Are streaming services pulling the plug on cable?


Displayed are a variety of popular streaming services: Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Disney Plus, and Prime Video. Each streaming service is unique and offers customers different options, making it more tempting to want them all.

Justine Hooker, Section Editor

  An increasing amount of people are cutting the cord on cable and switching to streaming services. But with an overabundance of options available for customers, some are left feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. It started with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, but the new streaming services on the market may be a little too much. You may have heard of some of the new ones. They keep popping up with a plus sign or the word TV next to the name: Disney Plus, YouTube TV, Apple TV Plus, Paramount Plus, Discovery Plus, and a hundred others to count. There is nothing worse than when a show gets canceled on one network or service only to get placed on another one that you do not have. No one wants to pay for a whole separate streaming service just to enjoy a small selection of their favorite shows that are only available on a certain service. For example, Friends got taken off of Netflix just to get put on HBO Max, a newer streaming service. 

  There are over 200 streaming services available for customers. Streaming services feature original content and popular TV shows and movies. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu are some of the most common ones. Now, some streaming services even allow you to watch Live TV, which has put a damper on cable. Hulu, YouTube TV, and Sling TV offer this live option.  Not only are there original streaming services like Netflix with TV shows and movies, or Hulu with Live TV, now there are streaming services from television networks. Channels from cable like Discovery Plus feature networks like HGTV, TLC, and Food Network. If that were not enough to overwhelm you, there are even streaming services where you physically have to buy devices like a Roku stick for Roku Streaming or an Amazon Firestick for Fire TV. The crazy part is, some of these devices house other streaming services. At this point, it has gotten a little out of hand. The amount that one may have to pay just to watch everything they want is absurd. 

  It is great to have choice, but with so many to choose from, what will happen to cable? According to The Pew Research Center, the number of Americans using cable or satellite services in 2015 was 76% and has dropped down to 56% in 2021. Netflix has over 200 million subscribers, while The Wall Street Journal claims that traditional cable services have lost well over five million subscribers in the past couple of years. Senior Stellana Erickson said, “I actually do not have cable because I have all streaming sites, which I feel are better because there are not usually commercials and you can watch whenever you want. I have Netflix, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video.”  The switch to streaming means a more flexible plan, no more bulky cable boxes, and no annoying extra fees. 

  The decline of cable TV seems to be moving quickly. It does not seem like the streaming services are letting up to have a more integrated and concise network. So if you want Friends, The Crown, Wanda Vision, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines, you may have to get HBO Max, Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and Discovery Plus. It may seem funny, but this is the reality for many customers. Some of these customers also have cable as well. With new shows being created all the time, who knows what new streaming service will be popping up tomorrow!