Is Streaming The New Cable?

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When I was a kid, cable was so cool. If I went over to a friend’s house and they had a cable box with 1800+ channels on their television, they were officially cool. I remember begging my parents for a cable box and being the most excited when we finally got it. We could digitally record television, like recording a voice memo, right onto the box and watch things “on-demand” or buy pay per view. It was the height of luxury.

Streaming Versus Cable

Nowadays, people are cutting cords and throwing out their boring old flat screens for Amazon Fire TVs or Roku TVs. A TV that’s just a TV is no longer good enough. Cable slowly died at the hands of streaming services. Netflix and Hulu alone have caused people to cut ties.

With Netflix’s ability to post shows shortly after the seasons air in combination with Hulu posting new episodes right away, people don’t feel the need to have cable anymore. Why pay a ton of money a month when you could pay for two subscription services instead? Except, those streaming services did so well that everyone wanted on board. Then came Prime Video, HBO Go and CBS All Access.

The new streaming service, Disney+
Disney Plus 2019

Networks are starting to come out with their own services left and right. Disney+’s success only solidified the fact that streaming services are a good idea. The concept is simple. If you’re a network, and you create a TV show and tell people that that show is only going to be available on your streaming service, then obviously people are going to buy that streaming service so they can watch the show. So then what’s the point of having cable if they have access to the network’s history and exclusive shows? But where is the line, and when do streaming services just become the new cable?

Are There Too Many Streaming Services?

It’s the age of streaming, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, CBS All Access, Apple TV, and NBC’s soon to come “Peacock.” In the beginning, we loved Netflix because it was a collection of shows and movies from different channels. They carried everything they could, Disney, Nickelodeon, Sitcoms, Dramas, from tons of different networks. Hulu was cable for people who didn’t want to pay for cable.

They uploaded episodes the night after they aired. It was different enough from Netflix for people to want to pay for both. But now shows are being pulled from Netflix so they can move to their new homes with their network’s own services. Disney movies were pulled (or are going to be) for Disney+. The Office and Friends are coming down soon to move over to NBC’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, respectively.

The group of Friends from Friends. Moving from Netflix to WarnerBrothers new streaming service, HBO Max.
Friends – Warner Brothers 1994

Now that things are being sectioned off and split apart, it’s starting to feel like paying for cable. When it comes to one streaming service, four to twelve dollars doesn’t seem like a lot of money to pay. But when you have to pay for eight different services just to watch all the content you want to, it starts to add up. That’s when it approached cable territory, and we began to think, shouldn’t we have just stuck with cable?

Is Cable Going To Make A Comeback?

For now, it seems like we’re just going to have to pay for these services if we want to access all the content. Netflix used to be a solution but has now caused a problem in the world of media. Big media companies are greedy. They see how much Netflix is making and want to make that same money for themselves. The streaming world is probably never going to go back to the simplicity of Netflix and Hulu. Especially with the introduction of original series’ (like Netflix’s House of Cards or Apple TV’s The Morning Show), these platforms are always going to get subscribers. If the originals are good enough, people are always going to want to see them.

House of Cards, the streaming service Netflix's first original series.
House of Cards – Netflix 2013

The biggest problem is that many of us have already abandoned cable. We joined the heard of cable cutters for our love and savior Netflix years ago. Except now, Netflix is being ripped apart at the seams, and we’re left thinking that maybe we should have stuck with cable, to begin with.

What’s Next And What Do We Do?

There are some other popular services, like YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV. These services are basically cable, except you can watch them on your laptop, or stream them to your television. They’re also incredibly cheap. I think this could be the solution that people are looking for, except that it doesn’t include the original series’ that the streaming services offer.

It’s unfortunate to think that there isn’t a solution in sight at the moment. We’re kind of just stuck playing the game of balancing streaming services. If you can’t get them all, maybe share with your friends or pick the ones that have your favorite shows. Hopefully, we find a solution in the future, but for right now, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.