Indiana Wesleyan University
There is a storm brewing for the cable and satellite Television industry. Over the past few years an emerging trend is the convergence of the internet and television for the prominent media source in households across the country. As cable prices have continued to climb over the past decade and now average well above $100 a month for all households, many people have asked the question could I do without cable and still get the media I want to watch. The answer is yes, with maybe a few concessions. So how many are leaving cable? In the second quarter of 2010, 216,000 people canceled their cable, satellite or telecommunications subscriptions according to the media research firm SNL Kagan (Stelter, 2011). Then it happened again in the third quarter, when 119,000 people canceled subscriptions. Another study by consulting firm Parks Associates estimates some 900,000 U.S. homes didn’t pay for TV and relied solely on Web TV last year and projects that number to grow this year (Lawton, 2009). What can someone expect when they forego cable? The first option is to see what’s available over the air. In most cases free over-the-air HDTV has slightly better image quality than the HD cable people were paying for, since cable companies often compress their signals in order to include more channels (Moskovciak, 2011). Every modern HDTV has a built-in tuner, so most people can get by with an indoor antenna for approximately $20-50 to get crystal clear over-the-air HDTV. I priced indoor antennas at Best Buy and the basic ones were $20 and the fancier ones, paintable/flat/omnidirectional hidden antenna, were up to $50. The next option to consider is choosing a streaming video service. The most popular of the many streaming services is Netflix. For $8 per month, you get unlimited access to Netflix’s instant streaming catalog of over 20,000 films and TV shows, which you can watch on your computer, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, Xbox, PlayStation 3, and any other Netflix-enabled home theater device, such as a Wii or certain Blu-Ray Disc players (Moskovciak, 2011). To watch recent network television, you can sign up for Hulu Plus, a partnership between NBC, News Corp., and Disney. You can watch TV shows on Hulu.com on your computer, but Hulu Plus has the advantage of being easily viewable on your television and/or mobile device; and it’s also available in HD and has more extensive content. Hulu Plus costs $8 per month and gives you full-season access to popular shows with new episodes available right after their live airing. Another option to consider is buying your favorite cable shows a la carte since some popular shows are not available on Netflix or Hulu Plus. For a la carte most of these shows like True Blood, Justified and The Walking Dead are accessible via Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Vudu, and CinemaNow typically a day after they air. Episodes usually cost about $2 for standard definition and $3 for high definition, and since you’re actually purchasing the shows versus renting, you can go back and watch them any time you want. If you don’t already have a device that will let you watch the services mentioned above on your big-screen television there are a few very good and relatively inexpensive streaming video boxes to consider. Roku has three different streaming players with built-in Wi-Fi to fit every home and budget. The Roku LT is $49.99 plays high definition 720p video, includes a remote, and offers over 500+ entertainment channels, including Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Amazon Instant Video. The two higher level players add 1080p higher resolution high definition. The top level player at $99 adds an enhanced motion control remote for games and includes a free full edition of Angry Birds game, along with an Ethernet port and USB port (Roku, 2012). I have personally purchased one of the Roku LT players from Wal-Mart for a close friend and it was extremely...