Did you think the Internet, streaming TV, and the ability to find shows from content providers like Netflix or Vudu will kill cable and satellite TV?
Well, you might want to think again. The Internet could be the best thing to happen to cable since CNN.
That's because the Internet amplifies what cable and satellite TV can offer to their customers, says Rick Herman, chief strategy officer for MobiTV, which works with many network and cable providers to make subscribers' content available inside and outside the home on mobile devices.
Here are just a few ways the Internet can enhance your area's cable or satellite TV options.
Watching Shows on the Go
In the past, the television screen was the only screen in the house. Now, it's likely that every member of your family has a portable device - tablets and iPads, smart phones, or portable computers - with the ability to screen TV and movies.
But instead of thinking of these screens as competition to cable, you might want to start thinking of them as opportunities to make your cable or satellite experience better. Specifically, the more portable screens you have that can connect with the Internet - the more convenient your television viewing experience can be.
"Customers want to be able to view [shows] in and out of the home these days," says Herman. "And cable and satellite have some distinct advantages."
One advantage in particular is that they own the delivery system for so many households - the actual cable and satellites - and also have so many existing customers, says Herman. So they don't have to invent the wheel, they just have to make their service better.
However, depending on what you want to watch, this mobility may be limited if you don’t have cable access. For example, if you want to watch shows like Dexter or Game of Thrones, you’ll need to have a subscription to Showtime Anytime, or HBO GO, respectively.
Recording Your Favorite Shows Remotely
If you are already viewing your subscription TV service on multiple devices, you already know about the added convenience it can afford. Take the simple task of recording shows with your digital video recorder (DVR).
The DVR is a service from your cable provider that allows you to "time shift" programs. In other words, if AMC had the audacity to program Breaking Bad at the same time as your hatha yoga class, no need to get all hot and bothered. Just record it and watch it later.
But what if you forget to record it and remember half way into your yoga class? Thanks to the Internet, it's not a problem.
For instance, Christopher Pryneck, a construction foreman in Hawaii and Time Warner Cable customer, can use his iPhone to schedule his DVR recordings from work.
"I had to set it up at the Time Warner Cable My Services website, but once I did, it was easy. I just log on to my account through my iPhone and program my DVR from anywhere," he says. Best of all, the service came for free with his regular digital service.
TV-Show Chatter Via Social Media
Of course, some shows are so addicting you may not be able to wait to watch them. And because of the Internet and social media, there may be a lot more reason to see them at the time of their original airing. Consider the Twitter feeds for popular shows, especially reality TV.
Brad Carsten and Jon Maurice are reality TV executive producers who know firsthand how powerful Twitter can be. Two of their shows, Discovery Channel's Fast N' Loud, and the Style Network's Resale Royalty, have flocks of tweeting fans with every airing.
"The Twitterverse is huge with shows like 'Fast N' Loud' and 'Resale Royalty'. It's a constant chatter going on. And you lose out on all that if you wait to watch it," says Carsten.
In fact, he says, some hosts, like Richard Rawlings from "Fast N' Loud," often exchange tweets with fans during the show. That's a good host - a smart way to keep viewers engaged and excited about the content.
And based on August 2013 statistics from the market research company, Nielson, there is a correlation between live TV ratings and related tweets. In fact, Nielson analyzed 221 primetime episodes and found that the volume of tweets made a considerable impact in live TV ratings for 29 percent of the episodes.
Watching Multiple Shows Simultaneously
Remember Christopher Pryneck from a few paragraphs ago? Well, in addition to being a construction foreman, he is a dad of a little girl. This means that he is not the foreman when it comes to his home TV, and more often than not, the Disney Channel has the big Sunday game to the sidelines.
And thanks to his cable company's iPhone and iPad app, this isn't an issue for Pryneck.
"I can watch [football] on my iPad," he says. Sure, it's not quite the same as watching the San Diego Chargers destroy the Chicago Bears on 52 inches of high-definition. But it's better than nothing.
Online viewing is a benefit that more and more providers are giving their customers, says Herman. And it provides opportunities to be more user- as well as memory-friendly too.
"It makes much more sense for the companies to store the content [shows] once in a cloud network and deliver it when the customer wants it," says Herman. In this scenario, all that the company has to do, he says, is keep track of which customers watched what, when, and for how far into the show.
So, for instance, if you only had time to get through half of American Idol, they'll tag that and the next time you log into your account, it asks you if you'd like to watch it from where you left off, or from the beginning. Less hassle, more efficiency.
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