On campus I hear students talk about Celebrity Apprentice, True Blood and other programs that they watch on television.  Their conversations usually entail with asking one another if they saw the new episode last night.  I do not know how people have free time to sit down and watch programs at a specific time on one night of the week, every week.  Don’t they have a life?  Don’t they have things that they need to do and get done?  I know that I am too busy to plan a specific hour of the day every week to watch a television program that will be on the Internet the next day so I can view it whenever I want to.  I know that a lot of people are throwing away their cable plans and opting out for cheaper options.  Sure you might have to wait a day to see the new episode, but you’ll be saving money, lots of money.

Will anyone have a television or cable in 20 years, 15, 10?  It’s defiantly something to think about. I know a lot of my friends and colleagues are slowly getting rid of their television sets and opting out out of their cable plans.  Let’s face it, cable is expensive.  Cable and the television industry will soon be facing a future similar to newspapers.  The State of the Media Report agrees. People are using their computer and becoming members of groups like Netflix and Hulu.

I personally do not own a television or have a cable plan.   Call me crazy, but I just don’t need one.  This is why:

  • I don’t feel like spending money on a television.
  • I have a laptop.  I can watch movies and programs on it.
  • I don’t want to pay for cable because it is expensive.  There are cheaper and free alternatives.
  • I am a member of Netflix and Hulu Plus.  Having these two programs is far less expensive than paying for cable.

I am baffled at how much people spend on cable plans.  In Omaha a basic cable package cost about $30.00 a month.  If you’re looking at getting the highest-end cable package, then you are looking to spend about $150.00 a month, and this is just for cable.  Forget about Internet and a home phone, you’ll be paying even more for that package.  Does anyone really need over 200 channels?  If you do, then you should re-evaluate your life.

So what if you want to watch television and the programs you love but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg?  Well then, you can do what I do.  I have a a Netflix account which is $7.99 a month.  On Netflix you can watch thousands of movies instantly or have the access to have DVDs mailed to your house.  You can also watch some of you favorite television shows.  I also have Hulu Plus, which is also $7.99 a month.  Hulu Plus is very similar to Netflix, but Hulu Plus allows you to watch more television programs than Netflix at anytime.  You don’t have to DVR anything, you can just log on and watch.  I pay roughly $16.00 a month on my television plan and this is half the price of basic cable.  This  makes me believe that the inevitable death of television and cable is near.

What if you don’t want to pay anything for your television consumption?  Well, if you have a laptop and Internet access then you don’t really have to.  You can use the free version of Hulu to watch programs that you enjoy.  You can also find other Internet sites out there that are similar, or you can torrent (I don’t advocate torrenting).  Most networks also have their shows on their websites.  If you don’t want to pay for cable, you don’t have to.

It’s amazing to think that in the last 20 years so much has changed with the advent of the Internet.  What will the world be like in another 20 years?  Will anyone have cable?  Will cable exist?  Will it be more expensive?  How will cable adapt to the changing market place?  What are your predictions?