For my entire adult life, I have subscribed to cable television and over the years have been supplied with a variety of set-top box hardware from Dish Network, Comcast, Time Warner, and others. No more! I am officially out of the dedicated cable box business and these incumbent players better take notice lest they have the rug pulled out from under them.
To be clear, I am not saying I don’t watch “cable” programming (e.g. Comedy Central, CNN, HGTV etc.) anymore, but rather the mechanism I use to get that programming will no longer be via a proprietary coaxial cable coming into my house or a satellite dish. Instead, I am now sold on IPTV coming in via my broadband Internet connection. Instead of the formal term “IPTV” (television running over the Internet Protocol) I will simply call it “Internet TV” to make clear that this is TV delivered to my home via my Internet connection.
I happen to have switched to YouTube TV, but there are many options including Hulu TV, DirectTV Now, Sony PlayStation Vue, Sling and many more. This choice is one reason I like Internet TV, but far from the only reason. The main reason I now prefer Internet TV is the flexibility which comes in at least two forms:
First, I don’t need a physical piece of hardware attached to my TV so it is much easier to mount a TV on the wall or in tight spaces. See photo of a 32 inch Samsung SmartTV mounted very cleanly on my bedroom wall. There are no dangling cables or needed surface below where I would place the set-top box. Second, and perhaps most significant, with Internet TV my viewing habits and even method of TV watching has changed significantly. I can not only watch TV on a TV set, but also on my laptop or even cell phone if I so desire. I particularly like the fact that I can begin watching a show or sporting event on a TV in one room and then pick it up (where I left off if I am recording) on another TV in the house or on
my laptop or cell phone. Now when my wife tells me to run out and get some milk during the middle of a big game, I can happily comply as I watch the game while cruising the aisles at our local grocery store. Internet TV may soon be saving marriages all over the world (ok perhaps that is a bit too ambitious)!
I don’t think cable companies are quite dead yet however. Internet TV is still in its infancy and there are some barriers to serious adoption. The main one is a robust Internet connection. I happen to have a 1 Gbps fiber connection that is more than adequate to stream 4K content on multiple TVs at one time. However, this is not the norm and it is rather expensive at nearly $100/month for just the connection. Also, to efficiently stream to a TV you need either a SmartTV (built in YouTube TV application) or some third-party device such as Roku, Apple TV, Chomecast etc. to get the stream. While this is not technologically that difficult I suspect there will be some resistance by a large percentage of TV viewers. But for those technically inclined I think Internet TV is great and the way of the future for TV.