Is Cable-like TV Almost Extinct?

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| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Is Cable-like TV Almost Extinct?

According to Qwest (via GigaOM), Pay-TV won't be around in 5 years. With the tech  crowd, Hulu, YouTube, iTunes, NetFlix and other streaming media services are replacing TV. (NYTimes has an article about someone doing that here.) One of my ISP clients has a fat pipe to his house, an HDTV antenna for local channels, and then just uses AppleTV and online content for entertainment.

Why are we reading about this? (Why am I writing about this?) Because the music business was too slow, stupid and greedy to catch on to the Napster craze. And look how that worked out for them?  The movie industry is in a similar pickle. And now TV. 

Smaller cable companies have problems. DirecTV is stealing their most lucrative customers. Upgrading to 500 channels plus HDTV content is very expensive. Just the set-top box becomes a hurdle. (How do you supply 6000 homes with a $250 set-top box with DVR at $7 per month? Too much CAPEX in a time when it is expensive and difficult to borrow money). 

GigaOM showcases one cable company who has decided to run with fat Internet pipe as its future. There's some buzz around IPTV (see VZ FiOS), but the average Joe wants Internet TV -- as in, I want my content when I want to view it. 

The former FCC Chief Martin wanted to examine a la acrte cable TV channels, but all studies showed that it would be too expensive. Bundling 500 channels makes it cost effective. It also makes it a pain in the neck for the average viewer who keeps thinking, "500 Channels of junk on. Why am I paying for this?"

Cisco owns ScientificAtlanta, so you would think that the software on these boxes would be easier to use and more intuitive. You would think. But not so much. One reason that DTV and DISH retain users is because their DVR software and guide software are so much better than cable.

I would be happy to dump my cable TV -- but my cable company would just charge more for the same Internet pipe, because they have to take in X amount of revenue per user no matter how many services the user consumes. Crazy business plan really.


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