The Internet is slowly making its way into our living rooms. Even if your TV itself isn’t directly connected to the Net, chances are there is a game console, Blu-ray player, Apple TV or Roku box attached to it that can bring streaming video from services like Netflix, Hulu Vudu or iTunes directly to your TV. Indeed, according to research firm SNL Kagan (as reported by USA Today), 14% of TVs are now connected to the Internet in some form or another. SNL Kagan expects this number to climb up to 38% in 2014.
At this point, however, only about 2% of households with Internet-connected TVs have “cut the cord” and use the Internet exclusively to watch “professionally produced programming.”
There has been a lot of discussion in the tech and TV industry about whether “cord cutting” – that is dropping your cable or satellite service in favor of going Internet-only – is a real phenomenon or just a figment of some early adopters’ and tech journalists’ imagination. According to SNL Kagan’s predictions, though, the next few years will see a steady growth in Internet-only households (7% in 2014).
Even cable industry insiders – who long thought that this was just a fringe movement – now think that cord-cutting is real and a potential threat to their industry. In an interview with USA Today, Verizon’s vice president for consumer strategy and planning told the paper that his company has “been looking at this issue for the better part of a year, and our perspective has pretty much done a 180 to a belief now that pay-TV ‘cord cutting’ will happen.”
It’s Real – But not for Everyone (Yet)
Clearly, though, cord cutting – even though it is a very real phenomenon – is still not for everyone. Not having access to most live sports events makes it a non-starter for a lot of people right now – though this is slowly changing as the major sports franchises in the U.S. catch up to this trend and see it as a potential new revenue stream. It’s also current nearly impossible to get access to live news and local news through devices like the Roku box or your Xbox. Chances are, though, that this will change in the near future. There are no technical reasons for keeping this content off these devices – just the politics of TV networks and cable operators and sooner or later, even these companies will realize that they can’t stop this trend anymore.
Image Credit: William Hook