Monday, June 24, 2013

If You Can’t Beat’em, Buy’em

One of the largest satellite TV providers, DirecTv is reported to have offered $1 billion to purchase Hulu. This is a classic example of a company covering its bets as they observe that the way we consumers watch TV continues to change.  For many of us, using cable or satellite to watch our favorite programs is becoming a thing of the past.  Hulu, Netflix and now offer just about any current show on demand and the HD picture is able to be displayed easily on the large flat screen in your family room.  It is no wonder that paying that monthly bill to the cable or satellite company for hundreds of channels we don’t watch is being questioned. 

A look at the catalog of offerings by Hulu Plus or Netflix Online will show hundreds of network programs available when you want to watch.  Not only can you watch the latest episode of your favorite primetime soap, you can go back and watch all the episodes, even those from a previous season.  Programs long gone from the big networks or from even the more esoteric cable channels are available on line.  Remember Rocky and Bullwinkle, or the original Star Trek from the late sixties?  They are all available for your viewing pleasure. And the price is just 8 bucks a month.
To make a fair price comparison you need to factor in that to use Hulu or Netflix you must have a high speed Internet connection and that, of course, will cost about $40 to $60 per month.  But with most cases, switching from cable will save money.

Cutting the cable cord will also make getting live sporting events and late breaking news a bit harder to get.  Many have rediscovered over-the-air TV as a good solution.  Unless you live far removed from a large city, a modest antenna and new digital TV will pull in more local stations than ever before.  It is not uncommon for viewers in our area to receive 30 or more different channels over the air.

The recent offer to buy Hulu by DirecTv, from a partnership made up of News Corp, Disney and Comcast, will be interesting to watch.  All three of the current owners have more than a passing interest and financial investment in how we watch and pay for TV.  As they say in the business, “Stay Tuned.”

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