Tuesday, January 05, 2021

The Confusing World of TV and the Internet

How are you doing with your cable and TV subscriptions?
If you are a baby boomer and in some cases a Gen Xer, you may remember a world without the internet, and cable TV was the technology that seemed so advanced. 
  • This is more the late 90's and the competition was cable or over the air TV. Next came the internet which was through your phone providers which was dial-up. Think AOL and the CDs that they distributed all over the world and I got one in India and did not own a computer then.
  • An advance from dial-up was DSL again provided by the phone company
  • Till the late 90's cable companies did not pay attention to the internet providers. They were comfortable that this "internet" was not a threat to the programming of the cable TV providers
  • 2007; All of this changed when Netflix entered the market with streaming
  • We moved from live cable TV (or Over-the-air TV)  and borrowing videotapes or DVDs to streaming.  Netflix did not wait for the providers to get their act together on the internet. They developed a streaming technology that helped make the streaming of videos better so moving from tapes and DVDs gave a great example of instant gratification. The lesson here for companies is to make sure you think of the entire chain of customer connectivity to make the experience better.
Now we have 3 ways to think about media and the internet

1. Choose an internet provider 
2. Evaluate TV with the internet provider and combo of internet and TV packages
3. Choose an internet provider and subscribe to streaming only channels/packages

Of late none of the above alternatives are cost effective.

You can expect to pay about $79.99 for internet. Choose any option and you can expect to pay $65 for content from Hulu + or YouTubeTV . That is $145 and chances are, your local cable and streaming provider may give you both of these at about $125 and save you $20 a month ( No more cord-cutting)

The bargain seems to be choosing an internet provider who does TV too like Comcast. Wait, What? In some counties you may not have a choice. Your TV/Internet provider may have a monopoly. If they do not have a monopoly they may still be the cheapest. Internet plus TV packages may be cheaper than Internet Only packages.

The only issue here is that many companies now have to think of ways to make money. This is the time when you are most likely to go over your data cap (1.2TB for Comcast) .

a) Everyone is working from home
b) For the past few holidays, everyone bought or gifted smart devices, iOT  hubs and convenience tech so your data usage may be higher from these devices

You have a choice or rather you have to spend more money now than before but you can choose to spend it with one provider or have a whole lot of streaming apps. One thing is certain. You are paying the same as you did before you became a cord-cutter.

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