Neil Godbole ’17 and Matt Santos ’17
Society has evolved. Humans evolved. We are no longer animals (although some people act like it), but instead we have evolved into what we are now. And evolution does not stop there. We have organized societies, buildings, and advanced technology. Technology has been advanced to the point where it is hard to imagine life without it.
One example of that is television. Televisions are no longer box-shaped or only show black-and-white images. In today’s society, we have the luxury of huge flat-screened TVs, 3-D TVs, and amazing color. Not only has television evolved, but there are also new and more convenient ways of watching TV. Remember the store, Blockbuster? In the Dark Ages, people had to drive to Blockbuster to rent out a movie. Now, Blockbuster is a thing of the past as TV streaming players such as Hulu, Netflix, and the newly created Amazon Prime have made it much easier and enjoyable for viewers.
Not only do Netflix and other streaming players have a leg up against movie rental establishments, but they also have an advantage in the TV industry. With Netflix boasting a selection of thousands of different TV channels and movies, can regular cable TV really measure up? Take Dish network, a widely known cable TV provider. The maximum number of Dish network channels that come in one of their deals is above $290, with a fee of $40 a month. That’s $480 a year. Compare that with streaming services: Netflix charges $8 a month, with an additional $8 fee for access to their full digital library; Hulu Plus has an $8-a-month charge, and Amazon Prime has a $99 dollar-a-year fee, which is about $8.2-a-month. So, a customer can go with a streaming service to watch TV, which includes the possibility of thousands of TV episodes and movies, or they can go the cable route, which involves higher fees and less channels. With stats like these, its not really much of a choice.
Streaming television services have also given rise to something incredibly powerful and terrifying, something that keeps us from doing our homework (which isn’t actually that hard) and keeps our parents from work: binge-watching. In a world of material addictions and temptations, binge-watching might just be close to the top of the list. The term is defined on oxforddictionaries.com as: “watching multiple episoded of television in rapid succession.” Basically, once you’re in the TV trap, you can’t get out. Through cleverly placed viewing options, such as being able to easily select the next episode, is it really so hard to believe that someone could finish an entire season of House of Cards in one day? Through our own TV viewing addictions and bad habits, we keep ourselves tethered to these media monster, and discover that canceling that Netflix subscription might just be harder than we think.
In a rapidly changing and adapting world, is it safe to say that media streamers will soon replace cable TV? Maybe, maybe not. After all, Netflix and other streamers are not without issues. The inability to watch new episodes and live news still keeps cable TV around. No one can really make the statement that streaming is the future of media. Only one thing is really certain: as long as humans continue to desire entertainment (which we always will) they will continue to try and make that process more efficient and effective.