough cough). For him to give up on cutting the cord because of a Supreme Court decision, is a very big deal and likely one that has affected other cord-cutters out there.
It will be interesting to see if the ruling drives those, like my friend back to the folds of corporate broadcast and what the long-tail affect might be on companies that facilitate cord cutting. It’s become a world of sun-spots and Supreme Court rulings.