5 reasons to switch from cable to streaming

amazon fire tv remote in front of tv
(Image credit: amazon)

“What do you want to watch?” 

How many times a week do you find yourself asking that question in your household? According to data from an Ericsson study, on average, Americans can spend up to one hour a day just looking for something they want to watch. As more people are turning to streaming services to quickly get to the content that matters to them, that number has started to shrink.

Part of the reason Americans have gained back their “endless surfing” time is due to streaming technology becoming more sophisticated. Streaming devices are no longer one-note fixtures in our home, but integrated services with multiple purposes. This technology is working harder than ever to help you find your favorites, discover new content, and so much more.

We talked to Sandeep Gupta, VP and GM of Fire TV at Amazon to learn how streaming has evolved. He suggested five reasons streaming can help you do more, stay entertained and make life easier.

1. Personalization  

When it comes to your favorite shows and content, no two viewers are alike. That’s why it’s important to find a streaming service that allows you to create and set up profiles. This allows multiple users of the same device to set up their own preferences so they only see the content that meets their interests. “We believe that our devices should be helpful, proactive, and get smarter everyday based on the way you use them,” said Sandeep. The more your device understands the type of content you prefer, learns about the shows you watch, the better recommendations your device will provide you. “These features help our customers eliminate ‘endless scrolling,’” he added. 

2. Discovery  

As more networks, studios, and other entertainment companies introduce streaming content services, such as Disney+, HBO Max, Discovery+, etc., it will become increasingly important to help viewers find and watch what matters to them. Recently, Amazon redesigned their user interface on Fire TV. One of the primary reasons, added Gupta, was to help customers sift through the content on their devices in a more intuitive and discoverable way. Features such as Dynamic Row in the Fire TV user interface is a feature that helps make recommendations more personalized. Based on rankings and search, Dynamic Row organizes fresh content tailored to Amazon Fire TV customer’s preferences, schedule and environment. And if all else fails, there’s the Find option, which is a new destination on Fire TV to easily discover movies, TV shows, and more. All you need to do is search for your favorites or browse by popular genres (e.g. comedies, action), helpful categories (e.g. free, sports, live TV), or take a look through the Appstore.

Another helpful feature in overcoming the endless scrolling that comes with today’s content options is voice. While there are times when it’s easiest to browse via remote, more and more customers are finding they want to cut through to the content they love. Fire TV offers the option to leverage Alexa voice capabilities to find exactly the show, movie or app you’re looking for – allowing more time for enjoying what your streaming device has to offer, and less time scrolling through apps and content that’s irrelevant. 

3. Value 

Whether you’ve already cut the cord or are thinking of doing so, one of the biggest reasons people switch to streaming is the value. Signing contracts with cable providers locks you into packages they have created—often times delivering content you may never watch, nor does it meet your interests. For the same cost of cable, or even less, you have the freedom to choose what services, apps, and content you want on your streaming device. “Value and flexibility are the core reasons we see customers switching to Fire TV Sticks or Fire TV smart TVs,” said Gupta. “We have multiple price points and a variety of streaming media devices and smart TVs options to meet budget needs and offer choice.”

4. Variety 

More and more, consumers are turning to streaming for more than just watching their favorite movies and shows. Whether you want to get in shape, to perfect your sourdough starter, or to simply save money, streaming content can help you find helpful programming to meet your interests.  Over the past year, cord cutting has accelerated. Streamers, like Amazon’s customers, have given rise in popularity to the following content categories:

  • Fitness: For people who can’t get to the gym, or simply don’t like that environment,
    they’ve realized that their TV can be a tool for fitness all from the comfort and convenience of their homes. “Many fitness apps doubled in popularity over the past year,” said Gupta. “There are plenty of workout apps that can help you stay fit at home through your Amazon Fire TV.” Best of all, most require little or no equipment to get started such as Peloton or Daily Burn.
  • Meditation and wellness: Not surprisingly, meditation and wellness apps have also grown popular as people seek control of their mental wellbeing and inner peace. Apps like Joyn, or Wanderlust TV rank highly among users.
  • Cooking with the pros: With more time spent indoors, home cooking may need a shot in the arm. There are great cooking apps including Food Network Kitchen, Simply Vegetarian, or YouTube that can guide you through the creation of a meal from scratch, help you learn different techniques, and more. And, in many cases are guided by professional chefs.
  • Free content: There are tons of great free streaming and content services out there, such as Tubi or Crackle. In fact, according to Amazon internal data, use of ad supported video apps is up 100% this year. With these services, you’ll never run out of content to enjoy and the best part is—they’re free.
  • Popular content: While niche categories are on the rise, streaming also offers you content it was originally created for--the movies and shows you love. From HBO Max to Disney Plus, not to mention all of the award-winning content available on Prime Video, you can still enjoy all your favorite shows and movies on apps specifically designed for streaming. Live programs are also available on streaming. In fact, according to Amazon internal data, live streaming saw as much as 75% increase in hours watched, and more people watching live sports through streaming helped make the Live Tab the second most-visited destination on Fire TV.

5. Beyond streaming

“Probably the most advantageous feature of streaming is the ability to connect with other Alexa-enabled devices.” said Gupta. “The combination of Alexa and Fire TV is making smart homes and connected cars even more sophisticated as voice is an incredibly natural way to interact with those environments.” In fact, streaming devices can be connected to other smart home devices to create a connected solution for security, communications, and controlling other devices around your home, such as thermostats, lighting and sound. It’s even possible to remotely control your vehicle from the comfort of your home. Just by asking Alexa, you can remotely lock or unlock their doors, start or stop the engine, adjust the cabin temperature, and more. 

Whether you’re looking to catch up on your favorite shows, use the TV in your living room to control the temperature or the lights, discover new interests, or anything else in between, streaming continues to evolve.  Gupta concluded, “It’s not just TV viewing anymore, it’s a connected and intelligent smart-home experience that spans everything from finding movies or TV shows to watch, watching live sports, connecting to social media accounts.” Streaming also offers less traditional “television” duties like taking a fitness or cooking class, dimming the lights, turning on the home security system, and checking what’s on your calendar for the next day. Gupta added, “Today, streaming offers so much more than traditional television and yet we’re just scratching the surface on what’s to come.”