The Age of Streaming

Edith Perez

Riley Sims, Co-Editor-in-Chief

One of the biggest American pastimes is watching TV. It gives us the news, sports and entertainment. However, with the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Video, cable TV is getting a run for its money. What’s caused this switch, and why are streaming services becoming more popular?

According to the Huffington Post, 762,000 people left cable TV within the first three months of 2017 because of high costs. The average cost of a cable plan is $100 per month, compared to a skinny bundle from a streaming service, which is less than $40 per month. A skinny bundle is a cable subscription from a streaming service that allows you to get 50 channels. Customers can cut the channels they never watch and enjoy streaming services along with live TV.

French teacher Claire Smith said that she finds other things to do with her time than just sitting in front of the TV.

“I feel like TV is too expensive for not enough stuff I actually use, so I think streaming services are a better value and it’s easier to cancel,”  said Smith.

Streaming services appeal to many because of their versatility. Not only can somebody stream their favorite shows and channels, they can also stream their favorite music with services like Spotify. Many of these streaming services also don’t require a bulky satellite box, but use more compact devices instead, like the Amazon Fire Stick or Google Chromecast. People can now take their entertainment on the go, which makes moving houses or apartments easier. Residents don’t have to worry about changing addresses with their cable provider. Certain streaming services also allow consumers to watch their TV shows on their phones and tablets.

“These days I feel like the quality of content on streaming services are a lot higher,” said Smith.

Streaming companies also hook people in with TV shows and movies made exclusively for their services. Some shows have even been nominated for Golden Globes, like Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Streaming services typically release these shows with the whole season versus one episode every week like live TV. People can then binge watch their favorite shows and deal with little to no commercials. They can watch whatever they want whenever they want.

“We actually canceled our cable at home,” English teacher Chrissie Davenport said. “That way we could chose what we want to watch.”

There are some drawbacks with streaming services, though. There is additional hardware that people have to pay for like the streaming equipment. Some streaming services like Hulu and CBS All Access, also have ads with their shows and charge more for the ad-free subscriptions. Finally, one of the biggest drawbacks, is that consumers aren’t getting well-rounded entertainment.

“I think it’s positive and negative, because it’s nice as a consumer that I can pick and choose what I want to watch,” Davenport said. “But I also see it as negative, because I’m only choosing what I want, and I’m not experiencing new things or adventuring outside of my comfort zone when I only choose a streaming service.”