I hate the fact that I have to subscribe to cable. I'm on the lowest possible plan, and even with that I only watch a few channels. Between iTunes, Netflix, and Hulu, most of my shows are covered. There are only a few reasons that I stuck with cable - live news and live sports.
ESPN took a big step to solving the latter issue by releasing a streaming app. I can stream live ESPN to my iPad, which augments the NBA league pass subscription that I can also watch on my iPad. Oh wait, the ESPN app only works with certain cable providers, and Comcast is not included.
Damn these companies! Why don't they want my money? I'd gladly pay extra to be able to stream the channels I want to my tablet and phone. I'm pretty sure companies like ESPN are all for this, if it wasn't for the contracts that have them tied up with the cable providers. I'd love to see one of the agreements in plain English. I'm sure it boils down to: "We own you. Don't try anything funny".
Within 5 years, they kind of a la carte streaming will be available. The question is, who will win the race? The old media cable providers with their resistance to change? Or will a new player swoop in and deliver what the people want? Time will tell, but I bet the only way that old media will be swayed is if they are brought into this new world kicking and screaming. Kind of like the music industry, who argued for years against online music and mp3s in particular.
They'll learn sooner or later.