Cutting the Cord on Outdoor Programming

Joe Keckeisen 3.31.2017

“I love paying my cable/dish bill!” Said no one ever. It’s a common discussion in so many circles… “I pay $XXX per month for my cable bill.” “Oh yeah, well I pay $XXX.” Have you ever heard, “I pay $120 a month and it seems reasonable to me”? I didn’t think so. So is the case for those who subscribe to a television service. Oh and you would like to watch your favorite hunting and/or fishing show? “Well that’s part of our super special sports package that is only $20 a month extra”. Before you know it you’re doing the air scale thing with your hands with TV service in one hand and 401K saving plans in the other. Seriously!!!??? But wait there’s a new light on the horizon……perhaps you have come to this new light already as an early adopter. Streaming TV is here and is only going to get bigger!

A screenshot of CarbonTV’s viewing platform

Products like Roku, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire are at the forefront of these streaming devices. Introduced as far back as 2007, it has taken some time for this new technology to gain recognition by the masses. But last year during the holiday shopping season, these devices were among the top gifts being purchased (Average price around $90-$100 one time cost).

For the last several years these devices had everyone talking at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). So what’s with the buzz? The biggie is you get to start putting money back in that 401K and cut out that cable bill. The only thing you need is an internet signal of which you’re probably paying for already. From there you connect your streaming device and voila! You’re streaming TV! Now let’s not get all giddy here… obviously things like local TV and major sporting events can’t always be found (yet). So it’s not the complete answer, but more and more we are seeing major channels putting out streaming content. Subscription services is the a la carte’ of consuming TV. Pay for what you watch and that’s it. Channels like Netflix and ESPN Live are allowing viewers to see current content at minimal cost compared to the dreaded cable/dish bill.

So what does all of this mean for those of us who enjoy outdoor TV programs?

Good news! Like the dedicated channels shown on cable and dish for outdoor enthusiasts, the same is true for streaming TV. Carbon TV is the premier online video destination for premium outdoor themed shows and has been around since 2007. In fact, it has several of the shows you probably already recognize or watch like Midwest Whitetail, Backwoods Life, Solo Hunter, The Breaking Point, Heartland Bowhunter, and many more. Some of the shows are exclusive to Carbon TV. You watch the content when you want to as though it’s your own DVR, except every show is at your disposal.  OH yeah…. in full HD as well!

Now you can binge watch hunting shows or catch an episode during your lunch break.

This is a huge pet peeve of mine that a lot of the outdoor channels on cable and dish are only shown in standard definition. Come on! HD has been around for over a decade and we still can’t broadcast shows with beautiful HD? As a videographer and photographer nothing is more frustrating. So what about 4K? No, I’m not talking about preschool for your kids. I’m talking about the next generation of HD. When are we going to be able to take advantage of that new TV that has the 4K capabilities? Well, if you’re a cable or dish subscriber not anytime soon. They may have a few channels, but in general it will be a while before that amount of data will be available.

But if you have a streaming device there is plenty of 4k content available for outdoor enthusiasts on YouTube, the GoPro channel, Netflix, and ESPN live with plenty more being added weekly.

Granted some of the bigger outdoor related shows only air the previous season’s episodes, but the tide is changing! We are going to see more channels pop up like Carbon TV and create a competitive market that will most likely go the way of a subscription per channel much like Netflix. This, in my opinion, will bring more to the table with the content of outdoor programming. Currently with the cable channels for outdoor programming, a show needs to pay the channel a sum of $75,000 just to air the show. How do they get the capital to air their show? Sponsors. What is the most common complaint I hear about watching hunting or fishing shows today? Being force fed advertisements from the sponsors. The business model of paying to air your show creates this environment (which is a whole other topic for another blog).  So currently the advertisements are far less with streaming and the traditional cookie cutter format is tossed out the window. Want to make an episode 10 minutes long instead of the traditional 30 minutes? No problem. Want to air a 45 minute documentary? No problem. The freedom for the folks creating the content is wide open which for us creative types is great!

RELATED: Why Most Hunting Shows Suck

I’ve had my Roku player for over a year now and watch it on a daily basis and foresee us eventually “cutting the cord”. If the kid isn’t watching the latest Dude Perfect video on YouTube, we’re generally watching most of our outdoor TV on the Roku. I’m curious, how many of you out there have “cut the cord” and have been watching all your outdoor content on a streaming device? If so, give use some pros and cons…. How much are you saving monthly? Do you miss the shows you watched with cable/dish?


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