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New Yorkers Abandon Cable TV Service For Netflix and TiVo

By DNAinfo Staff on September 24, 2010 3:20pm  | Updated on September 25, 2010 10:39am

Manhattan residents are watching their favorite TV shows, like
Manhattan residents are watching their favorite TV shows, like "Glee," by other means than cable.
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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

By Jennifer Glickel

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — More and more Manhattanites are giving up cable in favor of cheaper, alternative methods of watching their favorite television shows.

With television shows available on the Internet and through mail-order services like Netflix, people are turning away from the high fees that come with a monthly cable television subscription.

"We were paying around $150 a month for a lot of channels that are never used," said Upper West Side resident Tyler Williams, 23, who gave up his Time Warner Cable subscription in January.

"It just seemed silly to keep paying for all that when I'm never home."

Most of Williams' favorite shows like Glee, Gossip Girl, and Grey's Anatomy air on basic cable channels, so he ditched cable and went with an antenna. He bought a TiVo so he could record his favorite shows and watch them later, too.

Cable boxes may become a thing of the past in the homes of Manhattan residents.
Cable boxes may become a thing of the past in the homes of Manhattan residents.
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"Plus, I got NetFlix, which is something like $10 a month, and they have an awesome selection of shows and movies that stream directly to your TV through TiVo," Williams added.

All-in-all since quitting cable six months ago, Williams has saved $76 a month.

Other Manhattanites haven't gone so far as to revert back to an antenna, but have found ways to cut cable costs nonetheless.

"I got rid of the premium channels a year ago because of Netflix on the Wii, which is only $8.99 a month versus the $13.99 a month I was paying for each of the premiums" said Alison Macartney, 24, who works in finance.

"I started watching other shows when I got Netflix like Nip/Tuck, Friday Night Lights, Skins which is from BBC, pretty much anything. They have a massive list of television series."

Macartney and her siblings got their parents set up with basic cable and Netflix streaming through a wired Blu-ray player, she said.

"With Netflix, my family got really into Weeds — which they never watched when they had Showtime but now are obsessed with."

Manhattanites being frugal by giving up cable may become a problem for the city, however.

Time Warner Cable and Cablevision pay the city 5 per cent of the revenue from subscriptions to be able to run their cable wires under the streets of New York, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A new deal signed last week keeps that system, which generates approximately $110 million for the city, will remain in place for the next 10 years.

"That creates an interesting problem for the city if, in the future, people begin to say, 'I don't need to buy a cable subscription any more, I can get all my programming through Internet video," Bruce Regal, one of the city negotiators on the cable contract, told the Journal.

"We didn't want to be stuck with an old contract that relied on old assumptions."