Here's how you "cord cut" the Catholic way.
Cord cutting is here to stay it would seem. In fact, according to an article in Forbes, the number of households subscribing to cable TV is expected to decline by more than 25 percent by the year 2027. Combine that figure with the fact that roughly one out of every four people in the United States identifies as members of the Church, and it’s a safe bet that a lot of Catholics are going to be among those joining the exodus from cable.
Given that, let’s take a look at some of the Church related content available right now for the cord cutting Catholic.
EWTN: Now in its fourth decade of broadcasting, The Eternal Word Television Network is as ubiquitous in Catholic households as fish sticks on a Friday during Lent. Founded by Mother Angelica of The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in 1980, the once little television station has grown to become the largest religious media network in the world. Naturally EWTN has joined the cord cutting revolution, with apps available for the Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV, Apple TV, and most mobile devices. They offer live streams of EWTN’s broadcast from multiple time zones, as well as on-demand episodes of the network’s most popular shows.
Catholic TV: Actually predating EWTN by 25 years, the Catholic Television Center of the Archdiocese of Boston, now called Catholic TV, has provided Church focused programming for generations. Naturally beginning with a Mass by Boston’s then Archbishop Richard J. Cushing, the station has expanded its programming over the years to include such offerings as Catholic Destinations (a travel show), Blink (short videos exploring the faith), and The Gist (a much less obnoxious, much more Catholic spin on The View). Like EWTN, Catholic TV has apps available for the Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV, Apple TV, and most mobile devices.
Pure Flix: Hoping to become the Netflix of Christian programming, Pure Flix is the streaming video on demand service run by Pure Flix Entertainment. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, Pure Flix is the production company behind such faith-based films as Same Kind of Different as Me, The Case for Christ, and of course, the God’s Not Dead series. Though not Catholic-centric, Pure Flix’s growing catalog of religious/family entertainment is mostly inoffensive and designed to appeal to the widest possible Christian audience. The service is available on just about all streaming devices, though it does require a subscription, which currently runs $10.99 per month.
Local Parishes: One of the nice things about the Roku streaming device is the relative ease in creating a channel for it. In fact, if you have the content, a place to store it, and around $50 to $100 per month, you can be on the Roku in no time. A number of parishes around the country have taken this to heart and created their own channels to broadcast local Masses and other programming of interest to the people in their pews. Type Catholic into the search box of your Roku and you’ll find channels for parishes stretching from Lakeland, Florida, to Baraboo, Wisconsin. At present, there are fewer than 10 parishes with channels on the Roku, but the number is sure to grow.
YouTube/Vimeo: As most Catholics are probably aware, there’s more to YouTube and its classier cousin Vimeo than just fail memes and cat videos. A simple search for “Catholic” on YouTube alone returns over 4.5 million results. Given the cornucopia of material available, specific recommendations for Catholic channels on YouTube and Vimeo is best saved for another article. For our purposes, we’ll just make note that both services have apps for the Roku, Fire TV, and most other streaming devices, including a large number of Smart TVs. That means instead of wasting hours on your computer or phone bingeing on old Gregorian chant videos, you can now do it on your television using your remote control. Happy viewing, cord-cutting Catholics.