Many households cutting cable, but not their favorite TV shows

Ruby McElhenny, 5, spent some “screen time” watching “My Little Pony” on an iPhone.
Ruby McElhenny, 5, spent some “screen time” watching “My Little Pony” on an iPhone.Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff

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Mounted to one side of their living room, the television set in the McElhennys’ Gloucester home is essentially wallpaper, a memento of a prior era when consumers were tethered to their sets and the cable or satellite providers that dictated their entertainment choices.

But when they do occasionally switch it on, they watch their favorite shows through Roku, a Web-streaming service, while their two small children spend weekend “screen time” on an iPhone or Kindle Fire tablet.

“I am constantly on the brink of canceling the whole cable thing,” said Aria McElhenny. “We really don’t use it.”

The McElhennys are among a growing number of American families who are increasingly using Internet-based services to watch their favorites when they want and where they want, and in the process reducing or bypassing altogether their use of cable or satellite television.

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