One thing "cord-switchers" quickly discover is that the "evil" of cable TV, the package, is still a problem. But its a problem only if you want to watch non-premium cable channels.
Here's what the monthly cost of an assortment of streaming TV sources looks like to us at this time:
Amazon Prime Video is $0 because just as with internet service we
already subscribed before they offered video streaming and would if no
streaming TV were available. When Amazon threw in the video for us it
was just a free bonus.
The HBO and Showtime prices are
deals we get with our Dish Network package. If we drop Dish those costs
would go up about 50% except no reason exists to subscribe to both at
the same time. In fact, one might only have to subscribe to each for
three months a years to view series seasons
there is more than enough good content available from those seven
sources to watch TV four hours a night. However....
whatever reason, non-premium cable channel content without commercials the day
after it airs is not available without adding a "package" streaming
service to your costs. The rock-bottom price available for a scripted TV
fan to get AMC, BBCA, Comedy Central, TNT, USA, and numerous others
from Dish Network's Sling TV is indicated below:
Basically, there are two other choices, Sony's Playstation Vue which does have a cloud DVR system and newcomer AT&T's DirecTV Now.
difficulty of balancing cost with programming is that with all three
you end up buying broadcast networks and with other than Sling TV no
choices exist that do not require subsidizing the costly Disney/ABC/ESPN
channel group. With all of them you start looking a add-ons that cost
more money - what I call "the package trap."
commercial internet streaming as we know it began with Netflix. With
Netflix you get "original programming" as you do from Amazon, Acorn TV,
and others out there. You also now get original programming not
available elsewhere from Hulu and CBS All Access. For a scripted TV fan,
that programming is of value.
All of which raises a
question. Why are the cable channels locking themselves into a 1980's package mode that begins with live streaming? I understand that is
a sports channel mode, but it chews up bandwidth. And then why don't
they get the idea that the Netflix model is to watch what you want to
watch when you want to watch it - without commercials and without
pushing buttons to fast forward or skip commercials?
had some hope that this situation will change as both AMC Networks and
FX have agreements with Hulu that will make a number of series
available. Apparently though, in some cases it will be like AMC's
agreement with Amazon on "The Americans" where a season can be made
available only right before the next season is to air.
the real shadow is that when Time Warner bought into Hulu, the
explanation was that shows from its subsidiary cable channels will be
part of Hulu's planned $40-a-month cable-package-type service, which is
expected to launch this year.
This all leaves an old
guy like me agreeing with cable channel FX CEO
John Landgraf: “There is simply too much television.” Well, not really.
There is too much mediocre-to-ok TV competing with some very well done
Not that everything on Amazon or Netflix appeals. But their
offerings when added to the offerings from cable premiums like HBO and
Showtime, start to crowd out the mediocre-to-just-ok offerings on broadcast and
Landgraf also said that the “TV advertising model is broken.” I agree
with him on that also. And I think the idea of using the
cable-TV-package model in the streaming environment is foolish. But we
may all be overruled by the sports divisions of all these companies that
dominate the financial models today.
Then again, maybe over time Landgraf's "too much TV" problem will solve itself.