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Cutting the cord

Submitted by Audiovision on Thu, 01/14/2016 - 13:42

As we are growing ever more dependent on an internet connection, we start finding that our old legacy media formats that we used to be so reliant on, are fast becoming a forgotten shelf filler somewhere.

CDs were the first to get the axe. As we started the slide from CDs to MP3 in the early 2000's it soon became apparent that the convenience of having our music with us at all times overrided the possible trade-off in ultimate quality. First we ripped CDs into MP3, then we started buying music via download and that has finally given rise to streaming music services, who, rather than to sell us music, rented us all we could listen to, provided we had access to the internet. 

With wi-fi services being rolled out in all malls and public spaces, we are suddenly in a situation that we can ditch the idea of owning any entertainment, but rather we pay for it when desired and have the luxury of access to much more than we ever owned (or could afford to own) ourselves. 

The next step is for video services to follow as we have seen with services like Showmax and Netflix that rolled out during the end of last year and early 2016. This is simply a result of the way that we have become used to consuming media. We want everything and we want it now. These services serve up our TV programs in exactly that way. The trend of binge-watching series - i.e. not waiting a week for a single episode, but rather spending a weekend in front of a TV and watching a whole season - has become so prevalent in the last past couple of years that it made conventional TV scheduling very undesirable. We simply don't want to wait anymore. 

This left many satellite TV suppliers scrambling to retain their subscribers. This is most certainly a very good thing for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, we can cut the cord, as the tendency has become known, and rely entirely on our streaming services for our TV entertainment. This is similarly priced to satellite TV packages when you include the cost of the data subscription, but you get to choose what you want to watch, when and how much of it. You obviously have the use of data for other, more mundane purposes as well, included.

Secondly, this will force satellite TV companies to create content so desirable, that one has no choice but to keep paying a subscription to be able to have access to them. This will (hopefully) lead to much better local content in the form of news, actuality programs and documentaries that are only availabe on the satellite TV channels. For now, satellite companies mostly depend on live sport broadcasts to retain their subscribers. This is almost certainly why the most desirable sporting events are only broadcast on the most expensive TV packages. 

Ultimately, we will leave even satellite TV behind, no matter how good or cheap it is. Internet connectivity is quickly becoming like water and electricity - a basic service in every house that is simply expected to be there from inception. Our entertainment, information, news, communication - entire connection to the world - will use the internet as as the means and all other connections like telephone and satellite TV will soon be cut.

The vast amount of advantages that this hold will be discussed in a future post about the "Internet of things", but for now it's time to start reevaluating cutting the cord. 


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Streaming media 


Cord cutting trends