Streaming doesn’t compare to watching TV live

Nick Sestanovich
Nick Sestanovich

TV or no TV? That is the question on the minds of many students as they move into a new place.

As streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu become more common, more students seem to opt out of bringing TV sets with them to college. It seems like a reasonable decision to make. In the olden days, TV viewers basically had to have a TV set, otherwise it would mean missing entire seasons of their favorite shows. Through the advent of the Internet, that’s no longer a concern. Only 46 percent of students watch TV on a TV set, according to a 2011 study by Ypulse, a youth-oriented research firm.

It’s probably because they have a wide variety of sites to watch the shows they want whenever they want. In addition to Netflix and Hulu, most channels will stream full episodes of their shows, and even YouTube will telecast live broadcasts of important things like presidential addresses.

Yet, even with all of this convenience, I can’t help but find TV streaming to be rather frustrating. It’s not bad for when I’m in college, but I still plan on owning a TV set afterwards. I could just be a traditionalist- after all, I do still buy CDs and read physical books rather than e-books- but I have too many issues with streaming.

First of all, it feels much better to sit on a couch and watch TV than it does to crouch over a laptop. Secondly, there’s only a limited amount of content I can watch for free. Hulu is good for shows from the major networks as well as a few select cable channels, but if I want to watch one of the latest buzz shows like “Game of Thrones” or ‘Sons of Anarchy,” I’d have to pay for a Netflix or HBO Go account, and I’m not doing great moneywise. I suppose I could torrent them, but given my luck with computer viruses, I’d rather not risk it.

However, my biggest issue with streaming comes down to one problem: it’s entirely dependent on your net connection, which inevitably is going to slow down or stop whenever you watch a TV show. I honestly can’t remember the last time my cable went out, but I’ve had countless instances when streaming has failed me. Usually, the player will stop and I’ll have to reload, or the picture messes up and I have to do the same thing.

YouTube, in particular, is terrible when it comes to live broadcasts. I never noticed it until watching the presidential debates last fall, but I don’t think I’ve ever managed to get through a YouTube telecast without the player stopping and constantly have to reload, and there’s no way to go back to see what I missed. Imagine if we had this technology during the Moon landing. Neil Armstrong would announce “That’s one small step for…,” and viewers would be screaming

“One small step for what?! What did he say?!”

I guess you could say I have a love/hate relationship with the concept of streaming TV shows. I’ve been able to keep up with shows I would have missed while away in college, but I think there’s some issues that need to be worked out. Until then, I’m going to be hanging on to my TV set after I graduate.

Nick Sestanovich can be reached at [email protected]