Thanks to shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead, we are finally at the point our elders foretold where we actually want to watch television more than movies. The future of TV looks pretty great ... if you ignore every other trend coming with it. If we truly are living in the Golden Age of television, brace yourself to enter the ... uh, whatever the opposite of Golden Age is. Turd Era?
#4. We're About to Lose Network Neutrality, Which Ruins Competition (Especially for Streamers)
Hey, remember how Netflix's streaming service came out of practically nowhere and dominated the market simply because it was better? Guess what: That can never happen again. If the new Internet laws that are about to come into effect had existed a few years ago, Netflix's idea would have failed faster than you can spell "FCC."
"Yeah, you know me."
Why's that? Because of a little thing called network neutrality. For as long as the Internet has been a thing, the speed at which your ISP connects you to websites has been relatively equal for all corners of the Web, whether you're on some dodgy Russian site looking up porn or a big respectable site like Google, also looking up porn. Some of you are saying, "Bullshit! I tried to watch my buddy's self-hosted My Little Pony fan film and it took forever to load!" Yes, but that's a problem (one of many) on your buddy's end -- it's not like the company you pay to handle your Internetting can intentionally make some sites run slower than others.
At least not yet. We're saying that because the government is actively working to kill network neutrality and make the Internet a crappier place for you. And yes, that affects streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
"Well, well, look who came crawling back."
In April, leaked documents from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission revealed that the government has been fervently planning to shit all over network neutrality, then flush it down the toilet for good. When that happens (and yes, it's a god damn when), ISPs will be able to charge websites and services extra to keep broadcasting at a non-infuriatingly slow rate. Or, even worse and more inevitably, big streaming companies -- you know, the companies that most rely on whether they can stream faster than the clock ticks by -- will have the ability to pay ISPs to make themselves faster than every other streaming company that pops up, making it impossible for any new startup to break the surface. And since you can't overthrow a king who's sitting so high up that his crown is sticking up Uranus, Netflix and YouTube are going to become the new Egyptian dynasties.
The upside is that there are already other alternatives popping up, such as watching high-quality shows directly on your console. Well, about that ...
#3. If You Want to Watch All the Shows for Gamers, You Have to Buy Every Single Console
One of the most hyped new features of the latest generation of consoles is the introduction of specially made "entertainment experiences," which is a fancy way of saying "TV shows approved by the same people who put out the games you love."
Microsoft Studios, Activision, Electronic Arts
"Get ready for a whole bunch of shows about shooting!"
Well, with these next-gen consoles out and plaguing more and more living rooms by the day, both Sony and Microsoft have already started on their promises -- Sony's first series, Powers, is an adaptation of the Marvel-published comic book of the same name and is produced by the people behind shows like Breaking Bad and Community. Microsoft, on the other hand, in its never-ending quest to try to one-up Sony at everything, recently released a slate of 12 freaking series, including a Halo TV show developed by Steven Spielberg and a Halo movie produced by Ridley Scott. Think about that for a second. This is how much we've progressed as a species: Having not one but two top directors involved in a video game franchise would have been unthinkable back in the days of the Super Mario Bros. movie.
"Hey, dude, how's that Ron Jeremy documentary? Dude?"
Even if you're not an active gamer, this still sounds like a pretty sweet lineup of new entertainment, right? There's just one problem: Tuning into this shit isn't gonna be as simple as changing the channel. As Xbox One's official website happily reminds us, their new movies and shows are available solely on Microsoft devices. Likewise, you can bet that Sony won't be letting everyone watch their TV shows, and if you're even thinking about pirating this stuff, good luck slapping those two monitors on your face to watch the Oculus Rift shows.
All of this is understandable, of course: These shows aren't being made for fun, they're meant to sell consoles. However, the idea of a dystopian future where every television brand lets you watch different shows just got a little more feasible. So if you're still arguing over whether the PS4 gives out better blow jobs than the Xbox One (or whatever people on message boards fight about), just give it up. You're gonna end up buying every console eventually anyway.