Figuring Out the Future of Streaming and Cable TV
I have some theories on what I think the future of streaming and Cable TV will be over the next decade. Over the past few years, set-top boxes like Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV have taken the world by storm.
Of course, the need for this came because of how much streaming content is available out there, including hundreds of different channels.
The cord-cutting phenomena has Cable TV companies scrambling, as they realize that watching TV online really is the future of the world.
The recession that basically started in 2008-10 coincided with better broadband and the great streaming content suddenly available by Netflix. As people had less money to spend, they had to make different choices about their entertainment costs.
TV is being consumed in different ways other than just Cable TV. The Pew Research Center did a survey late last year that showed about 19% of adults in the ages between 19 and 29 have dropped Cable TV (cut the cord). Another 16% have never even had a traditional subscription TV package.
”Two-thirds of all adults who do not subscribe to cable or satellite TV cited alternate sources of content — Netflix, Amazon and Hulu among them — as the reason for not having a traditional pay TV service.” – Pew Research Center’s Home Broadband 2016 Study
Who’s Streaming Now?
Sure, there is still a lot of Cable TV being watched. Consider that in early 2016, the average time spent watching television was over five hours per day. And there are still 56 percent of Americans who still pay for Cable TV.
But the divide in where Americans choose to watch these shows originates from their dates of birth.
While Generation X and Generation Y are still tied to their Cable TV first, they do supplement it with some binge-watching on Netflix or other streaming sites. Whereas, Millennials are doing the exact opposite, watching more Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus and YouTube, than they are traditional Cable TV. And even when they watch Cable TV, they’re usually doing it in an on-demand fashion or using their DVRs, rather than watching live TV.
What’s interesting is that they’re not just watching short videos. They’re still watching traditional TV series for the most part. So the production part of television isn’t broke – the exhibition of those shows, however, is pivoting.
Since the Millennials are the future of this country (… oh my dear sweet lord …), then it stands to reason that the same on-demand type of entertainment will be the popular form of video consumption for years to come.
Future of streaming and Cable TV: Cable Boxes vs. Set-Top Boxes
The Cable TV industry is going through what they put network TV through 35 years ago, when they offered home viewers more options than their standard over-the-air antennas and network channels could provide.
Roku CEO Anthony Wood once said he thinks DVRs will become a thing of the past.
“To me, it’s pretty clear that all TV is going to be streamed. It’s either going to be streamed to a smart TV, a gaming console or a streaming player.” – Roku CEO Anthony Wood
Wood also went on to say that DVD players and Cable TV boxes are going away, too, calling DVRs a “stepping stone technology.” But I think he’s misunderstanding the role (and the power) of Cable TV companies, since they own the broadband pipes that his product relies on.
Wouldn’t it make more sense that Cable TV companies eventually just create their own set-top boxes, with the ability to watch live TV, Cable TV programs, and any of the popular apps already on Roku?
Smart TVs already have apps installed on them, but as I’ve pointed out before, the smart move is to avoid Smart TVs, and get a great TV with a good set-top box instead.
The future of streaming and Cable TV will still be through our Cable TV boxes – only they’ll be doing things Roku and Apple TV already do. Just like they took TiVO’s idea for a DVR and made it their own, they’ll do the same with set-top boxes.
Do you have some opinions on the future of streaming and Cable TV? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo Credit: Mr.TinDC