By Ben Everett | Sports Writer
The emergence of video streaming services in all aspects of media has resulted in a decline in use of traditional cable and satellite television services. The average person would likely opt for watching a television series on Netflix or Hulu rather than having to wait week-by-week to watch a show on cable.
Streaming also gives viewers the ability to take their entertainment with them on their mobile devices. For hardcore sports fans like myself, I love the ability to stream basketball and football games on my phone, laptop or tablet when I don’t have a TV at my disposal, or when it’s more convenient.
My roommates and I pay for cable for various reasons, but the main reason is to be able to watch live sporting events.
I also own an Apple TV so that if, for some reason, a game that we want to watch is not provided by our cable package, we can stream the game through a related streaming service onto the TV.
Given all this, one might ask, if these related streaming services are free, why even bother paying for a cable package when you can stream games and shows through any device?
The answer is, because streaming services, at least when it comes to live events, have two large hurdles to overcome if you are going to completely cut the cable on traditional TV services.
1) Wi-Fi needs to be fast, reliable and strong.
Unlike cable and satellite services, streaming relies on Wi-Fi or some other internet connection in order to work. From personal experience, I know it can be frustrating to stream a basketball or football game and end up with massive amounts of buffering or poor video quality. Unless you have impeccable Wi-Fi or an ethernet connection, streaming will always be inferior to watching on cable. The only thing you need for cable to work is a working TV and power.
2) Live events need to be live.
The biggest problem with streaming sporting events, in my opinion, is that there is always a time delay. The delay is small, usually around two or three minutes, but when I’m watching sports, I don’t want to be behind by one second. Think about it. Would you record a football game to watch later? Most people would say no because we watch to see the result. If I’m on Twitter and see that the game I’m streaming is already over and people are reacting to it, I would not be happy.
So with these new services like Playstation Vue and Hulu with live TV promising the same channels as cable packages while also having archived shows to watch, I would warn to stick with cable for now.
Live TV that isn’t actually live and relies heavily on a secondary service like internet connection isn’t ready to be the primary source of sporting events. For now, streaming is a convenient second option but will need to fix the aforementioned issues to take over the viewing industry.