The streaming world has been evolving for a number of years. When Netflix started out offering streaming, next to it’s classic DVD-Mailing service, who would have thought that they were about to usher in a new era of media consumption.
But that’s where we are now. Major TV providers have been reporting dramatic declines in subscribers to traditional cable and satellite television packages and TV ratings have been tumbling for years. All this, while new streaming platforms keep coming out.
Now, we are not saying that you shouldn’t have cable at all, or that all cable providers are bad. But with more and more streaming services coming out, we wanted to take this opportunity to take stock of the current streaming enviroment and take a hard, long look. And our conclusion is pretty clear: Streaming sites are simply better than Cable. Don’t believe us? Well, we have 7 very convincing arguments.
Quality Original Content
The big one. No Streaming service is worth a dime, if there is nothing to watch on it. And the best way to distinguish yourself as a streaming platform from the rest of the pac is your own content. For that reason Netflix, Amazon and even platforms like YouTube have bet big on their own original movies and shows.
And while Broadcast networks have been struggling with establishing big name shows and even big players like HBO haven’t created a new blockbuster in years, the streaming platforms have been pumping out hit after hit. Some recent examples: Hulu knocked it out of the park with the cult hit Handmaid’s Tale and Casual, while Amazon Prime Video could bag such blockbuster shows like Jack Ryan and Homecoming with Julia Roberts. And then there is Netflix of course, which has recently had such big successes like Queer Eye, Ozark, Maniac (with Emma Stone and Jonah Hill) Big Mouth, Dear White People, Glow
Watch anywhere, anytime
We, as a society are more mobile than we have ever been. And with phones getting better and better (and frankly just plain bigger) watch shows and movies on the go has become way more viable than it used to be just a few years ago. So it’s no wonder that you can catch more and more people catching up on their favorite comedy on the bus, or super immersed in a football game while sitting in the garden.
The big streaming companies have embraced that fact in many different ways. One big step was slimming down the file sizes, so that people don’t actually reach their data limit after watch an episode of friends. With new and improved compression software companies like Netflix have been successful in making their content way smaller and therefore easier to stream. We have actually talked about which streaming services use the least amount of data before.
Another big factor is WIFI, which has become widely available and often free in most public places. Be it the coffeeshop down the street, McDonalds, your local grocery store or the Airport. Around the world it is quite common for Wifi to be free and easily accessible.
And even if you don’t have access to Wifi, you might at this point have a phone contract that doesn’t count your Netflix or Amazon Prime consumption towards your data cap. Streaming companies have made sure to strike deals with big phone carriers so that barrier isn’t a problem either.
Another big step was introducing Download features. For a long time you could only watch your Netflix shows while you have an active internet connection. But no more. In 2016 the streaming giant introduced a Download feature that allows you to, well download, content onto your phone or tablet. Almost all big streamers followed (except for Hulu) and even YouTube built a Download feature into it’s paid service YouTube Red.
Granted, the Download features on a lot of those streamers are a little muddled, with shows and movies having vastly different expiration dates and some titles not being downloadable at all. But especially for situations where you are stuck at a place where internet is either unreliable (trains, some foreign countries) or not available at all (planes) this feature has been a god’s end.
Set your own Price
See, I didn’t want to call this section “Streaming is cheaper” because, as with most things this largely depends on you. The fact is, cable bills are quite high and often you don’t really have any other choice but to pay up. And while paying for streaming services can add up, the good thing is you don’t have to buy them in a bundle and you get to choose what to pay and what to skip.
Another big plus: Most streaming services don’t force you into 12, 24 or even 36 month plans. Those exist and it’s not uncommon for them to be cheaper than paying monthly, but most if not all streaming services do at least give you the option to cancel after every month.
You can safe quite a bit of money by being smart about that. Why not wait until your favorite show’s new season arrived and get a subscription for month to watch through it? A lot of services also make it very easy to share passwords, by allowing multiple people watching at the same time through different devices.
So yes, streaming can be pricey, but you also have a lot of ways to safe money by only subscribing to services you need and cancelling them when you don’t actually use them. And that’s a big difference to how cable companies do it.
Big names are flocking to Streaming
When Netflix just started out with producing original content, people were wary about an internet company it’s own shows. Big Hollywood names where just starting to see TV as something they would actually willing to do. It was a big deal at the time, for example, that Kiefer Sutherland was willing to do 24. But boy, did that opinion change fast.
Netflix quickly established itself as a company willing to take risks and give their artists creative freedom and big names came fast to take them by their word. One of their first huge shows was House of Cards, famously signing on, then still widely loved, Kevin Spacey and David Fincher.
Since then it’s not uncommon at all anymore for streaming services to sign on big names. Quite on the contrary, a lot of big names actually seek out streaming services because they know, that they are thirsty for quality content and willing to give the talent a lot of freedom. Just to name a few of the most recent celebs signing onto streaming services: Jack Black, Woody Allen, Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Ava DuVernay, John Boyega, Martin Scorcese, Adam Sandler, Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman and Sigourney Weaver just to name… well not a few… Quite many actually.
Better User Interface
Back in the day, watching TV was pretty straight forward: You switch on your TV and change the channel until you find something you like. These days, it’s note quite that simple. Digital has actually changing channels a way slower process, with a few seconds of delay between channels. Which doesn’t sound that much, but with literally hundreds of channels this process can get quite tedious.
This also turns out to be quite tiresome, when trying on-demand services. To be fair, some providers do better than others. For example Comcast’s Xfinity does have a feature rich and intuitive User Interface that works pretty well. But others are quite slow and way behind the usually very simple and fast UIs streaming services tend to use.
It has to be said that Cable set top boxes also usually can’t hold a candle to streaming devices like Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV when it comes to convinience. Although not all, you do get access to a lot of streaming apps on most devices and they tend to be very easy to navigate. Be it Roku or the Apple TV OS, they offer access to many channels, without cluttering up or slowing down the navigation.
Another big one. And yes, some streaming services like Hulu do have commericals if you spring for a cheaper package, but all of them give you the option to opt out of seeing ads.
And the unfortunate truth is commericals on cable TV channels have gotten out of control. Interruptions are numerous, commercials get more and more shouty and repetitive and it just takes you out of the thing you actually want to watch.
Once you are used to watching your shows uninterrupted it’s very difficult to go back. Yes, you can set your DVR up and fast forward through commercials most of the time. But there is nothing quite as nice, as just laying back on your couch enjoying your movie or show, without having to worry about any kind of interruption at all.
All a matter of opinion
So, there you have it. 7 reasons why streaming is better than cable. Obviously, this is highly subjective and we understand that you might not agree with us. But we dothink that they are quite convincing and that there is a ton of reasons why streaming is so successful and doesn’t seem to stop anytime soon.
Of course there are also good arguments to be made in favor of cable. If you disagree or have other good reasons for or against, let us know in the comments.
To find the best Streaming Video Player for your home, head on over to see our personal top pics. We have tried and tested a lot of the most well-known streaming video players and picked our personal favorites, from budget versions to enthusiast-gear.