I came across an article talking about what to expect from Cord Cutting in 2019, and it got me thinking about what they were saying and another related article for the coming year. 5G cell service will compete with 10G cable internet connections. I’ll get into what that means as well. Sufficed to say that there are some things coming down the pipe from a variety of players in the market that will all benefit the consumer. I’ll get into what that means as well. Sufficed to say that there are some things coming down the pipe from a variety of players in the market that will all benefit the consumer.
The fact is that cord-cutting is having a growing impact on the market. I would argue that the never cable folks like a lot of the Millennials that I work with should be included in that group. As a result, companies are making changes that will impact both where we get out content from, and by what means we will connect to it.
New Streaming Services
Disney will be launching something called Disney+ that will have eventually all the content they own. Since they bought Start Wars and Marvel, that is a big deal, and a big loss for Netflix. This one will have some teeth to bight into Netfix for fans of those franchises and parents like myself. No cost estimates yet. What I recall from a separate article was that they will be “in range with their competitors.”
Apple will be launching a service that Is connected to famous actors and directors. The idea here is for them to create original content. I do not see this being a significant contender much like CBS’s attempt was. Even then, if CBS had not screwed up Star Trek, their service was still thin with content. Do you own it? I am a huge Trekie, but aside from the controversy, a friend who did buy it told me the writing is sadly poor. This is why I lump it with Apple’s offering. I hope they do better.
Apparently there will be a streaming HBO offering from the folks who own it, ATT. This one seems like a case of too little too late. There is more details about multiple tiers and such, so if you are a GOT fan, or one of HBO’s other content, you can get it as well.
New Payment Options
With all of these options there are two things to consider: how to pay for it and how to watch it. For those new to cord-cutting, using and scanning the various content sources is easy. I use Roku devices on my tvs, but they are all similar in that you can type the show or movie title, or actor/director, and see what source has it. Roku will tell you if it’s part of your subscription, what the cost is if it’s not, and with one button click take you to it. Most smart TVs have the option to connect to these various sources, and some do have searching.
The payment part is a bit more of a challenge. Roku has a new channel for that purpose, and some of the other hardware and content providers are offering similar options. The alternative has been to use each service’s site directly. Some folks seem to think that this is a problem. I see more than a few articles to that effect. I know of 0 consumers who feel that way. Do any of you? I don’t see the issue at all. I periodically review what we pay for, but we have not changed our service since we cut the cord now nearly 3 years ago.
New Home Internet Options
That takes care of the first part of this question, content. The part that is next, and related, is all about delivery. 5G cell service, or fifth generation will offer high speeds, higher than what we have now. Put simply, it will offer downloading speeds for the average US consumer in the range of 100Mb/s to 1000Mb/s. The low end of that is what a lot of cable companies sell in the US today, and the top end of that is pretty much only available to a very limited set of cable customers.
The cable companies are not sitting idly by. They are currently in the rollout of 1000Mb/s networks and are building out 10,000Mb/s networks. Do we need that speed, no, not yet. Even 4k streaming only needs about 25Mb/s. I use 200Mb/s and have had no issues with 3 computers on the network and 3 TVs with one 4k. I am sure someone will find a way to fill that bandwidth. Regardless the competition between the cell carriers and the cable carriers finally adds competition to a major monopoly.
In case you are thinking that this won’t happen, 5G cell service for the home is already in LA with ATT. The implication here is that over the next few years, but starting this year, more and more markets will finally have competition for your internet service.
There is another wildcard that I have not mentioned yet, SpaceX. They want to put up literally thousands of satellites into low earth orbit, around twice as high as the International Space Station, and they will be trying to compete with the broadband market. There are actually 4 companies currently trying to do what SpaceX is doing. I am not sure that they will be able to sell broadband cheap enough to compete with cell or cable companies, but given his track record, I am not one to bet against Elon Musk. And remember, Elon wants to get into this market to fund his Mars missions. His motivation is what I think may make this into a real option.
All in all here, we have a situation where we can finally see choices in our video and data markets like we have never seen before. As the traditional cable tv markets shrink, certainly more and more content will move to streaming service, and others will go away. The only thing certain is that change is coming.