>more people watching TV online rather than on cable

11:10 AM


When Corey Wynsma's wife got laid off a few months ago from her graphic design job, the couple did an inventory of their household budget.

Cable TV seemed like an obvious luxury. So the couple, who live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, canceled their cable service and found another way to keep up with their favorite shows: on the Internet.

"We were already consuming a good portion of content online, and a quick survey of media sites allowed us to determine if those shows we were most interested in watching could be found online," Corey Wynsma said. "In almost each case, the answer was yes."

Rick Wampler, a technician for Cirque du Soleil in Orlando, Florida, came to the same realization when he dropped his cable subscription three months ago. Cost was a major factor, and Wampler wanted more control over the services he was paying for, he said.

As more Americans get used to watching video on their computers, more Web sites are popping up to offer free movies and TV shows. Consumers are taking advantage of this to eliminate cable or satellite TV and integrate their home entertainment with the Web. And online video viewership is skyrocketing.


I have to admit that I've been watching most of my shows online for a while. It's nice to have your shows on your demand rather than on the network's demand. However, internet TV has not replaced cable for me, and I don't think it's going to in its current form. If you're addicted to a certain TV show (my personal addictions are Ghost Hunters and Heroes), chances are you're not going to wait for it to pop up online, which can often take anywhere from 24 hours to several days. Additionally, online shows are often poor quality in comparison to what you get on your TV set. And unless you happen to have TV out on a laptop, chances are you're watching these shows on a much smaller screen in a more uncomfortable spot in your house than you would if you were watching them on TV. In order for internet TV to compete, it's going to have to:

  • premiere at the same time as TV shows (or, even better, earlier!)
  • produce the same quality or close to same quality picture as TV shows
  • be easily viewed on a big screen without extra equipment and little know how

With the way the networks hang on to old technology like an old band t-shirt, I don't think we can expect them to adopt these strategies any time soon. They're making headway by finally making many shows available online though, so maybe in the next couple of years we'll see some more changes. I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you, though.

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