The TV Walls Are Starting to Crumble


Hulu is a great idea, with a horrible execution (so far), because of ads.  Like many people, I spend significant amounts of money each month (Netflix, Spotify, XM radio, DVRs, etc.) in an effort to avoid ads.  Hulu has previously been unbearable because not only does it have ads, it has a lot of repetitive, brain-inflaming ads.  If I have to choose between ads and a cord, I’ll take the cord.  That Hobson’s choice has been one of the biggest issue in cord-cutting.  Now it seems like that’s about change.

Hulu is planning to offer an ad-free plan.  Apple inches closer and closer to announcing and releasing its streaming television service (the sleuth in me wonders if Hulu’s ad-free announcement is an effort by its owners- some of the very nervous content providers-  to get in front of the forthcoming Apple streaming avalanche.).  Weekly, we see new announcements from content providers making their content available via streaming, and apart from the traditional and obsolete cable bundles.

It will take some time, but the walls are crumbling and one thing technology has shown us is that once cracks start appearing in obsolete, unwanted gatekeeper monopolies, those cracks are almost impossible to repair.  The generation of consumers, like my kids, who have never felt tied to a cord will ensure victory for the cord-cutters (by way of example, my daughter loves Teen Wolf, but isn’t watching the current season because she doesn’t know or care what channel it’s on or how to record it on the DVR; “I’ll just wait ’til it’s on Amazon or Netflix.”).  The only question is how long it will take.

I still have a DirectTV package, which I would love to abandon in favor of something as close to a la carte streaming as possible.  When I can get the channels I want reliably and at a comparable cost, I’ll cut the cord, for sure.  The big, unspoken, hitch in this giddy-up is the requirement for fast, reliable broadband (a decade or so from now, all the pipes and waves currently delivering television content will be delivering data, which will vastly increase the size of the pipe, but for the time being pipe size will be an issue.).  My broadband at home is plenty fast enough to accommodate all the content my screen-addicted family wants to consume.  The farm, like most of rural America, is another story.  I am fortunate enough to have fairly reliable wireless broadband at the farm (because I am at the top of a hill with a good line of sight to the tower), but I am the exception, and the broadband I have, while perfectly adequate for web surfing and the occasional Apple TV download, is nowhere near fast and wide enough to accommodate mass streaming consumption.  I don’t know how this problem can be solved, but once cord-cutting becomes a more realistic option, at least we’ll have one less obstacle standing between us and our scissors.