One Advantage Fios and Xfinity Has Over Streaming Services Like Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu (And They Can’t Match It)


Something we need to con­sid­er as we move into an age where tech­nol­o­gy keeps get­ting better — espe­cial­ly when it comes to view­ing video con­tent in more and more places — is that user expe­ri­ence needs to be empha­sized much more. This is espe­cial­ly vital for senior cit­i­zens or those who might not be as tech­no­log­i­cal­ly inclined.

This is an impor­tant con­sid­er­a­tion and should not be brushed aside. You can have the most amaz­ing new OLED TV, but how you inter­act with it to get the con­tent you need must be enjoy­able and easy to master—I know from expe­ri­ence.

There are big ques­tions we need to start asking in the age where stream­ing ser­vices, stream­ing play­ers and cable TV and satel­lite ser­vices often all go into one TV — and the con­fu­sion that can cause. The days where all the con­tent you wanted to watch was just on cable are over. For exam­ple: How acces­si­ble is the con­tent you want to view? How hard or easy is it to find what you are look­ing for? What are the steps you need to go through to watch that new episode of the Baby Yoda Show, ummm, I mean The Mandalorian? How do you access that latest movie that is just on Netflix? Where is that Amazon Prime App? How do I switch over to watch Fox News or CNN?

For many, that seems silly and second nature, but not all of us can whip through the screens and steps nec­es­sary to watch what we want. And with so many ways to find, view and inter­act with con­tent — and how many places you could get that con­tent — it can get a little con­fus­ing and frus­trat­ing.

All of these ques­tions and con­cerns seem silly to a cer­tain point, right? Well, for those of us well versed in zoom­ing through the var­i­ous apps, screens, inputs or devices trying to find what you want to watch — and when you want to watch — is just as rou­tine as brush­ing your teeth. But imag­ine a senior who has had cable their whole life, who is just get­ting used to a smart TV, and wants to load apps, sub­scribe to stream­ing ser­vices get­ting over­whelmed. This can cer­tain­ly happen if some­one is used to a uni­fied plat­form like cable.

Here is where cable TV providers like Fios and Xfinity do have a small, but impor­tant advan­tage. It might seem like a moot point, but being a cable sub­scriber in the days before stream­ing means you had all of your pay-tv-con­tent in one place. You did not need to change inputs, play­ing with a lot of menus, or going between dif­fer­ent screens to get con­tent. Essentially, you have one plat­form or tv-view­ing ecosys­tem that you stick with. For a senior or some­one who is not entire­ly com­fort­able with tech­nol­o­gy, that could be the dif­fer­ence in cable retain­ing a cus­tomer or not.

Could this be a lim­it­ing factor for the growth of stream­ing ser­vices, espe­cial­ly as the days of easy growth start to fade? Tough to know for sure, but it is some­thing to con­sid­er. And if I was still in the cable indus­try, I would start think­ing about it. Fios, for exam­ple, has Netflix built into some of its equip­ment, which might seem well, strange, but they are keep­ing you in the same plat­form, making your expe­ri­ence seam­less. Smart idea, no pun intend­ed.

Harry J. Kazianis is a Senior Director at the Center for the National Interest and Executive Editor of their pub­lish­ing arm, the National Interest. His work and ideas have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, USA Today, The Week, The Hill, the American Conservative and many other out­lets across the polit­i­cal spec­trum. Harry enjoys writ­ing about tech­nol­o­gy issues and prod­ucts from a real-world per­spec­tive, having pre­vi­ous­ly worked in the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions indus­try from 2000 – 2011. You can follow him (or yell at him) on Twitter: @Grecianformula.

Image: Reuters.

Source: National Interest

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