PHOENIX - Cutting the cord (think Cox/DirecTV/Dish Network not newborn baby) is not a new concept. It’s been talked about for years since broadband connections started making their way into our homes.
These days, it’s more of a reality than ever before. Set top boxes like Roku , AppleTV and GoogleTV finally give us an easy way to access content from our couch in full HD quality. But are we really ready? Is it really possible to get the same experience without one of the big providers in your life?
First of all, the latest boxes provide for a pretty good experience. It's not perfect but it's good. They all give you access to services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus. You can stream movies, TV shows and exclusive streaming content.
Most network and cable shows are available in some form on streaming services. Some networks have started creating their own apps too. HBO has gained a lot of popularity with the HBO Go service. With HBO Go you can stream your favorite HBO shows via the internet. The quality is great and most shows are available after they air.
The idea of paying for only the shows or movies you want to watch makes a lot of sense. The problem is, not all shows are available. Sometimes you have to wait until the next day after it airs on TV or cable.
Other times, it’s not available until the entire season is released as a DVD. Some shows aren't available at all. The big networks are clinging to their content. They don’t want you to cut the cord!
HBO Go is another prime example of the disconnect between what WE want and what the cable and satellite companies want. You can’t get access to HBO Go unless you already subscribe to HBO on your cable provider. That stinks, doesn’t it?
We’re making baby steps in the right direction but until content is truly available to consumers in a digital format, when it airs without any strings attached, it makes it hard to make the switch.
The other issue is live content. Whether it’s news or sports, it’s hard to find it on a digital set top box. MLB has created an app for many set top boxes that let you watch games from anywhere in the country with a subscription. This is great! I wish other networks would do the same.
I want to be able to watch live news channels on a Roku or AppleTV box. So far, nobody has made this step. I imagine a lot of it has to do with the delicate relationships the cable networks have with the cable providers. Not to mention the written contracts. Sure, you can plug in an antenna and watch your local news for free but that still leaves out a lot of news channels and sports channels.
Finally, the biggest issue for me is the passive nature of cable TV. Many of us, myself included, passively watch TV throughout the day. I’ll flip on HGTV or DIY Network on a Saturday afternoon and watch whatever is on. Sure, I like Bathroom Crashes and Holmes on Homes but I wouldn’t search for it and download it. I watch it because it’s on.
I like “flippin’” through the channels. I like sampling shows that I would never find otherwise. The set top boxes need to figure out a way to create a similar experience.
In the end, I don’t think we’re there yet. A lot needs to change and I think we’re at least a few years away from it being a realistic option. I know many have already cut the cord and I commend people for that. Personally, I am not quite ready.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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