Television: the main source of joy for plenty of American families alike. With its variety of shows, features, and programs, it is difficult not to get sucked into the world of instant, entertaining gratification.
This constant reprieve from reality has struck a vital conflict that most homes struggle to make: the decision between the regular monthly cable service of unlimited shows versus the uncomplicated process of online streaming services. The sides are paired against another with numerous defenses and attacks, but which one is truly the best? Perhaps we will never know, but it is important to examine both positions.
Cable television has been a loyal sidekick to the everyday American with its easy usage and abundance of channels for years now. While it is commonly known to be on the more expensive side, it does guarantee twenty-four hours of streaming with a variety of shows that can make channel surfing a blast.
Cable television also gives easy access to numerous sporting events and streams of live programs. One might find it more difficult to catch up on full seasons of shows, but cable television provides an opportunity to immediately watch the next one.
Online streaming has only recently come into full swing, but with many companies to choose from and an abundance of shows, it is easy to get a full scope of this new world.
According to Pew Research Center, “15% of American adults are now ‘cord cutters’” and “24% of Americans currently do not subscribe to cable or satellite TV in their homes.” The percentage of Americans leaning towards online streaming has been increasing over the past year. “Cord cutters,” those who used to have cable or satellite television, but discontinued their subscription, are increasing in number due to the easy access to content online through digital devices. Currently, “over four-in-five (84%) have ‘advanced internet access,’ that is either a smartphone or home broadband subscription.” The easy access to technology contributes to the growing population of “cord cutter.”
The flexibility of joining comes with great joy to indecisive people who crave the simple click of an unsubscribe button and prefer to not blow their budget. The accessibility to all episodes of a season also allows one to binge without any notice. With recommendations for new shows based on viewings and ratings, streaming programs have perfected the viewers’ circle. Streaming services that create their own shows, like Netflix and Amazon, provide an endless amount of choices for the audience.
For lovers of sports and the casual watching, cable seems to be the way to go. On the other hand, internet streaming is an easy system to use and guarantees all the episodes at the click of a button. The cable versus online streaming divide is growing as the tides of the future arrive. Observing which side accommodates faster to the society of today might eventually lead us to the answer.
Graphics: Amelia Chen and Maraea Garcia