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Business Take: Is Cord-Cutting a Threat to Cable?

The day after celebrating his 29th birthday Business Take host Jason Hellmann sits down with Fool contributor Daniel Kline to discuss Hellmann's decision to be a cord-cutter -- someone who chooses to not subscribe to cable. 

Hellmann and Kline kicked off the second episode of Business Take, the show that gives you the Foolish perspective on the most important business stories of the week, by examining whether cord-cutting makes sense and whether it's something that will actually impact the business of cable providers.

"I just don't watch live TV anymore," said Hellmann, who explained that subscriptions to Netflix  (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) , Amazon  (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) Prime, and Hulu gave him more than enough to watch while over-the-air channels allow him to follow the National Football League and a $120-per-year subscription to MLB TV gives him access to every single baseball game aired during the year.

After a spirited debate on Hellmann's decision to not have cable and Kline's shock at how anyone could go without every possible TV option available, the two moved into the current reality of the cord-cutting movement. Kline explained that while cable subscriptions (a broadly defined term including satellite and phone company pay television providers) fell for the first time in 2013, cord-cutting has been more media speculation than actual practice.

"It's a youth trend," Hellmann said. "Anyone over the age of 45 is not doing this, but everyone I know has considered it."

Kline, 40, described himself as being in the tweener group age-wise that would consider cutting the cord, but finds that while it's possible to get most content, you have to go too many places to do so. He cited Amazon's Fire TV as a possible source of making disparate streaming content easier to navigate and manage.

"Fire TV is voice-activated.... You can say 'Brad Pitt' and it gives you every Brad Pitt movie, or you can say 'Fred Flintstone' and it brings up every option whether it's a rental from Amazon or airing on Kindle," Kline said. "At the point where a hardware device like Fire TV or some other service makes it so I can say 'Boston Red Sox' and it shows me that there is a game tonight or here is a DVD of the championship seasons ... that's when cord-cutting makes sense."

Have you cut the cord? Are you thinking about doing so? Share your thoughts on the subject in our comments section.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2014, at 2:26 PM, antone wrote:

    I been a cord cutter for over a year now. I Bought a OTA antenna and a multimedia box and couldn't be happier. I still watch everything that I used to when I had cable.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2014, at 3:36 PM, alnuxserio wrote:

    One more reason to use to get ALL Netflix regions from American to UK and Latino

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2014, at 5:57 AM, bostontrip wrote:

    I got OOMA (free phone, works awesome) and cut the cord over a year ago. I have Netflix, amazon, and stream through a Roku Player.

    Plus there are plenty of freebies on the internet.

    I'm sure this is where We're headed. I would not invest in cable companies right now. I do use them for internet, but my bill went from almost 200. to 50./month when I cut cable, and phone from them! I'm planning a nice vacation right now with that money I saved. Happy Streaming!

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2014, at 4:18 PM, sedatedRN wrote:

    Cut the cord almost 2 years ago. Sick of paying so much money to the cable company, but I still get my internet from them. No regrets, I watch Netflex once in a while. I am 58 years old and had contemplated cutting the cord for about 2 years before I finally did it. Now I am on the internet or read books more.

    I don't feel like I am missing anything.

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Daniel B. Kline

Daniel B. Kline is an accomplished writer and editor who has worked for the Microsoft's Finance app and The Boston Globe, where he wrote for the paper and ran the business desk. His latest book "Worst Ideas Ever" (Skyhorse) can be purchased at bookstores everywhere.

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