Should You Cut the Cable Cord? Pros & Cons. “I gave up cable in 2008 solely because I had maxed out three credit cards and didn’t have money for it anymore,” said Fairbanks. “It was either that or rent.” Fairbanks discovered Hulu during her period of financial crisis, and enjoyed the service so much that she continued to use it in lieu of cable TV, even when she was long out of debt. She also traded in her pricey cable Internet subscription for Verizon DSL, which starts at just $19.99 per month. Gabriel Fuentes is another online TV convert. The 30-year-old EMT trainee discovered Hulu while looking for a method to view episodes of Heroes that he had missed, and now says it commands at least 75 percent of his TV watching time. “Hulu’s great for catching up on your favorite shows, and also discovering new shows,” Fuentes said. “I discovered First 48, Kings, and Naruto there, and found it hard to go back to traditional television. I can watch when I want to watch without buying a DVR.” A major drawback that’s specific to most online television programming is the lack of a live feed. Typically you can’t tune into, say, Fringe as it’s being broadcast. And although you can usually stream live breaking news, such as a Presidential address, major events can result in online traffic jams. For example, although Hulu streamed the Michael Jackson memorial as it was happening, the amount of traffic to the site slowed the video to a crawl. “Sure, it sucks that I don’t get to see shows live or as they occur, but it’s okay because I can always catch it later,” said Hines. “It’s a trade-off, but it’s worth it.” Fuentes also sometimes misses live TV, because Web videos can kill the channel-surfing experience. “Every show starts at the very beginning of an episode, so you don’t have an opportunity to sample a show as you would when you jump into the middle of one while changing stations,” he said. The current state of online television is basically that there’s a variety of good content to watch, but not enough of it to attract the vast majority of couch potatoes. “Until the good chunk of content is online, there won’t be much cord cutting,” said Tim Twerdahl, vice president of consumer products for Roku, which makes the $99 Roku Video Player. “Popular channels such as Discovery and Food Network don’t put that much online.” However, the major players in online video are trying to close the gap between traditional and Web TV. For example, Roku now lets sports fans tune into live Major League Baseball games starting at $29.95 per year. The company’s box also streams content from Amazon Video On Demand (www.amazon.com/videoondemand) and Netflix (starting at $8.99; www.netflix.com).