The Future of Television

Cable TV alternative
December28/ 2015

Options for how you watch Television will continue to evolve in 2016.   The Era of Big Cable / Big Satellite is about over.  A Victory for “The Free Market”. …. Don’t be afraid of it.  Embrace it….. Cable options

I try to offer you suggestions on evolving technologies that might affect the overall quality of your family’s life based on what Blondie and I are incorporating into our lives.  Our interests probably don’t align totally with yours, but “ya never know”; so I pass them along for your consideration.

No secret that the demographics of this audience skews “seasoned”…. DUH!  “Change” is oft-perceived as scary and to-be-avoided by those born prior to 1960 or so.  You are short-changing yourself if that is the case.

You’ve adapted your TV watching over the years from “the three networks” to whatever cable/satellite options you have incorporated into your life.  The next major sea-change involving you and your television is HERE.

Please do not channel your latent Luddite and fear it. 

You do NOT have to be “a computer geek” to enjoy HULU, NetFlix, Apple TV, et al.   You can save A LOTTA $$$ with these options as well as broaden your choices of what to watch and when to watch it.  Installing these options is easy.  Even if you have “a geek” (or your 10 y/o grandchild) set it up, it’s worth that minimal one-time fee.

Go to a Best Buy or other audio-video retailer and learn about these options.  Blondie and I enjoy the terrific series on Netflix a lot as well as Apple TV.   Blondie’s goal is to NEVER have to endure another “commercial”.  We are getting there.

You’re welcome!



Cutting the Cord: Next year will bring even more streaming options


Streaming video had a blockbuster year in 2015 for everyone from full-fledged cord cutters to those who supplement what they watch on cable or satellite with Net-delivered offerings.

Expect that trend to pick up steam  in 2016……

with subscription video services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu gaining viewers while pay TV’s hold on U.S. homes — currently at about 83% — continues to wane a percentage point or two, from 100 million homes to 98.9 million, analysts estimate.

Here are some predictions for the streaming video arena in the coming year:

• Netflix will remain dominant. In 2015, Netflix pushed past the 40 million mark in the U.S. and now has 42 million paid U.S. streaming subscribers, and a total of 69 million globally. The streaming-TV leader has nearly twice as many original series planned for 2016 — 30 compared with  2015’s 16. Newcomers are expected to include Marvel’s Luke Cage, a companion series to this year’s series Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Netflix also has 10 movies in production. Also in 2016, its deal with Disney will bring The Avengers and Star Wars film franchises to the service, although Star Wars: The Force Awakens, won’t hit Netflix immediately because it first goes to Starz under a deal with Disney that is about to end.

• Other top names will pick up their games. Amazon is also increasing its lineup of original series.  Its well-received The Man in the High Castle earned a renewal after a successful November. It has discounted subscriptions to apps from Showtime and others as part of its $99-per-year Prime service. Amazon and Hulu, which has joined Netflix and Amazon as a creator of its own original content, will retain their solid spots as Nos. 2 and 3 in streaming subscriptions.

The top three services have “too much momentum and (there’s) too much ground to be made up by alternatives,” said Brett Sappington, director of research at Parks Associates.


Still, recent entrants such as HBO Now and Showtime “are attractive services for non-sports viewers looking to cobble together a viewing experience,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst at the Leichtman Research Group.

In fact, analysts at The Diffusion Group note that usage of stand-alone HBO Now combined with the HBO Go app, which requires pay-TV authentication, would put HBO in the top three — a sign that individual direct-to-consumer offerings can succeed.

• More Net video players will emerge. Look for new entrants to join HBO Now and Showtime, among pay-TV channels that will opt to stream directly to consumers. Some pay-TV providers themselves will offer streaming services, too. Comcast’s Stream service, launched this summer in Boston and expected to go nationwide in 2016, lets Xfinity Internet customers pay $15 monthly to stream a bundle of local and national networks, as well as HBO, on devices. “There will be a flood of a new generation of OTT services, with many offered by large players — pay-TV providers and content producers,” Sappington said.

This will be driven in part by Nielsen’s ability in 2016 to better measure viewership of so-called over-the-top (OTT) content, says The Diffusion Group’s Alan Wolk. “Once OTT views are measured, no one has any reason to hold it back, in fact, they have every reason to push forward — more views equal higher ratings for networks and more bandwidth” used on Internet services, he says.


• Sony will expand its PlayStation Vue pay-TV service. The consumer electronics giant began operating its own streaming-TV service in March, starting at $50 monthly for more than 50 channels including local CBS, Fox, NBC and Telemundo stations, along with CNBC, Fox News, USA, TBS and USA. Missing? Disney-owned channels such as ABC and ESPN.

So far the service is available in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, L.A., New York, Miami, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay area. Sony will expand to more cities “to see if their current result is driven by the current markets they are in,” Sappington said.

There is some disagreement at The Diffusion Group about this one, with Wolk and colleague Joel Espelien expecting Sony to fold the project. But the research firm’s co-founder and president, Michael Greeson, thinks Sony will do a makeover instead. “This was a poorly conceived effort from the beginning. It’s just a full-on traditional pay-TV service delivered over broadband — hardly innovative or uniquely compelling,” he said. “I don’t think it will die in 2016, but you may see the strategy changed dramatically as Sony comes to term with poor uptake.”

“Cutting the Cord” is a regular column covering Net TV and ways to get it. If you have suggestions or questions, contact Mike Snider via e-mail at [email protected]. And follow him on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

Savings guru Matt Granite explains which television streaming service might be right for you and your entertainment budget. VPC

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