The acronym stands for internet protocol television. It is literally television that is delivered over the internet as opposed to traditional terrestrial, cable, and satellite mediums. Defined loosely, YouTube is IPTV. Industry professionals would object to that proposition.
Early on, the term referred to the TV programming you are used to, delivered via the internet. Even that does not clear it up completely. Right now, you can get services like Comcast’s Xfinity over the internet. But it still does not cover the full TV experience that you get from the traditional service. So is that IPTV or not? No one knows.
What we do know is that for a certain percentage of the population, being free from the cable TV oligopoly is the ultimate dream. They can’t wait to cut the cord and get TV the way they truly want it. But there are good reasons why the practice is not yet mainstream. Here are three:
Best Bank for the Buck
It seems everyone has a different reason for wanting to cut the cord. One of the reasons that used to come up a lot is price. People had a perception that the cost of television programming was too high. But this was largely colored by a generation who grew up on free terrestrial TV programming. What people don’t seem to realize is that if that is what you want, you can still get that today, and get it in HD.
Some channels have always had the paid subscription model. Regardless of how you consume them, you will ultimately have to pay for them. The traditional model still provides you with the most content on the most channels for the least amount of money.
Additionally, you can get bundles such as AT&T Internet + DIRECTV. You can also get home phone in the package. So whether you want the maximum amount of programming or the maximum number of services, traditional paid subscription TV is still the best bang for the buck.
If you don’t mind waiting for content, you can always go with Hulu or Netflix. But those shows are delayed by anywhere from 24 hrs to a few years. Some of the popular overseas programming like Gunpowder is just now catching up to premium services. But if you had a traditional sub, you could have watched it sooner if you had BBC America as a part of your package.
Delays are not the biggest problem with cutting the cord. There are shows that are completely blacked out such as sports. Legally getting live sports on a streaming service is either impossible or prohibitively expensive. If you’re lucky, your show will just be delayed. If you are unlucky, you will not have access to your show at all. That is a harsh reality of cutting the cord right now.
You can use an app to see the weather. But you still need local broadcasts to reliably stay on top of school and work closures, up to the moment traffic conditions, and local politics. There is something a little off about knowing what is going on halfway around the world but being in the dark about what is going on just around the corner.
If you follow the advice in the best guides for watching all the content you want without the cable bills, you still don’t end up with all the content you want. And you still end up with quite a bill for subpar service. Local is simply not on the menu in most cases. Some of the newer over the top services offer some local, but not all, and only to a handful of markets – sometimes as few as 5.
So until the price makes sense, you don’t have to wait for content, and you get all the content you actually want including local, hold off on cutting the cord. We are simply not there yet.