Why do we still use cable tv? A nice piece by Horace.
And so over a period of about 40 years, watching TV went from free to quite expensive. More expensive even than a family’s communications costs (i.e. telephone service.) That’s quite an achievement at a time when technology diffusions caused huge price reductions in other goods and services. Consider that the TV set used to watch the programming improved dramatically while decreasing in price over the same period.
Meanwhile, some of the benefits began to be less relevant. Commercials are more abundant than ever. Ad buyers spend about $60/month per household to deliver ads The quality of the TV picture is actually worse due to compression than one might get with over-the-air digital broadcast. Finally, the abundance of channels is beyond anyone’s absorption rate. Those channels which used to be “pure” became polluted and undifferentiated as each tried to be the other.
On top of these paradoxes is the fact that actual penetration of the service has been declining. As the graph above shows, Cable TV has declined (though Pay TV much less so). The industry has reached saturation decades ago and has not offered anything meaningful in terms of innovation.
Early adopters cut the cord years ago and haven’t looked back. For me, turning off cable TV was an idea I flirted with, yet I just kept renewing my package deal for some reason.
But there has been no better time to finally severe ties with big cable, and their pricey television packages that have you paying for hundreds of channels when you only watch a handful of shows – many of which you’re probably already streaming on Netflix or Amazon.
I know there are people out there weighing the decision, too. So here’s my entirely subjective, totally personal take on what it’s been like to cut the cord in 2015: my personal diary of being a newbie cord cutter this year. The focus of this diary is largely on television, with less emphasis on sports and movies, though they are addressed.
Everyone has their own reasons for cutting the cord, but my decision was both financial in nature, as well as based in common sense. I spend more time online than sitting around mindlessly watching television, outside of a few favorite shows. And there’s so much quality TV content being produced these days that I have a massive selection of new shows to choose from after I binge watch my way through one series and need to move on to something new.
Such robotic swarm technology could transform modern warfare for the U.S. Navy and the rest of the U.S. military by reducing the risk to human personnel. Smart robots and drones that don't require close supervision could also act as a "force multiplier" consisting of relatively cheap and disposable forces—engaging more enemy targets and presenting more targets for enemies to worry about. "Numbers may once again matter in warfare in a way they have not since World War II, when the U.S. and its allies overwhelmed the Axis powers through greater mass," wrote Paul Scharre, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a military research institution in Washington, D.C., in an upcoming report titled "Robotics on the Battlefield Part II: The Coming Swarm." "Qualitative superiority will still be important, but may not be sufficient alone to guarantee victory," Scharre wrote. "Uninhabited systems in particular have the potential to bring mass back to the fight in a significant way by enabling the development of swarms of low-cost platforms."
The mere suggestion that the league's booming popularity could ever be vulnerable to a slowdown would be scarier outside of league headquarters. The companies who do the most business with the NFL operate in industries that have been disrupted by competitors and new technology. Those companies are clinging to the NFL and their massive fanbase as they were a lifeboat.
The NFL, as it stands, props up TV networks, who have been broadsided by Netflix, among others. If viewership dipped, they would no longer be able to hike up affiliate fees to local stations, which give them a dual revenue stream, along with advertising, and are almost directly tied to football. Those inside the industry say this sort of chain reaction could—no exaggeration—cause the downfall of the entire television industry. Television networks would have to find something that could possibly deliver 17 million viewers on on a consistent basis. Spoiler alert: They can't. The power the league has over broadcasters was clear when CBS took their popular Thursday Night comedy lineup and pushed it aside as if they were cable access shows. "The Big Bang Theory" is now on Mondays. The NFL anchors Thursday nights. And Sundays.
Everyone agrees that if the NFL took a hit, there's no logical replacement. The Pro Bowl, the league's afterthought of an All-Star game, draws better ratings than nearly all baseball and basketball playoff games.