Rapid changes are happening in the cable TV and online markets

The television broadcasting landscape is changing so rapidly these days that it is difficult to predict how things will unfold. Local cable providers continue to expand their presence anywhere, anytime by pushing on-demand, online and mobile viewing options. Netflix is ​​courting more content providers in an effort to offer more options online. Hulu is finding that its gap between networks is widening as it contemplates changing its delivery model. Now, Amazon has joined the party with the news that they plan to launch a movie and TV streaming service to compete with Netflix and Hulu.

Cable companies like Comcast, Charter, and Time Warner Cable have begun offering more online options to existing cable TV subscribers. Most cable customers who subscribe to both television and broadband Internet service can view network and cable content on the websites of most providers. This includes not only network and cable channels, but also sometimes premium broadcasters like HBO, Showtime, and Starz. As more and more users begin to expect to watch TV and movies on mobile devices, providers begin to respond. Netflix and Hulu are already available on streaming devices like Roku, game machines, and Blu-Ray players. Additionally, both services are available on Apple’s iPhone and iPad and are expected to appear soon on Android devices. Some analysts suspect that cable TV providers want to ensure that customers remain cable TV subscribers in the face of ubiquitous online content. To those ends, Comcast has announced the launch of an iPad app called Xfinity TV that gives Comcast Cable and Broadband Internet subscribers access to broadcast programs.

Trying to attract cable customers, the media is reporting that Hulu is considering changing its delivery model and moving to the live channel and on-demand content. By bundling channels into bundles similar to those offered by cable and satellite providers, Hulu hopes to build a new market for end-users who are comfortable getting all of their entertainment online. At the same time, Amazon is set to announce a competing streaming service as part of its Amazon Prime membership program. Amazon Prime currently offers free shipping on all orders for an annual fee. By adding movies and TV shows in real time, Amazon hopes to boost its real-time rental and purchase business that has lagged far behind Netflix. In the end, all of these changes should be good for customers. More options from more competitors will drive streaming content beyond what you could imagine a few years ago. The question now is how much customers are willing to spend for convenience. With so many content providers available, there will be both winners and losers. Right now, each one is struggling, hoping to remain standing when the dust settles.

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