Online VS On TV: Is Cable Becoming Obsolete?

An American home without a TV and/or any other electronic device in this day and age is unheard of. However, it is not unheard of for families and individuals these days to ditch their cable and watch their favorite shows and movies through streaming services instead. Streaming services in recent years, namely Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video have proven to be more effective by allowing customers to stream and watch shows at any time. Because more consumers choose to switch to streaming services as opposed to watching traditional TV, is cable becoming obsolete?

Television itself was such a huge deal when it was introduced. It has changed and dominated our lives throughout the last several decades. Television has proven to be one of the most influential inventions in history. Before 1947, only a few thousand sets were owned in the country. By the late 1990s, 98% of American homes owned at least one TV and watched on average more than 7 hours of TV a day. A typical American individual watches at least 2.5-5 hours of TV a day.

Philo Farnsworth, seen here demonstrating his television system.

TV’s Beginning

The first electronic TV was successfully demonstrated in San Francisco on September 7, 1927. Philo Taylor Farnsworth is often the one credited with starting up the concept of television. As a high school student Farnsworth conceived images moving in a form coded in radio waves transformed back onto a screen. Despite Farnsworth mostly being credited with the invention of television, Boris Rosing of Russia experimented transmitting images sixteen years earlier than the debut of Farnsworth’s invention. John Logie Baird of England and Charles Francis Jenkins of the U.S. created a rotating disk with holes that could transfer images earlier in the 1920s. However, Farnsworth’s invention is still credited as the direct ancestor of modern TV.

RCA, the dominating radio business in the U.S., invested $50 million to develop television. In 1939 RCA televised the opening of New York’s World’s Fair. An image of then president Franklin Delano Roosevelt appearing on sets was also part of the broadcast, making him the first president to appear on television. RCA later began making and selling 5×12 inch TV sets. The first televised baseball game appeared on May 17, 1939. In 1941 CBS broadcasting began to release two 15 minute newscasts daily to tiny audiences. The number of TV stations began to grow in 1949, and two years earlier full-scale television broadcasting began. In the beginning there were only three major networks: CBS, ABC, and NBC. In 1951 12 million American homes had television, and by 1955 half of all American homes had TV. Color broadcast on prime time began in 1964. Television would also shape how Americans would catch up on politics-most notably the Presidential Campaign of 1960, and the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963.

History of Cable Television, and Development of New Cable/Non-Cable Networks

The first cable services were available in 1948. Cable broadcast channels were available in parts of Oregon, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania. By 1960, major metropolitan areas were demanding for cable. By 1980, all major programming services were on NCTA (National Cable and Telecommunications Association). By 1990, 57% of U.S. households had access to Cable with 79 networks. The trial of O.J. Simpson, broadcast in ’95, showed the strong hold of cable on audiences. Broadband was introduced in 1996. HD TV first appeared in 1997-and by this time the internet was beginning to take hold in many households. In 1998, there were 171 cable networks available. In 2000, 65 million Americans subscribed to cable. In 2012 800 networks were available-and 93% of Americans now had access to cable. 900+ networks were available by 2014. By 2016, $341 billion had been invested in programming (since ’96) and cable’s internet speed had gone up to 26BPS (bits per second). By the mid-2000s, 115 million households had access to ultra-fast broadband networks. High definition TV, Digital phone services, and high-speed internet became widely available throughout the U.S.

Throughout the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, new TV networks would also appear-for both cable and non-cable viewers. Non-cable networks included PBS (1970) Fox (1989) and UPN (1995). Cable Networks appearing in the ‘70s included HBO (1972), C-Span (1977) Nickelodeon (1979) and ESPN (1979). Cable networks MTV, CNN, USA Network, and BET Networks would soon follow.TV ratings first appeared in the mid 90s and the V-chip was also soon embedded in TV sets, meaning parents could block certain shows they felt unsuitable for their children.

Beginning in early 2000, new tv sets would be required to include V-chip technology, allowing parents to block shows they find inappropriate for their children.
Beginning in early 2000, new tv sets would be required to include V-chip technology, allowing parents to block shows they find inappropriate for their children.

How Did Home Media Change The Way People Watch Shows and Movies?

In the ‘70s and ‘80s Betamax, the VCR, and in the 2000s the DVR appeared. DVD players would also become common in the early to mid 2000s. These inventions massively changed the way we watch TV and movies. Viewers could now record their favorite shows and movies and watch them at any time. The VCR and DVR also allowed viewers to fast-forward or skip commercials. They could also buy/rent movies on Beta, VHS, DVD etc. and watch them whenever. People now had fewer limits as to how/when they could watch films and shows. They would have even fewer limits once streaming sites would arrive on scene, as would apps that would allow a consumer to watch a movie or show anywhere on any electronic device.

This is a Panasonic VCR model PV-1200 from circa 1979-1980.
This is a Panasonic VCR model PV-1200 from circa 1979-1980.

Are More Viewers Streaming Their Shows Now?

Despite the influence of cable tv over the years, research shows that less youth are watching traditional TV, instead streaming the films and shows they watch. DVR and other “recordings” of shows only represent a fraction of live viewings. Live TV viewing averaged 15 hours and 11 minutes per week. DVR and time shifting viewing averaged 1 hour and 11 minutes per week. Traditional viewing by 18-34 year-olds fell 34% between 2011 and 2015 (by 1/3). Teens (12-17 year-olds) averaged 15 hours and 36 minutes per week, a 14.5% drop. Older millennials (25-34) averaged 23 hours and 12 minutes per week. Generation Xers (35-49) averaged 31 hours and 25 minutes resulting in a 3% decrease. 50-64 year-olds averaged 42 hours and 59 minutes per week, a 1.1% increase. Seniors 65+ and up averaged 50 hours and 53 minutes per week, and 8% increase since 2011. Those 65+ only recorded 2 quarters of decline in traditional TV viewings in 5 years. This masks the large decline of traditional TV viewings by younger Americans. These statistics also show that streaming is now the primary form of viewing shows and movies for younger generations. 39% of 19-25 year-olds have been found to mostly stream what they watch while 29% are primarily watching traditional TV. 31% of 26-32 year-olds mostly stream what they watch, while 28% watch more traditional TV. 13-24 year-olds mostly view their content “free” or subscribe digitally rather than watch TV. Overall, media usage of 18-34 year-olds has been growing. They have also been shown to use TV connected devices 3.3 days per week-while adults average 2.9 days per week. 18-34 year olds use connected devices up to 7+ hours per week.

Arguments show that media habits do change upon starting family. Few 18-24 year-olds have been inclined to get pay TV once living on their own. Dependent adults are more likely to have DVR, DVDs, and PCs. Millennials “on their own” are more likely to have multimedia devices and on demand. Millennials with their own place tend to adopt multimedia. These results are from a mix of mostly surveying both young and old millennials. The amount of those who still have cable are mostly dependent adults. TV-connected devices are more common with those who do not have kids. Millennials who have kids may fall into similar patterns.

Popular Streaming Shows


Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman, the protagonist of Transparent.

A major reason why streaming services have been on the rise in recent years is due to quality content and greater convenience at a much lower cost. Popular, innovative shows have been appearing left and right on sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video. House of Cards, Transparent and The Man in the High Castle are just a few notable examples. Transparent, a show from Amazon Studios, offers glimpses of in-depth family issues, such as sexuality, gender, divorce, and drugs. Jeffrey Tambor, who portrays the protagonist, a Transgender woman, has won an award for Outstanding Actor for Best Drama of 2015. Marvel’s Jessica Jones premiered on Netflix on November 20, 2015. Krysten Ritter plays the titular character, a short-tempered, snarky detective in New York City who suffers from PTSD. What makes this show so intriguing is how it deals with issues like consent and power, while fleshing out such dimensional characters-most notably Jones herself. Orange is the New Black, also on Netflix, recounts the happenings of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) when she is serving a 15 month sentence in prison for smuggling a suitcase full of drug money. Things take a turn for the worst when Piper’s former lover, Alex (Laura Prepon), becomes her prison-mate, creating such a complex and relatable drama. Streaming services are on the rise as they have a variety of shows to offer with complex characters and identifiable circumstances.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix won the award for best comic adaptation at the Peabody Awards- making it one of the first adaptations to receive a Peabody.

With streaming viewers can now watch both new and old TV shows of their choice. It is easy to binge watch shows, and these services have shown to be flexible for young adults. Netflix and Amazon have eliminated ads (Although the DVR can do this too, they are more expensive). Consumers can save hundreds by opting for streaming rather than cable services. One conflict, however would be that many viewers still tend to enjoy cable shows that may be unavailable for streaming.

Taylor Schilling (right) as Piper Chapman and Laura Prepon as Alex Vause in Orange is the New Black.

Rising Concern of Pirating Shows

One issue that many networks have had to deal with the rise of streaming is piracy. Quick demand for certain shows and movies has been on the rise. Mobiles and other electronic devices in recent years have made pirating easier than ever before. HBO’s Game of Thrones has been reported to be the highest pirated TV show of all time. In 2015, 1.6 million illegal downloads of episodes of the show occurred in a span of just 4 weeks. It accounts for ¼ of all pirate downloads from the top 100 torrent sites. The first 4 episodes of Season 5 were leaked online in 2015. One episode was illegally downloaded 2.2+ million times. HBO is beginning to take steps to reduce this issue by sending copyright infringements to alleged pirates, and to take down torrents for pirating HBO content. Warnings will also be sent to IP addresses of torrent users caught sharing episodes. HBO has already sent take down notices to some torrent sites like Torrent Freak, which are already complying. People will also be directed to sites where they can legally obtain episodes of HBO shows. Steps are also being taken so pirates would have to wait for episodes to air on TV before they can be downloaded.

What Will Be the Future of Entertainment?

Overall, it is truly amazing to think of how much TV has impacted the way Americans have gotten their entertainment. Cable and streaming have especially influenced entertainment for people. It is a truly a fascinating history and is crazy to think of how much has changed in how Americans have gotten their shows in the past 60-70 years. It is also insane to think of what will replace streaming and pirating 10-20+ years from now. Traditional TV as we know it may be completely obsolete within the next several years.


“Our Story.” NCTA. National Cable and Telecommunications Association, n.d. Web. 24 June 2016.

Cavna, Michael. “Peabody Award for Netflix/Marvel’s ‘Jessica Jones’ Is a Win for Adapted Comic-book Fare.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2016. Web. 24 June 2016. .

Dissinger, Peter. “The Rise of Streaming Services and the Fall of Cable TV.” Student Life The Rise of Streaming Services and the Fall of Cable TV Comments. N.p., 31 Mar. 2016. Web. 24 June 2016. .

Hurley, Laure. “How HBO Is Dealing With Its Game Of Thrones Piracy Problem – CINEMABLEND.” CINEMABLEND. N.p., 10 May 2016. Web. 24 June 2016. .

Lupis, J.C. “What 5 Years Worth of Data Tell Us About Youth and TV.” MarketingCharts. MarketingCharts Staff, 12 Apr. 2016. Web. 24 June 2016. .

Paskin, Willa. “There Is Only One Great New Show This Fall. It’s on Amazon Prime.” Slate Magazine. N.p., 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 June 2016. .

Schaefer, Megan. “‘Orange Is The New Black’ Season 1 Recap: Everything To Know Before The Season 2 Premiere.” International Business Times. N.p., 03 June 2014. Web. 24 June 2016. <>.

Stevens, Mitchell. “History of Television.” History of Television – Mitchell Stephens. Grolier Encyclopedia, n.d. Web. 24 June 2016. <>.

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  1. Netflix is riding a “we’re the Chipotle of TV viewing” wave. In time two things will occur to subscribers —

    1. Their taste in programming (HOUSE OF CARDS, ORANGE) is really just shock and awe. “Look at how depraved people can be” programming which gets old once you catch the trick. Not just old, but draining. Is DAREDEVIL really going to be so much better than ARROW? I doubt it. I even have a feeling it will be their flrst flop. Once the buzz around Netflix dies down —

    2. — it will occur to people there is no ‘Netflix Magic’. Just because it is the next big thing doesn’t mean it’s the best thing of it’s kind.

  2. I finally got rid of cable TV and have both Netflix and Hulu Plus and so far its been great. Who wants to pay an extra $40-50 a month for 500 channels you don’t watch and have to pay $12 a month for an HD DVR ? Hopefully more people will subscribe to this idea instead of cable or satellite TV and networks will want to provide more content.

    • I agree. My family has actually never had cable before for pretty much that same reason. We would paying a lot of money for so many extra channels when we would only watch a few of them. I think more and more people are definitely jumping on the idea of ditching their cable for streaming which is a lot more affordable and convenient.

  3. The cable and satellite TV providers have held a collective monopoly over television viewing for decades now and they all charge outrageous prices for the service. Who should be surprised that people are turning en masse to less expensive alternatives? Internet access will be next.

  4. Munjeera

    Great topic and analyzed really well from the beginning to end. Netflix is a very well managed company that has made all the right choices. Blockbuster actually declined taking over Netflix, a decision that I am sure Blockbuster regrets. Netflix is worldwide with few exceptions and I believe the future of entertainment. I wish I had bought a few shares. : )

    “A major reason why streaming services have been on the rise in recent years is due to quality content and greater convenience at a much lower cost.” – Agreed 100%. Let’s hope Netflix keeps it up.

  5. I’m glad you enjoyed this, and I do agree it’s a shame Blockbuster declined to take over Netflix. And the fact that streaming is essentially replacing cable does make one wonder what will replace streaming for entertainment in the next 10-20 years or so.

  6. Live sports is the only thing keeping the cable and satellite companies afloat. No one under 30 pays for cable or satellite.

  7. Forsythe

    I proudly count myself as being among the first to “cut the cable” some 12 years ago, when I saw mainstream television programming becoming so insipid and cloying I could no longer justify paying for the privilege of having my intelligence insulted, daily.

    With Netflix streaming I have half a dozen programs I can either watch, or not watch; Netflix keeps track of where I am so I can not view the program for three weeks, and still pick up right where I left off. It’s brilliant, and you become spoiled instantly. Best purchase I ever made.

    • I’d say you made the right choice too. Cable also doesn’t seem to be worth getting now as opposed to 15-20 years ago partly because there just doesn’t seem to be as many good programs as there were then.

  8. willburn

    If I could just get my sports through streaming I would ditch cable immediately

  9. Penney Yoo

    I have finally gotten to the point where I’m fed up with commercials sprinkled with intermittent television, 200 out of my 250-channel package not being of any interest, and recycled movies with very few of recent vintage.

  10. I love Netflix.. have for years and it keeps getting better! They saved one of my favorite shows that got cancelled on A&E even though it was one of their highest rated series..

  11. The ads are killing the cable… same with the weak filler content.

    It’s worse in other nations like Mexico.

  12. Yee Bustos

    We have Netflix & Amazon Prime. Yet hard to find new content after several years that we are interested in. Wind up on Cable History channels, Nat Geo, Military Channels and Reality Channels.

    Ya, the premium services are worth it for what we use them, but they do not replace cable for me.

    • That is definitely a downside when it comes to streaming. Certain cable shows may not be featured on sites for streaming.

  13. MickiMouse

    Cable and sattelite force you to pay for about 30 different Christian channels, shopping channels and channels that have 10 minutes of actual show for every 30 minutes, the rest being commercials. For this you pay around $100 a month to watch the 5 or six channels you actually ever watch.

    • It’s amazing isn’t it? The damn commercials are a full 10 minutes of a 30 minute show on most of the cable channels! Arrgh. Remember when ‘cable tv’ was SUPPOSED to be commercial free?

  14. As the article pointed out, the key is a freeing up of limitations: we went from thick VCR tapes to thin DVDs, and now with streaming we can access a library of shows and movies from one device. We live in the age of consumerism, where quantity is more desirable than quality.

    Albeit, there is something to be said about the content quality in Netflix series, as the article exemplified. It seems like most of these comments are economically influenced: people saying they canceled their cable because it saved them tons of money compared to streaming services. But I don’t think that the success of streaming is solely on its economic appeal of 12$ a month.

    I also would like to have read how this development in streaming services has affected other countries besides America.

    This topic can take so many tangents, all of which have their own facets of intrigue and complexity.

    • It’s true that most Americans want a limited access to movies and shows fast, and it would also be interesting to know how streaming services have affected us worldwide, not just America. That is definitely something to keep in mind if I were to do this article again.

  15. CBS streaming includes commercials, which is completely ridiculous!

  16. Services like Netflix have altered the way people watch television. Traditionally you’ve had a season of a television show fed out at one episode per week. Now we binge watch and entire season or more and move on to an entirely new show and do the same, not revisiting the previous show until we have a whole new season to binge watch. In short, we now watch TV the same way we read books. I don’t know anyone who reads a half dozen books at once, but only at one chapter per week. We read the book and move on to the next. In this case, a season of a television show such as Arrow is the equivalent of a book in a larger series of novels.

  17. One would think the cable networks would see the trend and make it easier instead of harder for people to watch their programming on their computers. (MSNBC, I’m talking to you!) At least they would be watching your content and advertising instead of the streaming services’s.

  18. I will never pay for satellite or cable again. It’s been years, and I haven’t missed a thing except zillions of way-too-loud and annoying commercials. I stream anything I’m interested in or order the DVDs from Netflix. Of course, my life doesn’t revolve around the TV, either, like it seems to do for so many. It probably makes a difference, having a life.

  19. danielle577

    For awhile, I was staying with someone who did not have cable, but I did have amazon prime, and netflix, already. She had a smart TV, so I was able to watch both of these media platforms from a nice flatscreen TV. Then I upgraded Amazon to include Starz, and Showtime, and my laptop to include HBONOW (for Game of Thrones, of course!). After doing so, I was completely content, and felt as though I truly never needed cable again.
    Now, I am living elsewhere, in a place where cable is installed. The bill is so high, I scroll through numerous channels, only to find myself either on netflix, amazon, or paying for a movie on demand. Cable is a waste. It’s overpriced, and I would not be surprised if it does become obsolete. The rate in which Amazon and Netflix are now creating their own shows is impressive and a definitive attempt to compete with the cable networks. The only problem that exists is the popular primetime shows–aka Scandal–that people wait all week to watch. There is ABC go, but if competition does really become heated, will ABC still allow this free online streaming of a couple of the latest episodes? We shall see…

  20. That’s stupid that you have to pay for a service you are not even using. Hopefully soon you’ll have another place where you only have to pay for the streaming services you use. And it’s like I mentioned in the article that a flaw of streaming is that not all sites offer all shows that are on traditional TV.

  21. I’m one of the few that still love Cable and all it has to offer. I have Netflix too but with Cable struggling like it is, Verizon/Comcast are lowering their cable prices to lure in customers.

  22. Acevedo

    Great article. Time is a very important factor, and the fact of the matter is, people are busy. We have work, school and many other things that demand our time. Netflix gives us the ability to enjoy movies and programs at times convenient for us. We don’t have to rush home or record them. We can come home, take a shower, warm up dinner and watch in bed! That’s what I do!

  23. It’s funny but you never hear about people who’ve dropped cable, going back on. I decided to try and do without cable 5 years ago. Never ever missed it, folks. If you can’t afford Netflix or Hulu, all your shows and movies are on DVD at local libraries for free. You’ll be a season behind, but seriously, who cares about waiting 6 or 8 months when you can binge watch the whole thing for free. right now I’ve just taken out SOA, Nurse Jackie and Downton Abbey from the library. Big woo that they are last season’s.

    Now I am kicking myself over all the money–thousands- I wasted on cable for too many years. I could have bought a car with that alone. Or gone around the world.

    • involved

      Totally. Been cable-free for over 4 years now and can’t imagine ever wasting my hard earned money on it again. Like you said, for me there wasn’t ever a period of missing it.

  24. The only reason I keep Netflix this days is because they signed a deal with Disney and have a load of quality kids movies.

  25. Torrent Freak is not a site that hosts torrents. It only hosts news articles related to torrents.

  26. What do you expect? Movies and videos that are available at the viewers times, not the networks preferences. So many good TV shows have been cancelled because TV just didn’t give them a chance. Netflix gives a much better read on just how popular a show is or can be.

    • LondonFog

      This. Netflix and other streaming services means you don’t have to cater your life around how a network schedules. Shows like NBC’s Hannibal would have done much better on a streaming service without network restrictions and schedule shifting. Some shows are just meant for streaming!

  27. I find that this article has a lot of truth in it. I believe that this change in how people watch shows and movies is changing. I don’t believe however that this change is going ruin traditional television. Will we see a major decline? Definitely a decline, but whether or not it is a major decline is up to time.

  28. scole

    i don’t have cable anymore i have chromecast, and it’s saved me so much money!

  29. This is a very well-research and well-written article. TV is the business is entertainment. And how people consume entertainment changes as technology changes. Before television, people went to the movie. Have movie theaters died? No, and one might argue that movie theaters are finding a renaissance today as they offer better seating, better food, and a more enjoyable experience. Before TV there was radio. Radio certainly isn’t dead. There are just as many FM channels as ever, and even more on satellite.

    TV isn’t dead and neither is cable TV. Those folks who are the heaviest cable TV consumers (Gen-X and Boomers) will continue to consume media through cable until they’re forced to use something else — either because their cable provider forces them to adopt a new technology or their slowly dwindling retirement funds force them to adopt a less-expensive alternative. Cable-cutters and early-adopters of OTT (over the top) will continue to watch this way, and adopt even newer technology as it arises. Most people don’t change their viewing habits unless they have to. I agree with enizzari — it will be interesting to see how today’s cable TV and OTT technologies evolve over the next two decades.

  30. Lauren Mead

    It’s interesting to see how much entertainment has changed over time. I think in some ways with so much access to TV on demand it’s a little harder to go outside or read. (That being said, it’s pretty nice to binge watch a good show when you’re under the weather).

  31. Jeffrey Cook

    Personally I think the advancement in internet speeds brought on the decline of cable television. A look at the demographics concerning the audience of news programs on Television is a reflection of this in my opinion – the majority being of an older age.

  32. This why I love streaming, although I don’t get every movie or show I would like on Netflix, I’m not paying high prices for cable, and channels I don’t want to watch anyway. Any for every title you can’t find on Netflix, you can find on another streaming site.

  33. Great article! I’m a huge fan of Netflix for documentaries and for some of their original shows (OITNB, Stranger Things). Its cheaper, always has something new I want to watch, and spares me the time staring at the TV Guide for something that is not a re run episode.

  34. I do not think there’s a need for cable anymore. Netflix and Hulu allow people to stream movies and shows. Also cable can be expensive, so we should look for other resources.

  35. I completely agree! I know a couple families who have stopped using cable and now only have Netflix. I think a lot of people will ditch their cable for streaming which is a lot cheaper and convenient.

  36. I don’t think that television will be obsolete It will just be in a different form and it might be called some other term, but it will still be around.

  37. I’ve never had cable in my home, so it has always been obsolete to me. Now that Netflix and online television/movie companies are taking over, it’s more obsolete than ever. Great article.

  38. It will take some time before television is completely obsolete, though I would love to see how television will handle the competition. This reminds me of how television stole some of the glory from film.

  39. Im just going to get hulu or Netflix. Its a lot cheaper.

  40. I love Netflix. It gives me the opportunity to watch shows that I want to watch whenever I want to watch them. However, I don’t see myself parting with cable any time soon. Cable offers more for me, and I honestly think that it’s the cheaper route because to get subscriptions to watch everything that I do watch, it would be roughly the same amount of money.

  41. As much as I love Netflix, it does not have every show or movie I want to watch, specifically network and cable TV shows. To get the largest selection, I would need to subscribe to Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime and I would still probably be missing something I want to watch. At least by still subscribing to cable I can get access to all episodes of my favorite shows, and most also providers have a Netflix-like set-up online where you can watch shows and movies you pay for in your package at any time.

    I do have a question though. With a great number of people moving towards online content providers like Netflix etc, do you think actual televisions will become obsolete, or will people still connect their computers to continue watching content on bigger screens?

    • I don’t think actual TVs will become obsolete anytime soon, because a lot of people still do connect their computers to access Netflix, Youtube, etc. on their TVs.

  42. An extremely relevant article with great analysis!!!

  43. KKillian

    Cable providers have certainly deserved to become obsolete for a long time now. Inevitably every package contains a multitude of channels you’d sooner go blind than watch, and they bait you with services only to “coincidentally” move them to a more expensive package later, “whoops.” I wouldn’t be opposed in the least if streaming TV took over entirely within the next 10-20 years.

  44. The internet is somewhat taking over TV as more people go online to watch shows. Cable is getting more and more expensive. Also there are fewer commercials with online streaming at this time.

  45. Beyond the cost difference and efficiency of watching tv shows online, there is a creeping suspense in waiting next week for a tv series to show the next episode. That suspense keeps people hooked on the show and money flowing to the networks. Commercials are also very helpful to keep suspense within the show Andy give yourself breaks to use the bathroom or grab a snack. Although I love Netflix myself, I hate that I will sit in one spot all day glued to a chair because the next episode already started playing and I need to know what happens next. Of course that is my own doing but the environment of watching tv online is just so much different from on your television.

  46. gabyelan

    Given the brief history of cable television, it seems like the natural progression is towards streaming sites. Why continue to pay for cable as well as high speed internet when you can reduce the cost of your bill and stream shows? Even for those people who want to watch shows that don’t have deals with streaming sites such as hulu, all they have to do is wait a few months for the whole season to be released on Netflix.

    Cable companies such as Comcast that have deals with certain networks (i.e. NBC, Telemundo, and Universal Studios) have had a monopoly for way too long and have taken advantage of so many customers. Media platforms are evolving at such a staggering and exciting pace, and it’s time for networks to evolve too.

  47. Really enjoyed this article! It’s amazing how far streaming has come in recent years. Very fascinating to think if the trend will become more popular or die out.

  48. This is such an interesting article! I have literally been waiting for someone to write about this topic. Although I respect business owners and their purpose over the last 10 years cable prices have become unbelievable. I’ve heard of so many different stories from people trying to get around paying such high cable bills. So with that being said either cable companies pool the price point down for a cable television or I do believe that not only cable will but should be obsolete. And I’m so in love with new companies like Netflix, Redbox, Hulu, fire stick etc. These companies are so awesome due to the simple fact that they have allow consumers to still watch great quality television and movies at a very low and reasonable costs.

  49. We’ve talked about this scenario in many of my journalism classes. It does seem as though cable is losing compared to online forms of entertainment.

  50. Streaming has gone viral, but what about in a few years how would we be able to enjoy some good flicks. What about if it becomes a virtual reality movie. The viewer is part of the movie and gets to experience it with a pair of virtual glasses.

    Great Article 😉

  51. I used to love cable, and watch it all the time but with the new releases with live streaming it just makes it much more convenient. Usually on websites like Netflix, there is little t o no advertisement and you can watch anything you want during any time (rather than waiting for it to come on live TV) It’s a shame it’s starting to die down, but it served its purpose during its time and definitely helped us get to where we are today!

  52. It’s not a close contest. Streaming offers far better and cheaper viewing options, period.

    With FilmStruck I have access to critically acclaimed movies I could never find on cable. With Netflix and Amazon Prime, I can get more mainstream fare and great original content. YouTube has a ton of documentaries, and its suggestion algorithm is the best anywhere. Half the year I subscribe to a pseudo cable service like PlayStation Vue or Sling for sports.

    All this costs a fraction of what I used to pay for cable, and delivers most of my content ad free. If it weren’t for their stranglehold on Internet services, the cable companies would soon be out of business.

  53. It is strange to think that traditional TV- What we grew up with- Could be gone in the next few years. Streaming services are so convenient and cost-effective, so it’s no wonder we are increasingly using them. You can watch all the episodes at once and over again. Cable is expensive and I personally don’t think people will continue paying for it for much longer, as the quality of programs on steaming services is just as good. There are a range of genres, something for everyone.

  54. I love the streaming services, they’re the only ones I have. I don’t have cable TV. One thing I’ve always been annoyed at is that not all shows are available to stream by the major platforms. Although I”m finding out that through Amazon Prime you can subscribe to different networks like HBO and Stars so that kinda fixes that problem. I think even though streaming has become a preference, there will still be some that prefer to have cable TV. Who knows what path the industry will take as far as making it obsolete.

  55. giorginamckay

    We’ve actually discussed this before in my sub major! With the introduction of all these new original Netflix series, and even the recent introduction of movies on Youtube Red, there’s no need for cable television. Our society is so heavily rooted in digital media that it’s much more simple and more accessible to watch content online. Plus, why pay for cable TV where you rarely watch half the stations, when you can pay much less for a Netflix account and you can stream as many shows and movies as you want? Truthfully, it will be sad to see it go, but I’d rather save my money and buy an apple TV where I can access the cable TV shows I do watch, as well as Netflix, Stan, Youtube and more.

  56. Cable is and has been too expensive. Some have taken the extra step and cut the cable and either opted for Netflix and other streaming platforms. Some have cut their bill considerably by getting an android box, pay 20/30 and up a month for much more channels than thought possible.

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