Canceling Netflix

I’ve been a cord cutter for my entire adult life. When I moved into an apartment of my own, at the age of 18, I signed up for cable internet from Time Warner. They tried to up-sell me into one of their bundled deals, but I didn’t want any part of it. I didn’t need anything more than internet access.

At the time — 2006 — I was using a cell phone on my mother’s plan and most of my media viewing was coming from alternative means. Whether it be the discs that Netflix sent me in the mail, video podcasts, TV and movies from the iTunes Store, or video files acquired from a certain pirate-themed website. I didn’t have any reason to pay for cable.

As time has passed, my interest in acquiring content nefariously has all but disappeared. There isn’t much of a point to it anymore. Most of the major content creators have their movies and TV shows available online in an easy to obtain and inexpensive form. It’s taken a long time to get here, but I think the film and TV industry are finally to a point where they can compete with piracy.

Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and numerous offerings from just about every provider has made cord cutting an easy decision for a lot of families. It’s usually far less expensive than a cable package and can be consumed on any device you can think of — with a far better interface, to boot. And the best part is, each person can pick and choose which services are best for them.

What’s interesting about that last point is, just about every person I know has a Netflix account — or at the very least, access to one. As the first major player in the subscription streaming video market, Netflix is the default choice for most cord cutters and those even flirting with the idea. The service has mass appeal because of its savvy content dealings and name recognition. And in recent years, they’ve kept subscribers loyal by producing their own shows which are available exclusively on their service.

But I’m here to tell you that I’ve done the unthinkable. Last week, I canceled my Netflix subscription.

There wasn’t any one thing in particular that pushed me to make this decision. The biggest of the bunch, though, is that it had been several weeks since I even launched the app on my Apple TV. Netflix is a wonderful service with plenty of great content, but lately I’ve spent all of my time watching Hulu, YouTube, and my collection of archived DVDs in my Mac mini’s iTunes Library.

I don’t need Netflix anymore because there isn’t anything on the service that’s grabbing my attention the way that Regular Show and Top Chef are on Hulu; Giant Bomb and LinusTechTips are on YouTube; or Boy Meets World is in my iTunes Library. I’d rather watch those than anything Netflix has available.

It’s also worth noting that I was going to be charged for my next month of service — the day after I canceled, coincidentally — at the new $9.99 rate. I had been grandfathered into the old $7.99 rate, but September was the last month they would be honoring the lower price. I can’t say this had any bearing on my decision, though, because I had already decided to cancel when I found out about it.

Don’t get me wrong, this is unlikely to be the end of Netflix for me. Hulu and YouTube have been fantastic lately, but all streaming services grow stale eventually. Once I’ve exhausted the options available from my current services, I’ll probably come back to Netflix. When will that be? I don’t know. But in the mean time, I’ll be more than happy to have an extra $10 in my pocket at the end of each month.