A friend of mine has been telling me about his entertainment center setup. He has a PC linked to his Xbox and uses the Netflix service to have movies sent directly to his Xbox. ‘I’m thinking about canceling my cable next week!’ he says. Sure he’ll miss out on MLBTV, HBO and the other shows he watches, but at this point with all the free content available online and services that beam shows right to your devices, is cable really worth $50 a month?
This may be the beginning of the end for television that is broadcast at specific times. The ‘watch-it-when-you-want-to’ era is not only being adopted by techies, but also by grandma wanting to watch Golden Girls whenever she wants. With storage prices falling, you can buy a huge hard drive to satisfy all of your video storage needs. I still rely on cable to fill my Tivo, but I also use the Tivo Desktop software to download video on my PC and send it to my Tivo. So I rarely watch cable, and even when I do, it’s the same thing over and over again. How is it that I have over 300 channels but there is nothing new to watch on cable at 5pm on a Sunday?
The part that should get interesting in all this is how creative advertisers will get to get their message across. Who watches commercials anymore? You can zip right through them. To circumvent that, TV shows have been putting product placement in the middle of their shows, forcing people to watch the ads. Tivo has also played with the idea of displaying ads while a user fast-forwards. I’m almost certain that we’ll be forced to watch ads more often in the future as advertisers find new ways to tap into this market.