Are we getting closer to that being a reality?
It seems ridiculous to think that 25 + years ago we were just getting cable in our homes. Some of us had a black box on the tv and you had to manually turn the dial to switch channels. Others of us can remember the first movie we watched on HBO, or the first highlight we saw on ESPN, the list goes on to where we are today with HDTV and DVRs.
The pace at which our technology is increasing can best be described as multiplying. As older more traditional forms of media are failing to adapt to our new societal trends, they are dying off. We are entering a new delivery model for our entertainment. My personal opinion is that within the next 2 years our television and entertainment options will all be available as On Demand choices. You’ll be able to watch whatever you want within minutes of it’s original air time. Options like Google TV and others will create an all inclusive dashboard for on demand programming. You’ll be able to make your choices based on what you want to see, the dashboard knows where the programs come from on the back-end (i.e. Cable TV On Demand, Hulu, Netflix, Tv.com, etc.).
I recently remarked that with the inclusion of ESPN3.com into the new offerings on Xbox Live, that I think I’m closer than ever to ditching my formal Digital Cable offering. In order to get access to the online content I would still have to keep my cable high-speed internet but I’d be able to cut out the majority of expense from our monthly bill.
I also own a media server software called Play On. With Playon it works very much like the dashboard I envisioned earlier, I can access many of the available internet video sources all in one place. I have to go into each individual site (Hulu, Netflix, ESPN3, etc.) to see the program offerings but at least they are all in one place and can be streamed through my Xbox 360. I think the pieces are there, it’s now becoming an issue of actually cutting the cord.
What will the future hold? I think it will hold great promise for “content junkies” like me. The costs for us as the end user may go up since companies like Netflix, Epix, and others have to deliver you the content and they have to pay for that delivery. I think you’ll see more deals with content availability as companies like Netflix and Hulu need to monetize the rights they own to content. No matter what the future holds we know it’ll happen quickly and those companies hoping to stick around had better adapt to the changing environment or risk going the way of the newspaper companies.
Update: I switched from satellite TV to antenna and have extra money to spend each month. It is easier than ever to cut the cord.