Static: Streaming video went widescreen in 2013

George Lang: Streaming video started out its big year with the Feb. 1 arrival of Netflix' first original series, the David Fincher-produced “House of Cards.”
BY GEORGE LANG Published: December 23, 2013

The success of these streaming outlets pushed cable and broadcast networks into a new and unlikely position: HBO Go, PBS and Disney properties such as ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel and Disney Channel XD launched apps on streaming cubes like Apple TV and Roku, so that their recent programming could share on-screen menu space with Netflix and Hulu Plus. All of these were only available to those viewers with cable subscriptions so they mainly amounted to shortcuts rather than cord-cutting strategies, but their emergence said volumes about why the streamers succeeded in 2013: They made it easy.

Ease is what drives this revolution. In the late 1990s, DVD box sets made it possible for “Star Trek” devotees to own every episode without adding rooms to their houses.

Now, the original series and all the spinoffs are available for streaming with no storage needed — space truly is the final frontier.

Viewers increasingly want to watch shows on their own terms, when and where they want, and streaming makes that possible.

The inroads made by streaming video in 2013, the dramatic changes in viewership and availability in just 12 short months, mean that a similarly dramatic paradigm shift could happen in 2014 — this conversation might sound like centenarians reminiscing about Victrolas by late-2014.

But for now, it looks like the revolution will not be televised in the way Gil Scott-Heron predicted.

It will be streamed.

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