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Netflix vs. Cable Television: A National Debate

By Joseph Iemma
Staff Writer

We live in a different world than we lived in 20 years ago.

We no longer have to check CNN to find out what’s going on in the world, we can just check our phone; we don’t even have to watch a baseball game on television anymore, you guessed it, we can check out our phone for that, too.

Anthony Chung, a senior English major, looking for a show to watch on Netflix during common hour. By Kristen Linsalata.
Anthony Chung, a senior English major, looking for a show to watch on Netflix during common hour. By Kristen Linsalata.

With that said, the further we advance into the digital age, the less dependent we are on cable television. The luxuries that television once offered us ca n now be harnessed in the palm of our hand. Television is facing a simple but horrifying question: is owning cable television even necessary anymore, and if not, is Netflix a factor in cable television’s demise?

It’s safe to say that we live in a microwave society. If we want to watch something, we watch it now, and that’s what makes Netflix so great. You and I no longer have to wait until every Tuesday to watch
our favorite show. We no longer have to sit through 17 minutes of commercials that we’ve seen a million times before. We can just come home after a long day at school, cuddle up in bed, and watch our favorite show. Heck, if we really want to, we can watch the whole season in about a day! Oh, and did I mention Netflix barely costs a thing?

Tanner Woodley, a senior Economics major, who now lives off campus with two of his friends, said he didn’t even bother buying cable. “If I want to watch my show, I can just Netflix it, no commercials, no hassle, no bills to pay,” Woodley said. “Why pay for hundreds of dollars for 1,974 channels when I only watch six for about five hours a week?”

By Kristen Linsalata
By Kristen Linsalata

Woodley said that owning Netflix isn’t the perfect alternative to owning cable television. For example, if you want to watch to football on Sunday, or a live television event, he has to go to his friend’s house back in Queens to watch the particular program. However, it’s a price Woodley is okay with paying.

Not all students feel the same as Woodley. Tamara Covati, a sophomore Education major, prefers television over Netflix largely because of the “live” factor.

“Call me an old lady, but I love just scrolling through the channels, watching live news, seeing what movies are on, I just like it,” Covati, who calls herself a “TV traditionalist,” Covati said. “Netflix is great, but limits you in terms of what you can watch.”

Covati brings up an excellent point. Yes, Netflix is great, but, if you want to watch a live event such as, one of the political debates, or a sporting event, Netflix is of no help to you. Instead, you need to use another medium, whether a streaming app on your computer, or a friend who has cable.

With all that said, if we’re looking at Netflix from the standpoint of living on a budget, and if you only watch television sparingly, then yes, Netflix is the app for you. However, if you’re into watching live programming such as sports, debates, the news, or if you simply enjoy having the luxury of scrolling through the channels, watching whatever grabs your interest, then television is the choice for you.

I think Netflix is a game changer. It enhances the “on demand” feature, and quite frankly, takes it to the next level. For example, I’m a huge fan of Ray Donovan, and if I’m bored on a day that I have no work with some time to spare, then I’ll, for sure, use Netflix.

There is no right opinion to be had in this debate, for it is relative to the desire of the individual, and what they want from an entertainment standpoint. If Netflix can obtain streaming rights for programming found on standard television for a more affordable cost, I have no doubt that Netflix can overtake traditional cable television as the primary medium in which we absorb media and entertainment.

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