Has the FCC Spelled the End of Cable TV?
The FCC recently unveiled a plan to increase Internet broadband speeds dramatically. And by dramatically I mean going from around 4 Mbps to around 100 Mbps. That’s insane type fast. Google and Cisco are already jumping on the bandwagon, researching new networking and hardware prototypes.
The reasoning is pretty simple: we are becoming an ever more mobile economy, with ever more mobile consumers.
One thing that occurred to me is that this move might finally spell the end for traditional cable TV. Rather than primarily pushing content to sets or set-top boxes, cable companies will be able to provide content directly over the web. While lots of companies do that, it isn’t live and there still isn’t a lot of real HD programming out there. However this will allow users to stream HD movies and view taped and live HD content practically in real-time. The transplanted New Yorker could watch their local live news over the web while in Arizona, for example. Subscribers could watch tonight’s episode of “American Idol” on their iPhone on the plane, without needing to set the TiVo at home. Plus, the holy grail of digital television might finally come to fruition: subscribing to only the shows or channels you actually will watch while avoiding the other 80% of your current package that you never do.
Traditional cable television is already facing stiff competition from the web via Hulu, Netflix, Joost, and even YouTube. Some have cut the cable completely and are getting their entertainment content directly from the web. With this increase in capacity on the horizon, there may be a game change in the works.