Given the recent news about Apple’s service fees going up by as much as 40% in some cases, I’ve found a great way to keep prices stable. I’ve chosen a telecommunications provider, like EE in my case, that offers a bundle with Apple One. With this arrangement, I get uninterrupted access to Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+ for two years without any extra costs. Just keep in mind that I do have to pay for Apple News+ separately since it’s not included in the bundle. But the value I get from the magazine subscription and access to the Times makes it worth it. When it’s time to renew my contract with EE in a year, I expect they’ll still have the Apple One bundle in their SIM only packages, so I plan to stick with them. It’s worth mentioning that other telecom companies also offer similar streaming packages as part of their contracts, even if they only last for six months. This option, even though temporary, is better than not having it at all.
Regarding the video streaming services, many of them are now increasing their prices, including Netflix and Sky. I don’t watch Netflix as much these days. They only release programs that interest me about every six months, and then there’s a drought again for another six months. So, I’ve decided to subscribe for one month every six months, watch what I want, and then cancel the subscription. I currently have Netflix bundled with my Sky package, so I’m not paying the full price. But ultimately, I’m going to cancel my Sky subscription because there are very few things on it that I actually watch. One of the shows I enjoy is Breeders, a great comedy-drama starring Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard. And maybe I’ll also watch The Gilded Age (similar to Downton Abbey but set in the United States) and House of the Dragon. Most of these shows can be purchased through iTunes, which is cheaper per season than a long-term Sky subscription. For everything else, I’ll just subscribe to Now TV for a month and then cancel again.
Paramount+ and Disney+ are lacking in shows and decent back content to justify the increasing subscription prices. £6.99 or £9.99 might be reasonable, but anything higher would not be worth it. Once I finish watching Loki season 2 and What We Do In the Shadows season 5 on Disney+, I will cancel it until Solar Opposites or another Star Wars TV series is released. Paramount+ currently has the new Fraiser series, but I don’t think that alone can justify a long-term subscription. It’s especially frustrating that Paramount don’t seem to have a clear plan for the Star Trek franchise, as they have exclusively licensed one section of it to Netflix.
Prime Video isn’t too bad, but I feel like there aren’t enough new shows to justify keeping a monthly subscription. Plus, I’ve been spending less on Amazon lately, so the free delivery isn’t as valuable to me anymore. I’ve gotten to the point where I hardly watch proper TV at all these days. I usually watch everything on my MacBook Pro. It reminds me of a time when my ex-wife and I gave our TV to my brother-in-law because we hardly used it and preferred watching a few shows on our laptops. The Sunday Times even picked up on this story, which you can read (partially) below.
It’s important to clarify that the Sunday Times made it seem like we were intentionally avoiding the TV license, but that’s not true at all (and it’s the reason why I will NEVER talk to a journalist again). We weren’t tired of paying the fee – we just weren’t using the TV as much as before, and if we didn’t have to pay the fee, we didn’t. The few things we did watch were through catch-up services. It also didn’t mention that I also bought many DVDs and Blu-Rays, as well as BBC shows on iTunes VoD, which I enjoy.
This prompted a response from the TVLA (for Loki fans, no, not the TVA):
Regarding the BBC, it seems that their financial situation is quite dire these days, and this is reflected in the quality of their content. If they were to cancel Top Gear, they would lose a significant source of revenue. As for Doctor Who, they are now partnering with Disney+ and the production company behind it is currently owned by Sony. Thus, in my opinion, the BBC license fee is becoming increasingly worthless with each passing year. It no longer brings the same level of high-quality shows that it used to. Even BBC radio seems to be on a downward spiral.
Certainly, nowadays I do indeed pay for a TV license and I am happy that the BBC took the opportunity to connect it with BBC iPlayer. However, we should seriously consider whether a TV license is still worth it in a world full of streaming services. Channel 4 produces some remarkable programs that are funded by advertisements – and for just £3.99/month, you have the option to reduce those ads. I appreciate that. Why can’t the BBC follow suit? In fact, many streaming services are already doing just that. They offer a more affordable subscription with ads, or you can opt for an ad-free experience with higher quality streaming. Not everyone wants or utilizes 4K/8K TVs with Dolby Atmos. So why should we pay more?