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Future Bleak for Television

Websites like are growing, offering more and more television and video content on a wider variety of devices. Given this increased availability of choices outside of traditional television service–and widespread budget cutting in many households–a shift from television service to video viewing is soon highly possible.

Let’s take a look at what a popular video-on-demand site  such as has to offer. For free (in addition to the internet service cost), one can view entire episodes and clips of shows from popular channels, as NBC, Comedy Central, and Fox, on a computer. In most cases, no more than five episodes (usually the most recent)of a given show are available. Hulu also offers a more expensive package, called “Hulu+.” For this service, customers pay $7.99 each month for an extension of the free version of the website. Hulu+ allows viewers to watch full, current seasons of shows, and sometimes, entire series, some of them still running and some canceled. Subscribers also gain access to vast movie collections with thousands of movies from various genres. Perhaps the most tempting feature on Hulu+ offers is its wide range of devices on which one can view media. It builds on the free version’s availability on solely the computer, allowing content viewing on connected televisions, mobile devices, gaming platforms, and live-streaming players, like Roku, which allows owners to view live shows, including some sports on their television.

A customer of Hulu+ still wouldn’t necessarily be getting everything offered with certain television plans, however. To watch live sports, one has to purchase a Roku player, which starts at around 50., yet  not all major sporting events are viewable with the player. Furthermore, the best high definition available with Hulu is its720p, compared to the greater 1080p high definition offered by its competitors: television providers.

Among the plethora of satellite and cable television providers available, Time Warner Cable is the prominent Midwest company, with prices and services comparable to those of its counterparts. Its digital television package offers over 200 channels, a large number of which are available in 1080p high definition, for $39.99 per month. For an additional 15 dollars per month for three months, Time Warner also offers Cinemax and HBO, giving customers more shows and movies. The most expensive package offered, digital TV with HD DVR service, costs $49.99 per month and gives customers DVR, which allows them to record shows they would otherwise miss viewing after the air date. The 49.99 deal also gives subscribers access to Movies On Demand, with a decent selection of mainly new release movies that can be rented instantly for about 4 dollars for 24 hours of availability. Time Warner also offers bundling deals, so if television access is purchased in addition to a home phone and/or Internet, the price gets reduced from the original fee for individual services.

Given prices and packages, the television viewing service customers choose to purchase depends on what they want to watch and in what quantity. For a big time sports fan or someone who really values that extra bit of resolution offered by 1080p high definition, television may remain a practical option. For people looking to save money while still having access to their favorite shows, sites like Hulu may be the way to go. With the development of video-on-demand services on the Internet, and as more programs, like sports, become available, viewership on the television may undergo a dramatic drop in the future.

Written by Gavin Rackoff’14. Photo courtesy of


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