When I started to write this article on cutting the cord and getting all my TV via the Internet instead of cable or satellite I quickly realized that given the technology convergence, it wasn’t at all clear what I meant by “TV”.
It used to be very easy, TV was the device in your living room that received broadcast radio waves through an antenna either on top of the unit as “rabbit ears” or a bigger array on your roof. Can you imagine having one of those today? But with the plethora of video content on the web and the devices by which we can consume that content, the lines have been blurred to the extent of confusion.
So let me share my confusion with you. Is TV a device, or is it content, or is it delivery? What does it mean these days to say “I’m going to watch TV.”?
Can I “watch TV” on my tablet? If your answer is yes, then “TV” isn’t really a device.
Can go to the store and buy a TV? I think we all know the answer to that one, so that means TV is a device… right? OK, that’s a tricky one. Let’s ignore it for now.
If I “watch TV” on my tablet then clearly I’m referring to content, but is it only content from broadcast and cable channel providers meaning something you could watch on your device called a TV. This would imply that watching on demand video’s such as Netflix would not be “watching TV”? And if I am watching Netflix through my Roku or tablet streamed onto my device called a TV, am I watching TV?
Now, back to the concept of defining TV as being from broadcast and cable channel providers… what about web only content from a cable channel? I can watch Food Network’s “Chopped” on their channel, but if I want to watch “Chopped After Hours” I can only stream it from their website. So if I watch both of those on my tablet back to back, did I go from “watching TV” to not “watching TV”?
What if I’m watching a “TV show” such as NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” on Netflix… on my phone? Is that “watching TV”?
This can go on forever. Basically what I’m saying is that the term “TV” is meaningless today. It’s all about consuming video content. And for me I think it is time to cut the cord (specifically dump the satellite dish – and associated monthly bill) and join the throng moving to web only. And why not? Why am I paying $100 per month for 600 channels of which we watch two or three? And if it weren’t for DVR so that I can do it on my schedule and skip commercials, I wouldn’t even watch that much. But with the web, it’s all on demand.
The cable and satellite companies have to be scrambling to figure out how to remain relevant. The only thing they’ll have left to offer is bandwidth onto the Internet, and the satellite companies have always struggled with providing that as a service. Oh well, enough for today. I think I’ll go consume some video content.