First, there was cinema, then radio. Broadcast television changed all that. In time, cable came along and revolutionized the way that we watched tv. Soon, cable was the only game in town, and the providers knew it. They capitalized on their situation by reducing and restricting consumer options, forcing us to sign up for long contracts and pay for packages that include channels we don't watch or want.
Depending on your viewing habits, a cable subscription may be your best option but, for most of us, "cutting the cord" is more cost effective. We can still get all of the local channels, and then pick and choose streaming options for shows, movies, sports, and more.