Cable, TV, Hollywood, media distributors, publishers, and related parties are having continuous discussions about the future of streaming video. I call them the Protectorate. Their goal is to protect their turf, not to give consumers what they want. If we could analyze the conversations, I am quite sure most things discussed are about how to lock people into or out of something. Consumer choice is likely not a hot topic. An important topic for them is how to guarantee movie theaters consumers will not be able to see some new movies until a certain “window” of time has gone by, even if the consumer is willing to pay extra to watch it at home.
Other discussions are about maintaining big bundles of channels, even though consumers don’t want big bundles, they want little bundles. Remember how we used to have buy an entire CD or DVD to get the one track of music we really wanted. Apple and iTunes changes that, but the Protectorate is much stronger than the music industry was. Consumers want to cut the cable, and they are doing so by the millions.
Despite the Protectorate, progress is being made, and the world of TV/Media/Video is going to be quite different soon. Sling, Hulu, YouTube, and others are moving in with smaller bundles. I predict we will soon be able to go a la carte. What is missing is an abstraction layer, fancy term which means a simple user interface to allow consumers to easily find what they want and watch it. This will become voice activated soon, so you won’t have to push any buttons or navigate complicated menus.
My first step down this new path was to cut the Comcast cable to the TVs in my home. I now have just one cable, the one that brings in high speed Internet service. That is all I need. Comcast said if I cancel the cable TV bundle, my cost for the telephone service will go up, but then I cancelled the phone service too, and got rid of even more wires. I don’t need a landline. My alarm company installed a cellular module on the laundry room wall. It connects to the security monitoring service whenever needed. In total, the changes are now saving me more than $200 per month. I have Roku devices plugged into each TV, and a $30 per month subscription to Sling. I am enjoying CBSN for news and whatever movies I want from iTunes or Amazon Prime.