The end of cable?
Firstly, if you're paying $100 for cable tv programming, you're getting ripped off. You can get your 30+ HD channels from satellite or cable for less than $40 with tax per month.
Secondly, you still need internet access, and currently, the cable companies have a really good value. I lived in Oakland and got 5 megabit service for $60/month and you can find promotions for half that. At the end of all this, the cable company may be selling more internet than tv, but they'll still be around.
This got me thinking about my family's entertainment "package". Let's divide it into two sections: programming and hardware.
My programming setup is Comcast internet, phone, and HD cable and DVR for $110 and Netflix 1 disc unlimited for $10 per month. I pay the $1 extra to get blu-ray. For purposes of comparison, let's drop the phone and say that we're paying $75 for internet and cable.
We watch all this using:
* Panasonic 46" plasma in family room (Panasonic TH-46PZ800U)
* Samsung blu-ray player with Netflix streaming (Samsung BD-P2500)
* Two 15" notebooks on wifi (a Mac and a Dell)
The way we usually use this programming and hardware combo is
* DVR prime time series (24, House, Grays Anatomy)
* Watch sports in HD
* Plan a few days ahead and watch a blu-ray movie from Netflix
* Stream any of Comcast's on demand programming
* Watch any of Netflix streaming movies on the TV through the blu-ray player
To less frequently we will
* Watch a movie or show on Hulu on one of the notebooks
* Stream Netflix to one of the notebooks
We we were to replace the $75 Comcast bill with a $40 internet-only bill and a dedicated media PC with an HD tuner, we'd save $35 a month. However, we'd also be limited in the following ways:
* Live programming limited to the major networks.
* Different watch instantly options (no more Comcast on demand... but we can now watch Hulu).
* Simple access to saved programs. PC-based DVRs aren't as simple as the real thing and much more can go wrong.
Reading over that list, I'd probably rather have 12 * $35 = $420 in my pocket. However, I'd need to find time to buy the PC and HD antenna, set it up, and train my family on it. Fun, but time consuming. If I can't get the activation energy to do cool project, I doubt less technical folk would undertake it. Now, if I were unemployed or retired...