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Judi's avatar

Do you ever think we will be able to buy cable channels directly and watch them streaming on the net and avoid the cable company all together?

Asked by Judi (39784points) February 26th, 2010

We got sick of paying the cable company and got an antenna. We get a lot more channels that I thought we would, but I miss MSNBC, the History Chanel and such.
I know that I can watch some shows on demand from their websites, but I would just like to pay a couple of bucks a month to watch their channels streaming and not pay the cable companies to get the crap I don’t watch anyway.
Is this day coming? Have any of you tech savvy folks been in the loop?

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18 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

As soon as someone figures out how to monetize it. Right now we are used to getting our internet content for free. The big media companies, the ones which provide the content, will not permit that.

Fred931's avatar

That day will most definitely come.

HungryGuy's avatar

As @dpworkin said, most internet content is, indeed, free. But there are a great many web sites that you must pay to use, porn sites, getting your credit score, dating sites, etc., etc. That business model works for them, so there’s no reason why a cable TV channel couldn’t charge you a fee to register on their site to get streaming content. Most big companies are afraid to “upset the apple cart” by doing something different than all the rest, and that’s the biggest cause of delay in new paradigms coming to market. But as soon as one does it, the others will realize that there’s money to be made doing it, and then they’ll all rush to do it too.

dpworkin's avatar

Believe me, they all have brain trusts working hard on it. ComCast, DirecTV, Warners, NBC, all of them.

YARNLADY's avatar

I thought this was already possible. The hotels do it all the time. They get a big dish, and then subscribe directly to the channels their guests want and by-pass the big companies.

dpworkin's avatar

@YARNLADY We are discussing streaming directly from the Internet.

HungryGuy's avatar

@YARNLADY – People with big dishes still have to pay on a per-channel basis. Years and years ago, people bypassed the cable companies by getting satellite dishes—real satellite dishes, the 12 foot monsters with the rack of video gear in the basement—to receive the same channels (HBO, Discovery, MTV, etc.) that the cable companies were also receiving, in turn, selling to cuustomers. But the channel companies realized they could scramble their channels and sell them direct to consumers for a fee. Likewise, hotels have tio pay for those channels as well, just direct to the individual channel companies, rather than to a single cable provider. If individual channels start selling their content over the web, it’ll be much the same business model as satellite—pay each channel individually. Indidentally, those big dishes lost out to the new smaller dishes (Dish Network, etc.) because those big dishes are unwieldly and ugly in a residential setting, hideously expensive, and a homeowner practically had to be a television tecnician to change channels because each satellite carried only 24 channels, and so you usually had to point the dish to a different satellite whenever you wanted to change channels.

Tenpinmaster's avatar

I definatly see that coming in the near future. Though I think there will always be a place for regular cable because I don’t ever forsee us getting rid of the television set. It will be interesting to see what new inventions that will come our way in the coming years. I think we will start to see our tvs being “wired” like our computers have come in the last 10 years. Our tvs will be touch screen and Internet enabled and will allow us to view multiple feeds on the same set

Judi's avatar

@Tenpinmaster ; I have my 65” flat screen hooked up to the computer and buy the network TV shows I like from itunes now. I don’t want to get rid of my TV, I just make it web based.

SeventhSense's avatar

Umm…Wally, the Beav, Dr. Kildare and Ozzy and Harriet called. They want their life back. It’s 2010 girl. We use magic tupperware dishes now too you know.
Of course what I’m trying to say is try wrapping the rabbit ears with tin foil..:)

mrentropy's avatar

I’d be happy with that. I’d also be happy with being able to buy channels ‘a la carte.’ Out of the 200+ channels I pay for now, I only find about seven to be worthwhile. I don’t want to pay for channels I’ll never watch.

janbb's avatar

I’m pretty sure the next big thing will be internet and television integration and most content will be available as streaming. As @dpworkin says, the media giants, including the news arms, are exploring ways to deliver content for profit. How soon this will be is hard to tell.

Judi's avatar

@SeventhSense, hey! Antennas are a lot more sophisticated than they used to be!

lilikoi's avatar

Well, we already have sites like that are free…

SeventhSense's avatar

That’s true. This guy used to get great reception

Judi's avatar

@lilikoi ; Hulu has mostly older shows and always seems to have hick-ups. I can get the shows that I might want to watch on hulu with better quality and without commercials for 1.99 on iTunes. It’s worth it to me.

njnyjobs's avatar

Aren’t the broadband internet providers that you subscribe to are primarily the video service providers as well. What is their incentive in developing such web-based service? As it is right now, most cable companies providing broadband service have Usage Clause in the Subscription Terms & Conditions. As a matter of fact, Comcast is one of those who will actively monitor customer’s use of bandwidth and suspend accounts of erring customers who they determine are abusing the service. Streaming video requires bandwidth to be fully appreciated and if Usage Caps are in place then you’re better off just dealing with TV packages.

laureth's avatar

It’s definitely on the way.

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