Will traditional television go by the wayside?

When it comes to watching your favorite tv shows, could you make the switch from your 27 to 60 inch tv screen to your desktop or laptop?



Even though 99 percent of the country owns at least one television, the number of people watching tv shows on computers and mobile devices such as ipods and cellphones is becoming a growing trend.  Some are saying goodbye to cable tv bills and instead are watching their favorite shows on YouTube or Hulu.com.  And if they want to watch movies they just subcribe to Netflix.

Danny Ledonne rarely misses “The Daily Show.” He’s a frequent viewer of its cable TV cousin, “The Colbert Report,” too. And for additional political satire and commentary, he often checks out HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher.”

The thing is, Ledonne doesn’t own a television. He hasn’t had one since he was in college more than eight years ago. When he walks into a friend’s house nowadays and the TV set is on, he says, “It’s like a quaint visit to an alien world.”

These days, Ledonne, 27, can watch all the TV he wants merely by opening his laptop, or going to his cellphone or iPod. With full-length TV programs available all over the Internet (in both legal and pirated form), he finds he does just fine without paying a monthly cable bill — or even having a TV. In industry parlance, he’s among those who have “cut the cord,” no longer tethered to the sources that have delivered programming into the home since television’s inception.

As alternative means of watching “television” rapidly mature, the Danny Ledonnes of the world are at the vanguard of a potentially potent economic and social force. People like him could be poised to do to the broadcasting, cable and satellite TV industries what free music downloads did to the recording industry and free online news has done to newspapers — that is, alter everything about the creation, production and delivery of TV.

Ledonne, for example, can construct an entire TV schedule without ever flicking on a remote control. Thanks to dozens of videocasting Web sites, such as Hulu, TV.com, Joost and Fancast, full-length episodes of more than 90 percent of the shows carried by the major broadcast networks are legally accessible within a day of being broadcast, according to Forrester Research (only about 20 percent of what’s on cable is similarly available). And because online TV programs are always “on,” and cost little more than the price of an Internet connection, Ledonne has gotten used to watching on his own terms.

“I don’t want an arbitrary television schedule telling me when and where I’m supposed to meet it every night or every week,” says Ledonne, a graduate student at American University and a video producer. “I want to watch when I want to, I want to be able to download it and listen on the bike or watch on a plane, and I want to do it for free with minimal advertising. Otherwise, I have better things to do.”

The Sony in the living room isn’t about to vanish, not with almost 99 percent of all American households still owning at least one TV. Nor are the cable or satellite industries in any immediate danger, given that 85 percent of the country still pays for TV service.

Since I grew up watching television on a regular television screen I don’t know if I could make that kind of switch. I know I wouldn’t watch a tv show or movie on my mp3 player or cellphone. The screens are much too small for my old eyes, lol 😉  I’ve watched a couple of movies on my 17 inch desktop monitor and even then it wasn’t the same as watching a movie on the tv screen.  And besides when it’s a really good tv show like 24 or a movie, I prefer the comfort of my sofa, not an office chair.

One response

  1. My family has never paid for cable and the last time I went to a hotel I realized what a waste of money it is. Everyone in my family has a laptop and our house has a desktop that is always wired to the television, just in case we want to watch a show over the internet or play a DVD. We can still get local channels over the rabbit ears despite what cable companies want you to know.

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