Gone are the days when you were limited to just three television channels. In fact, you are no longer limited to just cable TV or satellite TV. With a plethora of online options and apps, it’s now become possible to view your favorite movies and television programming on demand. Among the options soon to be available is Vidgo.
A TV app, Vidgo has the potential to become the ultimate way to view your favorite programming. The app has not yet been released, but the potential for this app is already creating a tremendous amount of buzz in the entertainment industry.
So, what exactly is Vidgo and how does it differ from other options currently available on the market? According to the service itself, the product is a MVPD, or multichannel video programming distributor. What this means for consumers is the potential for enjoying all of the positives of cable television without all of the annoying negatives that have haunted the industry for so many years.
Cable television has a long and not always positive history. Originally launched in the 1960s, cable television became popular with the easing of the FCC restrictions in the 1970s. At the time, cable began reaching areas where regular coverage from broadcasters was not available. As the cable TV industry grew in size; however, consumer complaints expanded.
The soon-to-be release of Vidgo was first announced at CES 2016; however, since then very few details have been released about the service. Even so, prospective consumers have continued to buzz about the service’s potential selling points, among which is rumored to be an automatic cloud DVR that would allow you to record everything and ensure you never miss a show. Additionally, the service is expected to offer high-definition streaming of live local broadcasts as well as national content. Sports on streaming devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Android, Apple TV, desktop, and iOS is expected to be available.
According to a release from Vidgo itself, consumers will be able to build their own programming packages.
Live linear local channels, including ABC, FOX, CBS, PBS, and NBC is to be available in select markets, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Miami, and Chicago. National content providers are expected to include Discovery and Disney-ABC. Available sports content may include ESPN and the NFL Network.
Of course, video on demand is always a huge bonus for such services, and Vidgo has stated it will offer this service, including first-run movie titles.
Vidgo will also offer a favorites menu bar that will allow users to quickly access their most-watched channels. Access to full programming lineup will be available on-the-go as well as at home using Wifi or a 4G connection.
One of the biggest questions about Vidgo is when it will actually become available. Initially, the service announced it would be launching a live streaming solution, including local channels, in 15 markets around the U.S. at some point during the first half of 2016. National coverage was to follow during the last quarter of 2016. Following that announcement; however, there was a period of silence. The initial release date has already come and gone; however, subsequent news announcements during the summer indicate that the forces behind Vidgo could be perfecting the service to ensure it is in completely ready to roll out when it is finally released.
Vidgo will actually be the sixth such live TV streaming service to be released nationwide over the last two years.
A variety of consumers is expected to find Vidgo attractive. Admittedly, the market potential is massive. In the last few years, a number of different consumer categories have developed with the emergence of the streaming market. Among them are what are known as cord-nevers, those individuals who have never actually subscribed to either cable or satellite TV service. This could include young adults who are going away to college and moving out on their own for the first time. Rather than using a traditional TV in their dorm or apartment, such consumers often conduct most of their viewing on screen alternatives, including smartphones and tablets.
Other potential subscribers for Vidgo include the category known as cord cutters, that group which once paid for cable or satellite TV service, but who have since sought alternative viewing options due to dissatisfaction with the satellite and cable industries.
Yet another market group includes cord shavers, those consumers who are not quite yet ready to do completely away with their cable or satellite TV service, but who are testing the waters and looking for alternatives to slash their bills.
Could a service like Vidgo be used as a substitute or replacement for Netlfix? In the last few years, Netflix has grown increasingly popular. Vidgo certainly does seem capable of providing an array of benefits, including DVR capabilities as well as an excellent video-on-demand menu. Even so, it’s not likely that this service will completely replace Netflix. One reason for this is the fact that Netflix has become extremely well established in recent years. The creator of several popular shows that have gone on to win awards, Netflix has simply become too ingrained in most streaming households for it to be set aside. But, that does not mean that Vidgo cannot co-exist quite peacefully with Netflix.
Amazon Prime basically serves as a store for programming, but it’s a massive store with tens of thousands of TV shows and movies available to be purchased digitally. In the past, Prime was only available if you wanted to shell out nearly $100 a year. In an effort to be more competitive, however, Amazon has recently announced it would be making Prime Video available via a monthly subscription service, similar to Netflix and Hulu Plus. By unbundling the video service, Amazon is poised to become a more serious competitor in the streaming industry.
Another competitor of Vidgo once it is released is Hulu Plus. This paid TV streaming subscription service allows you to access a tremendous amount of content across multiple devices. Along with the current season popular shows, Hulu Plus also offers movies. You can also watch in High Definition. If there’s a downside to Hulu Plus, it is the presence of commercials. This is one of the big drawbacks to satellite and cable TV viewing and it’s one of the reasons that many people make the switch to streaming, so in order to be competitive, Vidgo would need to eliminate the advertisements.
The rise and popularity of streaming services such as Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Amazon Prime have certainly introduced some welcome competition into the market. Once Vidgo becomes available, the industry will experience even more competition, giving consumers the alternatives they have sought for years. In just the last few years, traditional cable companies have witnessed overall subscribership decline. At the same time, streaming continues expansion. For consumers, this means more options and potentially more affordable service. No longer are consumers restricted to a one-size-fits-all cable package accompanied by a massive bill. Viewing consumers are now able to select from an online service menu that continues to expand at a rapid clip. The reality is that viewers are now able to watch whatever they want, whenever they wish, and on whatever device they desire. Vidgo’s entry into the market will only serve to solidify the effect of streaming on the entertainment industry.
Among the key benefits offered by streaming services, like Vidgo, is increased flexibility. Streaming services, unlike most cable companies, provide consumers with the ability to sign up and then cancel this service without any hefty termination fees. This has been a major complaint of satellite and cable TV service for years. Whether Vidgo will offer this option remains to be seen, but it is expected to do so, as competitors like Hulu Plus and Netflix allow the same option. Basically, you can give it a try and if you don’t like it, just cancel.
Viewers can also take advantage of a completely different viewing experience. Subscribe to your favorite shows and you will be notified when new episodes of that show are available. A customized favorites bar makes it easy to access all of your favorite programming.
If there is a downside to such streaming services, it is the fact that you can’t stream if you do not have Internet or power. This means that if you live in an area where good broadband service is not available or you experience frequent power outages or stormy weather, a streaming service might not be your best option.
Even so, an ever-increasing number of people are now making the move away from traditional TV and transitioning to online streaming. No longer is traditional TV the go-to source for favored programming. Since everything is scheduled with traditional TV, you have little choice but to watch those shows within a certain time frame. Of course, you could always DVR it, but traditional TV remains extremely limiting. By comparison, online streaming offers a completely unlimited timeframe in which to view programming. Furthermore, you can watch without annoying advertisements.
Your geographic location can also play a significant role in what you are able to watch with traditional TV. For instance, if you are located in Britain or Australia, you will not receive the same shows as the U.S. Even when a show does eventually air, it is usually nearly a season after it has already aired in the U.S. Avid fans of a show simply do not want to be forced to wait for new shows that are already airing in other countries. This is yet one more reason why streaming has become a favored solution and why Vidgo has an excellent opportunity to become a top contender in the streaming market.
The mode of release also differs with streaming. Instead of waiting weekly for new episodes of a show to be released, viewers can now watch every episode on the day that a show is released. This makes it possible for viewers to take advantage of the popular binge-watching trend while watching back-to-back episodes. At the same time, program producers do not have to be concerned about the ratings of shows or even future seasons, to a certain degree.
Provide an affordable option-To date the subscription price for the service has not been announced, although there have been hints of a possible a-la-carte service option. To be competitive, the service would need to be affordable in going head-to-head with other already available services, including Amazon Prime’s monthly service, Netflix, and Hulu Plus, which are also currently available for about $10 or less per month.
Offer DVR capabilities-According to recent news releases, Vidgo does plan to make this available.
Multiple simultaneous device viewing-Viewers today demand flexibility and options without the need to pay an additional cost. The number of people who watch programming on a traditional TV is waning, with more viewers preferring the flexibility to have access to their favorite content on multiple devices.
Sports channel availability-For the streaming market, sports content is a must-have. In order to penetrate the streaming market, Vidgo will need to offer a robust sports menu. Press releases from the service indicate this is already in the works.
Availability of local channels-While the number of people who watch the local news is also on the decline, the availability of such content is still considered an advantage for any streaming service, so to be competitive, Vidgo will need to stick to its plans to offer local channels in select markets and then quickly expand that availability once the service is actually released.
High-definition streaming-Given that other services are already offering high-def streaming, this type of content will need to be made available whenever possible to help attract the attention of consumers.