Yes, online TV exists and it is becoming increasingly popular as new, young viewers are entering into the market for TV viewership. Streaming, the process most online videos use, is very popular among young people, especially those aged 14-25.
As these young people grow, they will become the target audience for many TV service providers, and cable companies will be forced to make changes. These young viewers are much more accustomed to watching TV on their computers and mobile devices, and are more likely to binge watch TV; that is, watch 3 or more episodes at a time, and this is done far easily if you watch online TV than traditional cable.
The Ability to watch What You Want
Perhaps one of the greatest draws to watching your shows and movies online is the ability to watch what you want, where you want. Now it’s possible to watch your favorite TV show pretty much anywhere where you can get internet. This means you can watch television outside, on the beach, in a café over lunch, even when taking a long bubble bath. Furthermore, this means that you’re not restricted to the broadcasting schedules of cable or satellite TV. You can save and watch an episode multiple times without filling up your cable recording device.
You Can Save Money
By watching online TV, you save a bundle because you can get a lot of videos free on the channel’s websites (albeit for a limited time), and some providers like Netflix offer whole libraries of shows, films, and documentaries for a very low monthly price. With these methods you also get less of those annoying commercials, and there are many providers that don’t run ads during their streaming at all.
Interestingly enough, the move from cable to online TV doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing for ad companies, as some studies have reported that individuals are more likely to pay attention to digital ads while streaming shows than they are for TV ads.
There Are Some Downsides
But just as there are downsides to cable or satellite TV, watching television through the Internet has its disadvantages as well. Legitimate streaming sites are often limited by license restrictions, and so may not have what you want; even if they do, it may not be available in your location. Trying to access customer service is easier with cable, because if your cable isn’t working then you know exactly who to contact, whereas with online TV it could be the host site, your internet connection, or a fault in your device itself.
Illegal sites are riddled with dangerous viruses and malware that can destroy your computer or at least have a very costly fix. They’re also illegal, and may be shut down at any time. The quality of the video is often lacking as well.
However, despite these disadvantages, there is no question that there is a growing demand for online TV services. Many channels, such as CTV, have recognized this and put out apps that allow people to stream from their mobile devices as well as having videos available online. If this trend continues, it will force cable companies to provide better services for less cost.