The Netflix Revolution

Unplug, quick!

My wife and I recently cut the cable. We watch shows and movies on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu for less than half the cost of cable. We get our news online. there are news channels on the Roku, too. We’re looking into an antenna for local channels, but haven’t been in a hurry. There’s plenty of content to keep us occupied as it it.

Cable companies are right to be worried. Without factoring in streaming services, we’re saving about $100 a month by not having television service (we’re internet only). That’s huge. And really, there were only a few channels and shows we watched anyway. Most of them we can get online. The ones we can’t, we can pick them up once they’re released on Netflix.

Broadcasters are right to be worried. I would like to get local news and some over the air content, but so far, I’m doing fine without it. I can check the news on my computer, tablet, or phone. And the shows…well, see the previous paragraph.

Most of all, content producers are right to be worried…largely because they produce crap. Good shows are few and far between. The majority of television is filled with garbage. But for the shows that are popular, the new issue they’re facing is going to be viewers. If content is not made easily and affordably available, people will either pirate it or, worse, not watch it at all.

Streaming services are okay, but they still have a long way to go. This show is only available on that service, that movie is only available on that service, none of them have that show, etc etc. Netflix is good and very widely supported, but doesn’t have newer content. Hulu is okay, but you still have to watch ads and the selection isn’t as broad as I’d hoped. Amazon is getting better, but isn’t as polished and widely available as Netflix and Hulu.

Google TV and Roku have attempted to solve some problems by searching across available content providers, but each have their own limitation. We replaced our Google TV box (the Logitech Revue) with a Roku. Google TV was nice, but the content wasn’t there…Hulu in particular wasn’t supported, and Amazon videos were laggy and often locked up. The Roku is very slick, but it’s not as pretty as Google TV, the remote isn’t as functional (it’s simplicity is great, but the Revue had a full keyboard which made searching easy), and there’s no official YouTube channel.

Still, with all the limitations, we’re happy. And we’re saving money.

Reed Hastings smiles.

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