We're seeing a trend happen amongst tech-savvy folks: Dropping your traditional on-air television service and resorting to streaming shows to their screen through the web. That's great and all, but it's just not for me. In my life, television is more than just a string of shows aired one after another—it's also a family tradition and a way to connect with friends.
I'm all for people saving a buck and canceling their cable service. I'm also alright with people who never watch television and never even had a TV in the first place. Different strokes for different folks, and all that.
But for me, I'll never drop TV service.
It's not that I don't know what's available. You can watch movies and entire seasons of network and cable shows instantly on your TV with Netflix. Apple TV will let you rent movies and shows through iTunes. There's a million set-top boxes that give you access to all kinds of programming—everything from Hulu to MLB.tv to streaming your own video from your PC.
Everything is "on demand." You watch what you want, whenever you want. And that's my problem.
It's an Experience
There are certain shows I watch just to watch (for instance, I love the fabulously campy writing of Glee and usually catch it on Hulu well after it airs). But sometimes, I watch TV for the experience.
There's nothing better than waking up on the Thursday morning of Thanksgiving and rushing out to catch the opening of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
Sure, I could sleep in and maybe download the broadcast in a torrent later, but it's not really about the parade. It's not like I need to know what Garfield's wearing this year. For me, watching that parade gets me in the holiday spirit. Waking up to the familiar voice of Matt Lauer gets me psyched up to mow down some turkey and stuffing.
And TV is also a way for me to connect with friends. Even though we lived states apart, I knew that I could look forward to watching Lost with my college buddies every Wednesday (or Tuesday, for that last season).
We watched the first season together back in the dorms, and I love reliving those moments with each "OMG SERIOUSLY? LOCKE?!?!" text I get when the show cuts to a commercial break. That moment wouldn't be possible if we decided to watch the next day on ABC.com.
The Best of Both Worlds
So for right now, I'm not ditching my cable subscription. My watching is a pleasant hybrid of on-air TV and internet TV, mixed with a little bit of Netflix. Sure, it costs me more money. But for me, the experiences are worth every penny.
(Images: Flickr user The Suss Man (Mike) under license from Creative Commons)