Traditional TV business model gets turned on its head

With so many solid options for streaming content available now, 2012 may well be remembered as the year the decades-old broadcast and cable TV business model started its long-promised transition to the 21st century in earnest.

The business of home entertainment is changing slowly but surely, and 2012 moved the needle even further away from traditional cable company models and toward streaming services. DVR usage is higher than ever, but more importantly people are looking to on-demand brands like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, and HBO Go to augment and in some cases replace regular TV. This year we also saw new products catering to "cord cutters" -- startup-centric upstarts like Simple TV (a DVR for over-the-air TV), Aereo (app-based TV delivered over the Internet), and the Boxee TV (featuring a Cloud DVR). TV providers are also exploring new ways to deliver content, like the Fios TV app for Xbox, Samsung, and LG TVs, delivering a select number of live TV channels without the need for a set-top box. And that's not including the "TV Everywhere" apps for tablets and smartphones, either.

Will your cable provider become "just another app"? Or will content providers bypass cable and satellite altogether, and opt for streaming-only "over the top" delivery? We'll know the answers a few years from now -- but 2012 may well be remembered as the year the decades-old broadcast and cable TV business model started its long-promised transition to the 21st century in earnest.

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About the author

Section Editor David Katzmaier has reviewed TVs at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

 

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