eXtensions - Wednesday 2 November 2016
Cassandra: Netflix, iFlix, No Flicks - Why I am going to drop the cable company
By Graham K. Rogers
Despite the low levels of programs and movies that Netflix allows me, I am really quite pleased with what I can view, particularly when compared with the alternatives I had before. I was convinced about the value of this medium when I watched Breaking Bad from beginning to end and I still have several series I have not touched yet.
When I first came here, only a half dozen or so local channels could be viewed. In the late 1990s cable and satellite television arrived and that improved things considerably. The main cable provider merged with the satellite company and there has been a gradual evolution since, but for years viewers accepted the status quo of program delivery at set times, which could mean arranging meals around the program and even, with certain sporting events, bathroom breaks.
Although I already had limited internet television, when Apple updated its box to version 4 and a selection of apps became available, that changed things considerably. Apple TV here has a fraction of the apps and providers that are available to users in the United States, but even so, with this limited content I began to change my approach to viewing. Netflix was the major factor there, despite its restricted content.
I cannot do that with Grand Prix racing. Of course, live races are watched at the time of the event, but if I miss a race (those in America are always too late for me) I have to watch when the cable company schedules it; and if the rescheduled transmission is changed for some reason (as has happened several times) I miss the race. Even the app that True (my provider) developed is in need of an update: the company have failed to respond to changes in technology.
Bernie Ecclestone built the sport by recognising the power of television. That time is now past. He is now 86 and about to retire from his position, as part of the deal with Liberty Media who have apparently recruited Ross Brawn to take over the sport's management (GrandPrix) as long as the FIA approves.
This is as much about user convenience as it is about content. The cable companies have not reacted to the changes that online access have brought.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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