The Cloud Hangs over Cable, and It's Here to Stay
It was only a few years ago that the cable vs. satellite war was raging strong. Each party sent loads of junk mail and ran mudslinging commercials that accused their competition of exorbitant pricing and underdelivering channels and options. But you don’t see many of those mailings or TV spots anymore because both cable and satellite have to worry about a new competitor, one that seems next to impossible for either to beat out. The cloud.
Cloud-based TV streaming services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, have been around for a while now, but they’ve generally been used alongside a cable or satellite subscription. Only two days into 2013, those companies and a slew of others have much bigger ideas in mind—ideas that include completely eliminating the need for anyone to have cable or satellite in their homes.
While it’s likely on a distant horizon, Intel is currently developing a set-top box that will not only stream live television from the Internet but also allow users to only pay for the channels—or possibly the individual programs—they want to watch. This option is something that many viewers have clamored for since…forever, and it appears it’s still not a guarantee, even when Intel’s box actually hits the shelves.
Recent job postings with Microsoft leave little need for speculation on their own intentions with cloud-based TV, though at this time, little is known about what they’ll soon have in store. Microsoft’s “Interactive Entertainment Business” already involves gaming and music, so moving into the TV and movie streaming service makes sense—especially when trying to stay competitive with their major rival.
Everything Apple does makes headlines, even when they’re hardly doing anything at all. There have been rumors of an Apple TV for years now. While it certainly seems that Apple TV will be arriving sooner than later, exactly what it will deliver in terms of cloud-based streaming services—and whether or not everything will have to run through iTunes—has yet to be announced.
What should come as little surprise overall is that even cable provider Comcast is expanding its cloud business as well. With the giant’s long lasting ties to existing networks and its established OnDemand service, it makes sense that Comcast would embrace the cloud just as openly as everyone else.
No matter who provides the best value or the largest number of entertainment options, one thing that customers will surely enjoy having in the future is a choice of who to use—something that many consumers have never had. Whether brand loyalty comes into question will be interesting to see, as that’s the one thing that many cable and satellite companies have had difficulty achieving.
What kinds of services (range of programming, social media connectivity, etc.) would you like to see in the future of programming? Are you already using a cloud-based entertainment service? Share your experiences in the comment section below!