Smart TVs and the Future of Cable


Technology is dynamic. It constantly improves itself. Older versions die out and newer varieties take over the market. This is how it has always been, though lately, the pace of development has reached an exponential scale. The latest technological advancements also touch the media and entertainment industry. People no longer watch TV in the same way they used to a decade ago. While traditional cable television services like RCN cable still hold the ground and a massive share in the viewership, they are gradually being challenged by “smart” technology and streaming services. Given such a disruptive scenario, what could be the future of cable? Let’s find out below.

Smart TVs and the Future of Cable

What Do Smart TVs Have To Offer?

Smart TVs are the type of television sets that tap into an in-home network, seamlessly pair with other smart devices in the vicinity like a smartphone, a smart speaker, a Voice Remote, or a smart home hub, and go above and beyond the basic functionality of playing broadcasted content. Here are the top features and benefits of smart TVs:

·      Internet Connectivity

One of the primary specs of a smart TV is that it easily connects to the internet. You can use an Ethernet cable to link your TV set to a router directly for optimal speeds, or you can enable the Wi-Fi option on your TV set and enter your network credentials to make it head online. An internet-enabled TV serves several purposes from displaying real-time weather information to facilitating general web surfing via an internet browser built into the television. It can also fetch the media stored on your PC or smartphone and allow you to view it on the big screen.

·      Access to Streaming Content

Smart televisions, unlike regular TV sets, have an operating system, just like your smartphone. The processing power is on a whole other level, too. The best thing about a smart TV is that it enables you to open its signature App Store and download as many compatible apps as you want. This includes streaming TV apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and others. As long as your TV is connected to the internet and you have a working subscription to the streaming service of your choice, you can watch its content on your smart TV.

·      Freedom & Flexibility

A smart TV removes the need for streaming media players and other cumbersome devices. It offers an all-in-one solution to the entertainment needs of people. You have the freedom to download any streaming app you like and stream everything from video-on-demand titles to live TV to original content on your HDTV. You can use the remote control to navigate the app and resume watching your old show. There is no fear of missing out here. Smart TV and its streaming capabilities bend to your will and your schedule.

·      Cost-Effectiveness

Are you on a tight budget these days? Then, you can watch any of the free streaming services like Peacock, Pluto TV, Sling Free, IMDb TV, Tubi TV, Crunchyroll, Crackle, Xumo, Kanopy, Haystack News, and others on your smart TV, which provide full-length TV seasons and even a hint of live TV without asking you to pay for them. Not only that, with a smart TV, you can save up on extra equipment costs and only tackle the internet bill. That’s all!

How Can Cable TV Cope with the Competition?

Cable TV has always held a monopoly in the market. No one has been able to beat it… till now. Streaming services and smart TVs have opened the eyes of consumers and presented them with alternatives that are hard to pass up. As a result, a major chunk of pay-tv customers has shifted to the streaming side. How can cable TV stay in the competition, then? If it implements the following changes to its business model:

·      More Choice

Cable TV offerings are mostly straightforward and pre-packaged. You get already-designed channel lineups with TV networks included that you may or may not watch. Picking a channel lineup just because it has one or two of your favorite TV networks and a hundred other useless ones is a big waste of money, and consumers have come to recognize this. How can cable TV keep its customers in this case? By unbundling its offerings and providing a customized and personalized shopping experience. Cable companies should give customers more choice and more freedom to create their own channel packages, consisting of only the TV networks that they’ll actually watch.

·      Fewer Ads

A 30-second commercial punctuating a half-hour episode every 10 minutes or so leaves nothing to hang on to for a viewer. It breaks the flow and drains the excitement. Most of the time, these commercials are completely random and unrelated, which makes watching them a complete hassle. What’s worse, cable companies only run them because of ad revenue. Well, no more! Streaming services have shown us that there is another way ads could be displayed in a less intrusive manner. Since consumers are fed up with commercials, cable companies should switch to a smart advertising model with targeted banner ads, like the ones found on the internet. The future is all about smart ads and smarter business models, after all.

·      Streaming Mobility

Instead of denying the hype streaming services and smart TVs have garnered among the viewership, cable companies should embrace the change and prepare for a streaming avalanche. Some of the top cable companies have already sensed the evolving tide and integrated streaming technology into their offerings. You may find providers attracting customers with free HBO Max™ for a year as a part of their cable packages. Moreover, a few brands have even rolled out their own versions of TV streaming applications for smartphone users. These TV apps require nothing more than stable internet access and a TV service login, and they open the gateway to the world of TV channel programming, live streaming, and DVR recordings, which you can watch on the go on your smartphone or smart TV set. 

The Verdict: Will Cable Survive in a Smart Future?

There is no doubt about the fact that the current cable model will fade away when contrasted with advanced smart entertainment technology. Only when cable companies implement the aforementioned transformations can they hope to survive in an increasingly “smart” future.

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Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.