For all the talk about cord cutting and our magical future of Internet TV, in real life, television is very much still corded with no signs of being unfettered. While there's all this talk about Netflix, Amazon, and Apple TV, most people still pay for cable and do most of their viewing that way, explains The New York Times's Brian Stelter. "The cords remain intact, the latest crop of earnings reports indicate," he writes. "Considering the fragile economy, cable and satellite subscriptions seem to be faring better than the industry had feared and its Internet rivals had hoped." The Internet might be the future, but it's not the now. Streaming options are only supplements. Instead of forgoing the cable box, the reality is that most people are hunkering down on the couch for the classic viewing experience.
Not only are people sticking with 20th century tech, things aren't exactly trending toward a cordless future. Not only does most of the country still have TV, but those cutting cords aren't streaming trailblazers. "Those who are canceling are doing so, it seems, because of poverty, not improved technology," explains Stelter. Cable companies report that the ones cutting subscriptions are doing so because they can't afford TV or Internet, for that matter. "Most such cord-cutters do not have a broadband Internet connection," writes Stelter. Cable company woes have more to do with the housing crisis than the big bad Internet.
But cable isn't the only segment not budging toward the future. Believe it or not, even the physical disc trend is still kicking it. DVD dominance has waned, but as we saw with the Netflix/Qwikster split, people still appreciate the option. And shockingly the diamond in the rough of home entertainment growth this quarter came from Blu-ray sales, reports The New York Times's Michael Cieply. The number of homes with Blu-ray players rose 52 percent over the year and Blu-ray sales are expected to reach $1.23 billion for the first three quarters, up from $1 billion a year ago.
The reason we're not living in a streaming world is that the options just aren't there yet. TV streaming boxes like XBox Live and Roku attempt to meld the Internet and home entertainment. But they're only half-baked attempts, presenting fractions of the TV cable companies provide while simultaneously requiring a cable subscription. Why not just watch regular old TV? And just streaming options just don't provide all the content a cable subscription offers. Until streaming provides an all-in-one cable competitor, that can really feed our TV addictions, the majority just aren't going to cut the cord.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.