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03/10/15

Stream queen: Why cable is in real danger with online streaming

I walked into my sister's home for a random, Monday night visit and asked if I could watch television. She said no. At first, I thought she was being funny, but she explained that her days of cable or satellite are over.
So what exactly is she doing for entertainment, more specifically television?
She calmly looked at me and said, "we don't watch enough TV, so we can't justify paying." That mentality might seem like the minority, but truthfully it really isn't. More and more consumers have decided to rid themselves of a 100 or 200 dollar per month bill in exchange for services like Netflix or Hulu that sit at around $10 per month. Even the combination of a few of these streaming services is far below cable from a pricing standpoint.
Some take it as far as having Netflix and watching TV shows on DVD or simply renting movies at their leisure from the likes of Redbox, another piece of entertainment that is chipping away at cable.
Where cable still reigns supreme is the convenience of having extras like internet or a DVR to record shows as they're happening. Those who have favorite TV shows on a weekly basis that simply can't wait or miss them that day (or the next) likely will employ the cable and justify that high monthly cost.

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The real issue that cable and satellite face isn't so much the current crop of streaming technology like Netflix and Hulu but rather the notion that other comparable services are on the horizon with much more potential to put cable on the ropes.
Entities like CBS and ESPN have discussed continuing their relationship with cable for now but have teased the idea of offering a subscription based service for between $10 and $20 per month for customers that are longing for a pay per channel type endeavor. If, for example, you only watch ESPN and a few local channels, you can easily find a cable bill that checks in for less than $50.
You have to assume that cable television is seriously contemplating what they'll do if those stations start forging ahead without cable or satellite part of the equation.
Cable companies like Comcast, the largest communications company in the world, and Verizon (FIOS) might be fluffing off these choices as real competition, but you have to believe that there is at least a modicum of employees and executives in the know that realize the streaming service might soon dethrone the former kings of cable.

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