Every time someone learns that I watch Hulu through my laptop via VGA to my TV set, the first question is “can you help me do that so I can cancel cable?” Clearly, there is something to consider here, both as an audience tired of being fleeced by insane cable/satellite costs, in addition to the appeal of getting TV for free or cheap… like we did when I was a kid.
At age 37, I vividly remember getting up as a child to warm up my TV for Saturday morning cartoons. To make sure my selection was not disturbed in any way, I would actually remove the “knob” from the TV set to guarantee my brother would not change the channel during an episode of my favorite cartoon show. Back then, the idea of paying for TV was not in the realm of reality of most people. 99% of the country was using a crazy contraption called broadcast TV. It cost us nothing other than time to warm up the TV set and maybe a pair of rabbit ears.
Flash forward to now. I think people are yearning for this simplicity once again. And settop devices, along with physical computers attached, do provide us with the ability to forego TV options of the 20th century once and for all.
The problem is, are they really ready for it? Do people understand that by going to a TV setup where you cannot simply have it running in the background with shows you’re not watching is where they’d be headed? On-demand TV is very different than cable or even broadcast TV. The obvious compromise, I guess, is a mixture of HD broadcast and on-demand options with Hulu, Netflix, and so on.
So no, I will not be available for hire as my friends and neighbors have asked me. Not because I cannot provide what they are asking for. Rather, because I realize its limitations are not always considered by those making the request. Once Hulu Plus comes to Roku (this fall), however, despite it being a little more limited in content than on the PC, I might reconsider setting folks up with my current home setup.