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Kill Your TV
By Rick Hoar, Managing Producer
January 7, 2010

Want to get on board the next big trend in media consumption? Stop paying for television.

Yes, it’s true: subscription TV is going the way of subscription newspapers -- but the revolution will still be televised.

Now, we may be a little biased toward alternate television platforms here at The Lone Star, but I personally am among a forward-thinking group of pioneers that long ago opted to “pull the plug” on cable (and satellite and even terrestrial broadcasting) without making any lifestyle changes or becoming just “a reader.”

On the contrary, since quitting cable TV cold-turkey, I find myself more tuned-in to the world in motion, and with a little sweat equity, enjoying far more engaging content than ever before. Almost all the electronic media I now consume is delivered via Internet Protocol.

The ever-expanding universe of independent and mainstream producers delivering their content online and direct-to-you provides a far richer media environment than the mind-numbing act of channel surfing the cable boxes ever did. In fact, many of us have become so accustomed to listening to streaming radio stations on smartphones and watching realtime webcasts and network TV on-demand, that there’s now a PC sitting under the old boob tube, dedicated wholly to web browsing and media-centric activities.

The consumer electronics industry has long been hip to this coming trend, fitting HD flats with all manner of computer input orifices. And, under the screen, your components are just as eager to push the World Wide Web into your living room. The Xbox360 and Playstation3 were actually designed to bring Net applications into the home theater, Sony and Microsoft recognizing early that the future of media would be both downloadable and interactive.

What do the content producers think about this sea change already at hand? Some embrace the future more lovingly than others, particularly the long-denied like us. The mainstream networks seem to be playing catch-up, albeit competently. While they have the most audience share to lose, they also recognize the trend’s momentum and are bringing their powerful content and distribution networks to bear.

Truthfully, there is MORE money to be made on Web 2.0 with more accurate ad analytics and hyper-niche-oriented programming. Combine the resulting sales efficiency with the decreased cost of distribution from cutting out the middlemen, and the only loser here is the cable industry.

Or is it?

Turns out they have the biggest potential to gain of everyone involved. As the primary operators of massive wire and fiber optic networks spanning the globe, the decreased TV traffic just makes more room for the MUCH greater demand for IP bandwidth. Ever heard of a cable company that doesn’t sell Internet? The only monetary loss will be to the TV head-ends of the cable corps (and competition from TelCo’s and Satellite Internet Providers), but this pales by comparison to the income growth being generated by more and more web-hungry consumers logging in everywhere every day.

It’s a good time to be in communications, no matter what your product (tyrants excluded). And hopefully, as our ability to communicate with one another increases, our collective wisdom will thrive alongside it. So, don’t be shy – reinvest your old cable bill in a fatter Internet pipe or a wireless data plan or both!

…and watch us LIVE at www.frontiertelevision.com! :-)