|"Some day TV will be invented, and it will be FREE!|
And then it will cost money..." ~ Homer Simpson
It doesn't matter what the traditional multi-channel providers (aka "pay TV") do to protect their turf. Eventually the pay TV "package concept" where you have to pay for 150 channels that you don't want, just to get the 5 channels you do want, will fail.
Gradually, viewers are moving away from traditionally distributed pay TV to other sources. As the customer base erodes and income from traditional sources drops, content creators will seek out whatever method of distribution provides them income. The longer Pay TV providers continue bury their heads in the sand, the worse their odds of survival become.
For years pay TV customers have wished for, begged for, pleaded with their pay TV providers for one thing: Ala Carte. The choice to pay for just those networks that they want, and nothing more. And pay TV providers respond by doing as they always have. By turning a deaf ear.
Pay TV has managed to get away with this since cable TV came into being, because customers have had little or no choice. You either pay the cable monopoly in your city for TV, or if you can have a satellite dish, you can choose from two other providers*.
*Fine Print: Satellite TV requires a 2-year commitment.They like it that way. And they will do whatever it takes to preserve the status quo. There has always been little or no competition among pay TV providers. Until now.
People now have choices. They can use an antenna to get all their local channels - up to 70 channels in some markets, all for free. Most areas can get an average of more than 20 channels with an antenna. Keep in mind, cable TV was invented as a way to solve reception problems. With digital Over The Air (OTA) TV, if you can get it, reception is not an issue. This is NOT you're father's antenna TV! The picture is clear and, in most cases, even better than cable TV. Digital OTA TV broadcasts in 480i, 720p, and 1080i. People are then supplementing their local TV channels with internet content via HTPC Media Computers, Apple TV, Boxee Box, Roku, WD TV Live, internet connected blu-ray players, and TV sets. Even Laptops, Netbooks, and Tablets with video outputs are being used to watch content on the big screen as well as the small screen.
Pay TV providers like to boast about how many channels they offer. But how many of those 200 channels do you watch? Five? Ten? But, you're still paying for the other 190 channels you don't watch. Internet TV gives you even more choices. Take the Roku player, for example. As of August, 2012, there are over 800 known public and private Roku channels. Sure, the majority of them are pure crap. And so are most of the channels on pay TV. The big difference is you don't have to pay for any channel you don't want. You don't even have to have them on your box. And the majority of those channels are FREE. You could load up your Roku with all free channels and never run out of things to watch - things you WANT to watch - and never pay a dime. Even if you pay for the two most popular pay channels, Netflix and Hulu Plus, it will cost you only $16 a month total, plus the cost of the internet that you probably have already..
In the end, people who want a sports channel will bear the REAL cost of ESPN, instead of forcing every subscriber to subsidize, pay for, and get ESPN as part of their package, even if they don't ever watch it. And all those lousy little subsidized channels that have very few viewers will either have to find a new revenue model, or die - as it should be.
There's just one fly in the ointment here: Cable TV companies have a virtual monopoly on broadband internet as well as pay TV in most areas.