ON THE BRINK OF CHANGE - THE FUTURE OF TV
Newspapers thought they were invincible. They were rendered obsolete. The telephone companies bit the bullet next. Movie rental companies got moth balled. Then the bookstores. Is television the next slaying ground for a behemoth that needs to be laid to rest?
Yes. And the dinosaur is called the cable company.
I really never thought it could happen until now. Cable television is about to be put out to pasture. The cable companies are teed up and ready to be whacked right down the center of the obsolescence fairway.
All the signs are there, and the cable giants know that the clock is ticking. This will be the last hoorah for cable television as we know it. And the day that LTE coverage blankets the entire map, the final nail will be put in the coffin.
Have you ever thought about the fact that the average household pays well over $2,000 a year for TV programming, all while being given the worst possible service at the highest possible price? Up until now, we've been held hostage.
I've had fairly decent luck with my cable service provider. Customer service is decent, but response to problems is not. I've had instances where we were forced to wait 3 weeks for a service tech to fix an outage. We had no recourse, because there was very little competition.
But what will put this problem over the edge in short order is the fact that the majority of programming is now available over the Internet. I've never considered going the route of replacing my cable TV with a Roku box or something similar, because of one big missing piece of the programming puzzle...
There's no way I could cut my cable TV and live without Monday Night Football. Or watching Mizzou basketball live. Or the NBA playoffs. Or the Minnesota Lynx with my cousin Maya Moore.
But times are a changing. The NFL now provides subscription services that allow you to watch games online. So do several other major sporting networks.
With this last significant piece of the puzzle quickly filling in, I could realistically pull myself away from my addiction to my cable TV service and just continue on with high speed cable Internet. But I would still be somewhat stuck... until LTE comes to Central Missouri.
The advent of LTE will set the captives free, while providing high speed wireless internet service at double the speed of the big fat wire. And how many times does the cellular network go down in comparison to cable TV? Answer that yourself.
My best guess is that LTE service from AT&T will be in my neck of the woods sometime this year. Verizon Wireless already has blazing fast 4G LTE service in Central Missouri as we speak, and wireless devices run on their network faster than you can even imagine.
The cable company won't give up easy, though. They have just rolled out a 105Mbps package for those that want ridiculous download speeds. But that comes at a cost.
The cable company had to decommission several analog channels to swap out the bandwidth needed to provide the 105Mbps service. All they are doing is running several frequencies in parallel to get the desired new high speeds. But their ability to expand beyond this point is finite.
Unless research & development comes up with a breakthrough way to compress data and get more speed out of the existing network of cables, their doomsday is already within sight. Plus they have to fight against a decrepit, aging infrastructure that takes an enormous amount of maintenance.
If 4G LTE service arrives before the cable TV providers figure out a way to continue ramping up speeds, it will be too late. All things being equal, why would I stick with the less dependable and overly expensive big fat wire when I could possibly combine my cell phone service with wireless Internet for my computer?
Unless something catastrophic happens, or the cable company has a huge trump card, I give it a year before I dump my cable TV service in the same trash can that my land line phone service is sitting in right now.
The changes we see in the next year should be exciting. And we might be hearing a resounding THUD as the giant we call cable TV breathes its last breath and goes the way of the newspaper, the record player, the telephone, the bookstore, the DVD rental store, and the portable CD player.