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Ways We Used to Watch TV That Cord Cutting Ended

Remember fighting with your siblings for after-school supremacy over the remote control? Well, sibling rivalry isn’t going anywhere, but there’s a lot of stuff about watching TV that has gone the way of the bunny ears and its’ all thanks to cord cutting. What are we talking about? Well . . .

Being Stuck Watching Daytime TV When You Were Sick

Years ago, staying home sick meant hour after hour of horrible daytime TV. Second-rate talk shows, sappy soap operas, infomercials—there was nothing like watching a super excited pitchman scream about a revolutionary squeegee for half an hour while waiting for the Tylenol to kick in.

Now, staying home with the flu no longer means watching daytime TV. Instead, you can re-watch your favourite episodes of the Office, continue binging the new season of Stranger Things, or turn of the latest David Attenborough documentary for his soothing voice. Sure beats infomercials.

Missing a TV Season Finale & Trying to Avoid Spoilers for Weeks

Was there anything quite so frustrating as accidentally missing a really important season finale—say, when Ross said Rachel’s name at his wedding instead of Emily’s—and then trying to avoid people who couldn’t stop talking about it? Possibly for weeks, waiting for a rerun or syndication?

If you stream all your TV, though, the words ‘rerun’ or ‘syndication’ don’t mean anything. Which is amazing. It’s easy to avoid the water cooler recap of The Crown for a day or two—after which you catch up with the season finale on your own terms.

Memorizing TV Schedules

Were you a kid obsessed with Star Trek: The Next Generation? Well, then you probably knew when it would show up in the TV schedule. And if you had friends with similar obsessions concerning Full House and Fresh Prince, you probably knew when they were on, either so you could coordinate hanging out or bug them by calling them up when you knew they’d be engrossed in their show.

Once you cut the cord, there isn’t a TV schedule. There are release dates and that’s it—everything else is your schedule. What time is your show on? Whenever you want.

Getting a Friend to Tape Your Show While You Were on Vacation

Not even an addiction to the X-Files can beat a weekend in the Caribbean, so that’s why a TV addict in the nineties had a stack of blank VHSs and a friend with a VCR. And some patience. True story: we know someone who moved overseas and had her parents tape every episode of the Young and the Restless. Which was (and still is, we think) a daily soap.

Of course, in an age where TV can be streamed, you don’t need that very good and patient friend anymore. At least, not for TV taping duty.

Renting TV

Binging TV isn’t really a new thing, it’s just that streaming has made it easier. Remember going to the video store and renting shows like Will and Grace on DVD? And then disc three of four ended up being too scratched to work properly? Why couldn’t ‘be kind, rewind’ also apply to not scratching DVDs?

Renting content is starting to seem like one of those quaint things you try telling your kids about, only for it to be super hard to explain.

The Bottom Line

Watching TV used to be really inconvenient. We talk about cord cutting a lot for financial reasons, but really, there’s a big element of convenience when it comes to OTT content and streaming devices. Want to know more? Here’s how to cut the cord in Canada.