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Cable Technology Feature Article

November 12, 2012

The Future of TV is Uncertain as Many Strong Players Vie for Viewers' Attention

By Rory Lidstone, TMCnet Contributing Writer

It's pretty common these days for people to say we're currently in a “Golden Age” of television and it would seem to be true; the sheer variety of programming, for example, is unprecedented as production and cable companies are able to better tap into what viewers want thanks to the Internet. As such, there is a lot of quality original programming crossing a number of genres, as well as reality and cooking shows and much, much more.

Likewise, the number of players in the content distribution game has grown to encompass traditional cable and satellite providers like Comcast and DirecTV (News - Alert) and Internet-based providers such as Hulu. This is a huge change from when the majority of original programming came almost exclusively from broadcast networks.

With DVRs, set-top boxes, the Internet and many more technologies, however, television has become remarkably convenient. Now, people can watch what they want, when they want — to a degree. Unfortunately, almost every content provider has enticing original programming, making it a costly venture to keep up with all of your favorite shows.

It would seem that streaming services like Netflix perfectly address people's needs, even in terms of exclusive programming as a lot of shows that were previously exclusive eventually end up on the service. So if you don't mind waiting for content, it can prove to be the ideal solution. But then Amazon's competing Prime streaming service has split the amount of content nearly down the middle as it too has gained a fair amount of popularity over the last few years. Obviously, both Amazon and Netflix intend to compete fiercely.

Anthony Bay, vice president of video at Amazon, put it simply in a statement: "It would be fair to assume that we're going to continue to add to Prime Instant Video. The more great things to watch, the more people will tune in."

Netflix, meanwhile, is continuing to evolve and better itself, banking on its streaming service to guide it to success, while letting its profitable DVD service wither.

While many believe Internet TV is indeed the future for television, the cable and satellite companies won't go down without a fight. And with such severe competition within the Internet TV market itself, it's possible that what many consider to be the better option for consumers may go the way of the Betamax.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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