I read an article this morning that cited a survey reporting that American adults are now getting more of their screen time through streaming services and apps like TikTok than through traditional television. The comments section was filled by people talking about the glory of cord cutting.
That’s fine. Good on them. My cable TV subscription is still the one stop shop for 85-90% of anything I want to watch. For all my hostility to Xfinity and Comcast before them, the presence of their “set top box” means I don’t have to constantly go hunting for something. The older I get the more willing I am to pay for that kind of convenience.
I get it. I’m a contrarian… but needing to jump between from Netflix, to Hulu, to Amazon, to Disney+, to Peacock, to HBO Go, in order to watch one show on each of them, in my opinion, tends to be a marvelous pain in the ass that inevitably means stopping to log in to one app or another when all I want to do is push a power button and go to the right channel. Layer on the joy of finding that half the seasons of a particular show are on App A while the rest are on Streaming Service B and forget about it. Whatever percentage of a dollar I’m saving for making my life more complicated just isn’t worth it.
Frankly, we’ve reached a point in this evolution where I’m more apt to cut streaming services rather than cable television. The promise of streaming was that I’d be able to select just the channels and content I wanted instead of buying the whole universe of programs that included bundles of things I couldn’t care less about. That future never materialized and instead streaming became ordering up bundles of bundles instead of one big one with everything included.
Increasingly, if there’s a series I want to watch and I can’t find it free through my cable service, I’ll just wait until I can buy the damned thing on iTunes or Amazon – one and done, commercial free, for a fixed price. I imagine my days of being subscribed to multiple streaming services is just about over. They’re quickly approaching the point of being more bother than they’re worth.