HBO Max Launched May 27, 2020: the Battle Begins
Follow the money and you find out why the streaming titans are all chasing Netflix. Netflix has ruled the streaming industry since its launch in 1997. The major entertainment players didn’t take this start up seriously–big mistake.
In 1997 cable TV was the top dog because it’s only competition was the very limited over-the-air TV and unreliable in a storm Satellite service. In 2017 industry reports counted 73 percent of US households with cable subscription service of some kind. Last year that number had dropped to just 44 percent and 62 percent of adults subscribe to one or more streaming services. As of 2020, Comcast, the largest cable subscription company, has 22 million subscribers and that number continues to drop. Netflix boasts a whopping 169 million accounts world-wide.
The streaming business forms two camps — streaming entertainment and live broadcast information. Streaming companies like Amazon and Netflix purchase movies or option new series content that is uniquely their own. The Live Broadcast industry purchases rights to cable and network broadcasting and sells it in smaller packages tailored to profile interests like basic news and movies, basic news and sporting events, or even just basic news.
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CBS All Access
If you are a cord cutter trying to save money or just trying to get the best value, the learning curve can be very steep. Netflix and Amazon were the only options for years, but the networks, studios, and big tech have all joined the race.
Good News: More choices. Bad News: Confusion.
Live TV Broadcasting
Watching the major VHF/UHF networks is the least expensive option. You’ll need a TV antenna and a digital tuner (either embedded in your flat screen TV or as an add on device if you have an older tube TV), but that is all the hardware necessary to get CBS, NBC, ABC and PBS in most areas.
If you are living in a geographic region where broadcast signals get interrupted by things like mountains, valleys, or dense forests, you can ax the antenna and pay for cable or a live streaming service (see the chart).
The cost of a streaming service is compatible with cable pricing channel for channel. Most cable channels offer 3 or 4 price levels with a mix of channels. The streaming services let you customize and scale those channel selections so that you do save money. But research is key.