In our world, technology is constantly improving and amazing us every year. It’s exciting, and has opened up a whole new set of possibilities, as well as businesses. However, it’s not necessarily good for everyone, as the art of ‘cable cutting’ has started to spread across the globe. With access to thousands of films and television series at a cheaper cost than most TV providers, streaming has started to take the world by storm. But does this spell the death of cable? In this article we explore cable and satellite television, as well as the world of streaming, to see how TV providers are coping with the change.
What are Cable and Satellite?
These are the two forms of television that people can choose from. Cable works via a radio frequency that is transmitted to a box inside your home, via coaxial or fibre optic Cables. The latter, however, uses light pulsing as opposed to radio transmissions. It’s available in all weather conditions, but it isn’t necessarily available everywhere. In the USA and the UK, very rural areas are less likely to be able to receive cable television.
Satellite works where a dish is attached to the outside of your home so that it can receive information from communications satellites. It is received via the parabolic reflector (antennae) on the satellite dish itself. This is then transmitted to the satellite box in your home. However, it is not necessarily available in bad weather conditions as the signal can be disrupted by this. It is available anywhere, though, so it doesn’t matter where you live.
Cable and satellite television tend to be quite pricey, at around £50 ($75) per month. In the United Kingdom, there is a free service known as Freeview which offers a selection of digital channels.
What is Streaming?
The definition of streaming is listening to music or watching videos in ‘real time’. By this, we mean that you do not need to download the file and you can instead watch it as it loads via an internet connection. Streaming videos online has become increasingly popular, as it offers the things people want to watch and listen to on demand, without having to wait for them to be aired on their cable or satellite TV channels.
Streaming can be free or paid for, it all depends on who you decide to go with (we will look at providers later). Of course, there is also illegal streaming, where videos or music are uploaded to the internet without permission from the creators. This used to be the most popular form of streaming, but with the introduction of new, legal, and more reliable services, the use of illegal ones has declined quite rapidly.
Why are People Choosing Streaming?
It’s no secret that more and more people have been choosing to use streaming services over cable and satellite in recent years. Since 2012, the number of people using services from TV providers has dropped steadily, and it is predicted that this will only continue. The question is, why are people choosing streaming services over cable and satellite?
The main reason is the price. Streaming services like Netflix offer access to thousands of television series and films for incredibly low prices, especially when compared to the TV providers. Most people would rather spend £8.99 a month for Netflix than £50 for Sky when half the channels are ones they don’t want.
Tying into this, we also have the issue of contracts. Many people don’t like the obligation of having to pay £50 a month for a whole year without being able to leave. After all, if you decide to leave before you time is up, you will face an incredibly hefty fee. Streaming services don’t have contracts; you can cancel your subscription at any time and start it up again just as easily. There are no obligations, and that is one of the most attractive features.
As well as being cheaper, it is also faster. Streaming content from the internet is quick and easy, with no need to worry about satellite disruptions or slow feeds. Plus, it’s easier to watch the stuff you like on the go, as most streaming services have apps that you can use on your tablet or smartphone. So no matter where you are, you can enjoy the programs you love.
You also have services like Amazon Prime Video. When you purchase Amazon Prime, you get one-day delivery on all of your orders for free, exclusive offers, and access to Amazon Prime Video as well as free books for the Kindle. Offers like that are hard to resist and combine a number of features that customers want for a very reasonable yearly fee.
Netflix have also started creating their own TV series, backed and funded by them. These shows tend to be exciting and fantastic quality, and people have been swarming to watch them instead of TV shows on cable or satellite. These shows have often proved to be massive successes, with titles like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and Stranger Things receiving high acclaim as well as awards.
In fact, the only real issue there could be with streaming is a poor internet connection or none at all. Without internet, streaming doesn’t work. This can be difficult if you internet is down for the day or the outside wires become damaged, but other than this it works seamlessly.
What Have TV Providers Done?
TV Providers have not let streaming get in the way of their business. Some have tried to offer better bundle deals for satellite television in a bid to persuade customers to choose them over streaming services. Sky very cleverly developed Now TV, a fast-growing streaming service that offers you around 20 Sky channels for £6.99 per month. For an additional cost, you can add Sky Movies, Sky Kids, and Sky Sports. Combined, it is still cheaper to buy all the packages than to pay for Sky each month.
It’s a join them instead of fight them mentality, offering customers a contract-free alternative that is cheaper and more selective than regular television services. Plus, the Now TV box even comes with catch-up apps for the BBC, channel 4, ITV, channel 5, and many more. It’s an all-inclusive streaming service that can be watched on your television, gaming console, or smartphone and tablet.
Will Cable and Satellite Die Out?
It’s not yet clear whether streaming will be the death of cable and satellite television. Currently, many members of the older generation prefer conventional methods of watching television to streaming services. Many find the concept complex and a bit of a hassle. Some streaming companies have been advertising themselves as a little friendlier to the older generation in a bid to get them to use the services they provide.
As more people get to grips with the concept of streaming, the cheaper price and ability to select what you are watching is one that will likely appeal to most people. Experts predict that the number of people watching television via cable and satellite will decrease, but whether or not these services will have to shut down completely has yet to be seen.