According to market research firm GfK.about, 19% of American TV households live without cable. It might surprise you, but life without cable is not bad at all. I have been doing it for over nine months and saw my cable and internet bill go from around $200 a month, down to about $95.
The vast majority of broadcast networks already stream their most popular HD channels free over the air, and Internet while subscriptions services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Acorn offer thousands of choices at discounted prices. That also does not count the literately thousands of networks that offer their quality programs and movies for free.
Streaming boxes like ROKU, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, Apple TV and most of gaming devices like Sony PlayStation make transporting programs to your big screen easy. Personally, I would recommend the ROKU box, as it is dependable and also offers the most channels. It also never hurts to have a Google Chromecast stick around but check and make sure your computer is powerful enough to use the product.
While industry experts felt that the “Millennials,” should be the leaders in the wave of cord-cutting, that has not been the case, at least not yet. It is baby boomers, ages 60-65, that are the fastest growing group on the streaming wave, while the average age of the cord-cutting revolution are men and women ages 30-65.
News Talk Florida spoke to PlayOn’s director of marketing Jim Holland, one of the leading experts in the cord-cutting industry. Holland’s PlayOn digital server is an industry leader in media platforms. It allows the user to stream content from their PC to their TV via devices like those mentioned above.
Once you download their software to your computer, PlayOn allows the user the ability to access their content on their tablets and smartphones. In short, you have the ability to access thousands of shows and a growing number of channels from your computer.
“We are excited by the number of people who have cut the cord, but cable TV is still the dominant force in the home entertainment industry. The other aspect to remember is that you may choose to cut the television part of your cable bill, but cable providers still offer the best broadband access, so for now they remain an important part of the home entertainment landscape,” said Holland. “The majority of people who subscribe to Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime and watch them on ROKU or Google Chromecast, still have cable as the main entertainment source.”
Holland was quick to point out that the change comes once consumers see that vast amount of content that is available to them in a marketplace that is growing every day.
“Consumers will start to see channels of interest to them and suddenly they have more of the ala carte type of content, meaning the consumer’s channels of choice are readily available to take advantage of today. This is the main complaint of people who subscribe to cable. They are paying for channels they don’t want to see. Such is not the case with the new connected TV generation. A viewer can watch what they want when they want, creating a new on-demand world.”
Holland feels that what is happening now in the television industry got its roots in the music industry two decades ago. “People got tired of paying $15 dollars for a CD that they only liked three or four of the songs on the entire disk. That gave birth to iTunes and also artists taking their songs directly to their fans on their websites so that they could purchase a single song or an entire CD.”
“Content providers from the small independent producers to the major studios will be able to go directly to their fans. They won’t need to pitch ideas to the major networks.”
Holland concedes that for now cable has an advantage over the connected television market from an ease of access and viewing aspect. “Our industry needs to make the process of viewing content more seamless. At the moment, cable has us beaten by the ability to flip from one channel to another. However, I do think that we can solve this over time and shorten the learning curve.”
So where will we be five years down the road when it comes to getting our content?
According to Holland, “the streaming of content solutions will become much easier and more commonplace with a complete interface that is user friendly. With the success of Netflix and Amazon Prime, I believe that we will see more of the big content players like Fox and other networks dip their toes into streaming video to see how they like it. We will also do the same if consumers are ready to make the jump. But with more people watching movies, television and sports on their tablets, I think that we will have a number of content choices and portability is going to be very important.”
Holland was quick to point out that his other software ,PlayLater, allows you to record a streaming movie or television show to your laptop, tablet or smartphone which he expects to see come into play both now and in the future.