Is Online Video Streaming Fighting a Losing Battle?

The short answer, of course not. The industry is, however, fighting a needlessly difficult battle in which users pay the price—literally and figuratively. So the real question is, are we, the users, fighting a losing battle? Personally I think the short answer to that is, yes.

Around every corner is another hurdle for those of us who want to enjoy our video media via internet rather than the traditional cable, satellite or physical media source. What are we to do?

We Loose

While it sometimes seems as if online video delivery services are fighting the “good fight”, the fight for those of us who want to consume this media a particular way and at a particular price, that’s not actually the case. Keep in mind that these providers (Netflix, Hulu, etc) are controlled by a bigger industry—movie and TV producing companies. They’ll get their money one way or another, whether you like it or not.

Netflix recently announced a new price plan for those who want online streaming only, but in turn they increased the price of the standard DVD “rental” accounts, including for existing customers.

Netflix Pricing changes

Netflix Pricing changes

Drive-less Devices

Have you noticed new devices these days are ditching the old DVD players? Smartphones, tablets (or “pads” if you prefer) and even laptops are finally giving the old DVD technology the cold shoulder and instead relying on the internet and more compact storage media such as flash drives.

MacBook Air

MacBook Air

Thanks to this turn in technology, we’ll see more providers making a way to get content on these [mostly] internet restricted devices, but don’t expect this to come without its limitations and without opening your wallet. The change in Netflix’s pricing is proof of that.

Internet Providers

Unfortunately movie and TV production companies aren’t the only ones we have to worry about here. Your local internet service provider is well aware of the fact that you’ll need more bandwidth has the online shift continues and they’ll be doing anything they can to get their hands on a piece of that pie. We’ve already seen the shift to limited bandwidth internet connections, which makes sure you pay for the extra streaming.

That’s not it though, Comcast recently forced Netflix to pay a “toll” for providing streaming video to its customers. Although Comcast says it’s actually an issue of bandwidth burden and not really a “toll”. One way or another though, those increased costs will end up costing users in the long run.

Keep in mind that Comcast and NBC are trying to merge, which is starting a whole new fire and many that oppose it would like the merger blocked. What effect would this merger have on us here in the states? We’d have less media diversity and there would be less competition for getting us viewers’ attention. In other words, they would heavily control the internet and TV market, crushing smaller providers.

Licensing

Thanks to the joys of licensing, you’ll have limited streaming media with any provider you choose. While some shows may be available for streaming on the web, they may not be available for streaming to your iPhone or iPad. Unfortunately this is yet another area where users suffer, not the provider.

Hulu Plus

Hulu Plus

Conclusion

Really what all this comes down to is a battle between the media giants of traditional TV and streaming TV for your dollar (or the currency of your country). Nobody is really on the user’s side and there’s really nothing we can do about it except not consume media, and that’s not going to happen, or obtain the media illegally. We’re stuck for the time being with scattered video streaming sources at extra costs when providers could easily offer it for free or for a very low additional price.

We, the users, are fighting a losing battle. But we already knew that right? What do you think? How long do you think it will take before one or more solid providers are available that actually offer a full, quality library of media for streaming to just about every device you own?