Tag Archives: cable

Why My Mom Will Never Drop Cable for Netflix and Hulu

I’ve always done my best to keep my mom savvy with the times. I’ve tried to introduce her to Facebook, YouTube, the advantages of FarmVille over solitaire — you know, modern stuff. But the only time I’ve managed to captivate her interest is when I showed her the insane selection of movies and TV shows available on Netflix and Hulu.

Whenever I’m visiting, my mom is quick to ask about the new stuff we can watch. She’ll shotgun an entire season of Frasier, or check out new movies from Starz. Heck, I even got her into Battlestar Galactica. I figured it would be no problem to combine this with her almost all-consuming interest in saving money. I took the plunge; after all, $17 per month ($9 for Netflix streaming, $8 for Hulu Plus) beats what she pays for cable by a long shot.

“Hey mom, could I convince you to drop cable and get Netflix and Hulu instead?”

My mom thought about this for awhile and said definitively, “No.”

I was surprised by the answer and asked if she’d explain. I was impressed with her response because I think it describes why Netflix and Hulu will have some difficulty drawing customers like my mom, who represents a huge number of potential viewers. Here’s what she said:

Netflix and Hulu are great and all, but I never remember how to use them when you aren’t around… and if I didn’t have cable I couldn’t watch the news!

I always suspected my mom would have trouble using even mildly technological stuff without me, but the last part really gets to the heart of the issue — without cable my mom has no way of watching her beloved local news. Sure, we could argue about how I could show my mom how to go online to check the local news outlet website and blah blah blah, but that’s just not how a lot of people my parents’ age work. They want to flip on the TV and let the news happen to them rather than clicking around a site to find stories they consider interesting.

The nightly local news seems like such a trivial reason to keep paying for cable, but the pre-bedtime ritual of listening to the local anchor is nothing to sneeze at in my mom’s opinion. I think Netflix and Hulu could make an absolute killing if they lowered the entrance barrier for local news outlets to get their content included in their set of features.

Netflix and Hulu, I’m telling you guys, advertise to local stations and create a way for them to easily stream content to your users from your services. If you do that, my mom will drop cable and never look back. I can almost guarantee you that she won’t be alone.

That said, Netflix has turned my mom into a bit of a TV hog…

Xbox Live to get Cable-Esque Service?

You may soon be able to watch cable television on Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming service. Microsoft is rumored to be joining Comcast and Verizon to provide a cable-esque service on Xbox Live. No details are out as of yet, so allow me to speculate and dream like a wee lad looking at the wrapped boxes under a pine tree in December.

A cable service on Xbox Live would be incredibly convenient to people who hate having 16 set-top boxes and remotes hanging out all over the living room. It also would allow you to have cable television service without a physical cable line. At this very minute I’m watching non-cable TV only because the TV I have does not fit well on the wall where the cable outlet is. I don’t want to run cords all over the place, so cable isn’t hooked up. I do however, have an Xbox with a wireless adapter – that means I could watch ESPN3 on my TV through my Xbox. This could prove to be incredibly convenient, and would make having to route cable through walls and ceilings a thing of the past.

Something else I would love to see would be a little more customization on what you can choose to watch/pay for. I would love to be able to pay for a few different groups of channels. If I could grab just some ESPN channels and a few premium channels (I’m hoping those come to Xbox as well), I would be set. I have always wanted to be able to just watch HBO or Showtime without purchasing a full cable subscription.

Overall, Microsoft’s decision to join Comcast in the cable biz was a pretty smart one. Gaming consoles have become significantly more that just video-game-playing machines. I would say I use my Xbox for non-game uses more frequently than for playing games. Allowing the ability to watch cable television will only add to the uses of the console. All of a sudden it might not be such a waste to own more than one Xbox! The new feature could definitely help sell some more consoles for Microsoft as well as keep them relevant after a new console comes out in the future.