What once was the most essential thing for household entertainment has now become an afterthought. Cable television is dying, and a large reason for that has to do with the seemingly endless amount of streaming services. Hulu, Netflix, Crave, you name it — these services have become the norm for watching TV.
Netflix, a company that once was known for simply delivering DVDs, has since become the godfather of streaming services. Those bright red letters pop on your screen and for only eight, 10, 13, 16 dollars a month, you can have a wealth of content available to you without commercials (for now).
Netflix is also responsible for the “binge-watch”, a method that has become routine when watching a series. Gone are the days where we have to wait a whole week to watch the next episode of Breaking Bad, we can just hit that shiny “watch next episode” button and bam — before you know it you’re done the series in three days.
PVR changed the game in terms of cable — now you can actually fast forward commercials and watch your favourite show on your own time! Now we groan every time we have to fish for the remote and manually skip those dreadful ads. Who would’ve thought that we would actually complain about skipping commercials 10 years ago?
The industry was quick to follow in Netflix’s footsteps, with dozens of other streaming sites begging for your money. Netflix has kept its customers happy with an onslaught of Netflix Originals; series produced by Netflix that ensures the only way viewers can watch these new shows is by subscribing to them. Stranger Things, Big Mouth, House of Cards and hundreds of other programs have dragged in viewers over the years to get a taste of these snazzy new shows.
One of the areas where Netflix has thrived has been in comedy. Netflix has done an excellent job of recruiting big names to perform Netflix Original stand up specials. Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, John Mulaney and Louis CK (also hasn’t aged well) are just a few of the legends that have multiple specials on Netflix.
Another feature that has allowed Netflix to thrive is the ability to create multiple profiles, mostly for each member of a family. Instead of wondering why The Young & The Restless and Martha Stewart were sandwiching your episode of Family Guy, you can now scroll through your profile without anybody interfering. Because of this, you can split a subscription with three to five people and only pay a third of the price.
The very start of this decade saw Blockbuster, an entertainment institution, announce it would be shutting down all of its stores, which really kickstarted this new era of streaming. Really the only thing cable has going for them is sports — only Hulu has now added live sports to their arsenal. If streaming sites can now offer live sports, then cable may follow in Blockbuster’s footsteps.
This decade has seen one form of entertainment die out, only for another to be born. All signs are pointing towards the death of cable within the next decade, it’s only a matter of when. And who knows, maybe in another 10 years we’ll be complaining about how our self-flying cars aren’t compatible with Netflix. We’ll just have to wait and see.