It seems that everywhere we look, less and less people are relying on their standard television service. Some of them don’t even watch TV anymore, at least not in the sense we were used to just a few years ago.
Now we have have set-top boxes with multiple apps, such as HBO Go and Netflix. They are great, but there are limitations. That said, it’s a step in the right direction, and very possibly an indication of the future of television viewing.
HBO Go is great, but at this point it still requires a subscription through your regular cable provider. In other words, you’re still subscribing to the old-fashioned cable service. Ideally, it would be nice to subscribe direct through HBO and pay for the subscription itself. This is what it’s like to use a service like Netflix. The user pays a set amount each month, and from there streams the shows they like. They don’t have to bother with traditional cable or satellite services.
Eventually, this could become somewhat of a standard. Different networks offer different apps for their channels. Users pay a small monthly fee. It feels as if many of us could watch that way. For instance, I have no cable service. I use Netflix. Nothing really interests me enough to subscribe. If I could order one or two channels I actually enjoy for a few bucks each, things may be different. Most of us probably stick to a handful of favorite channels anyway.
Streaming your favorite shows
Apps like Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant work much like Netflix does. Users subscribe for a monthly fee, and watch all the streaming shows they want. Many can find new movies or shows this way. It’s great, because it’s commercial-free, and it’s on your own terms. I love watching ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ but I don’t want to bother with commercials. I don’t always get to watch a show when it’s on. It’s better to just watch episodes on my own terms. Many probably feel the same way.
Crunchyroll, which recently joined the Apple TV lineup, is a similar streaming service, but it’s dedicated entirely to anime. It looks very entertaining, but it’s definitely dedicated to a niche market. That said, it’s a niche market that is very dedicated to that style of animation. Crunchyroll is a bit more ‘hardcore’ than the other services, because its big claim is that many of the most popular Japanese animation (anime) shows are available about an hour after broadcast in Japan. It also features many of the shows viewers may not get to see over here in the US. It’s more the equivalent of someone who loves watching sports subscribing to an all-sports channel rather than just catching the game on their standard channel lineup.
More to come
There are no doubt more apps like these coming along.Each will have its place or niche. Some will work for people who like to watch TV shows and movies in general, others may be dedicated to anime, pro wrestling, NASCAR, horror movies (please do!) or anything else viewers want. It will be interesting to see what comes of it all.