At one time, watching TV shows was something of a chore. As recently as a decade ago, most people had to either watch their favorite TV show as it aired live (including commercials), or else they needed to remember to record it via their VCR or digital cable set top box. If they forgot, they were usually completely out of luck. There was certainly no efficient way to catch up on entire current seasons of shows, let alone past seasons. Revisiting decades-old old shows on a whim was incredibly difficult and sometimes downright impossible, depending on whether or not a particular show had been released to DVD.
Today, in an era of almost ubiquitous mobile devices and high-speed internet that is getting faster all the time, the act of watching TV has become an entirely different landscape. With the advent of apps, streaming sticks, and smart TVs capable of accessing various online streaming services, it is no trouble at all to catch up on one’s favorite current shows or revisit old favorites with just the touch of a button. Streaming is steadily changing the way people watch television by providing exceptional value in content, cost, and convenience.
The sheer amount of content available across various streaming platforms is quite staggering compared with what is generally accessible via traditional cable television services. Almost any current show can be easily found online, many times in the form of full seasons. Every major network either has its own streaming app or allows its content to be streamed via a third party platform. Older shows from decades past that have long been off the air are constantly becoming available on streaming services in their entirety, without the choppy edits and awkwardly placed ad breaks that plagued them in syndication. “Smart” algorithms on streaming platforms can and do use the ratings and viewing habits of users to accurately recommend other content that they might enjoy. Simply put, there is much more content available at one’s fingertips with online streaming than could ever be watched in one lifetime.
Cost is another major area where streaming services are swiftly winning over consumers. Gone are the days when people needed to pay for a ridiculously expensive cable package that was oftentimes stuffed full of many channels that might not ever be watched, with only a dozen or so channels they really wanted. With online streaming, one can tailor content to their specific taste and only have to pay for the services they will actually use and enjoy. It should be pointed out, however, that if a person does choose to subscribe to a cable service, they will generally also automatically have unlimited access to the streaming apps of any channel that is included in their package. Many consumers, though, are choosing to cut the proverbial cable cord and switch to watching TV entirely online. With most streaming services averaging around ten or so dollars a month for access to an astonishing amount of content, the effect on consumers’ wallets is proving to be significantly positive.
However, if one is looking to pinpoint a particular reason to forget cable and stream TV shows instead, they need look no further than the sheer convenience factor. Thanks to mobile apps and streaming sticks, as well as internet-capable smart TVs and gaming consoles, most streaming devices and platforms can be used virtually anywhere, at any time. Whether someone is at home with their television set or on the go with their smartphone or tablet, they can easily and efficiently watch their favorite shows whenever the mood strikes them. Many services will even remember where a show was last left off for an uninterrupted viewing experience across multiple devices. Plus, streaming allows one to autoplay the next episode or to quickly and efficiently skip any episode they choose.
In short, the act of television watching has come quite a long way in the last decade. The era of live TV and physically recording shows for later viewing is on its way out and the future is here. By being incredibly cheap, efficient, and content-rich, online streaming has revolutionized the way people consume shows. There has never been a better time to be a TV buff.