Posts Tagged ‘new product’
Consumers ditching their cable providers for other options have become a real threat to cable companies. According to research firm SNL Kagen, Q3 2010 marked the second consecutive quarterly drop in U.S. TV cable subscribers. While there are many potential factors on a consumer’s decision to cut the cord, cable operators cannot avoid the obvious threat of advanced online video options. While some of these cord-cutters have turned to free over-the-air programming, many have moved entirely to online video options.
With advanced internet-based products being introduced, such as Google TV, Roku set-top and Apple TV, plus immediate online streaming of many television shows, consumers have many options when it comes to satisfying their TV fix. How can the cable providers keep their market share?
According to the Wall Street Journal, Comcast, the largest paid television operator, is testing a new service that will combine traditional television and the Internet. The service will combine Web video streaming, traditional cable and DVR capabilities in a set-top box. The test is being conducted in Augusta, GA and is known as “Spectrum” to participants. The service does not allow consumers to freely browse the internet and the company has not released information on what content will be available or the pricing structure.
Other top cable companies such as DIRECTV and Verizon, are embracing (a.k.a. forced to integrate) new technology by offering web-based capabilities through their boxes. But how do they measure up to online options in terms of pricing, capabilities and service?
Recently, I pondered cutting the cable cord myself. I have a like-hate (not love-hate) relationship with my cable provider. My box freezes frequently and channels are constantly unavailable. PLUS, it seems like the price of my service is always increasing! When I call customer service, it is difficult to get any real help. The standard line is “unplug your cable box for 30 seconds and plug it back in.” Generally, this solution is given before I even explain the problem!
Most TV shows I watch on a regular basis are available free on the web, so the only thing keeping me “plugged in” is my love for live sports. As Google TV and other internet-based options identify ways to broadcast live sports, or live events in general, I think more and more people are going to cut the cord.