A year ago I published my list of predictions for 2018. You can get them here. How did I do? Let’s take a good, long (and slightly embarrassing) look.
I predicted that we would see less sports programming on traditional pay-TV in 2018. That didn’t turn out to be true, as pay-TV remains a haven for sports lovers. That love of sports hasn’t translated over to streaming, however.
While AT&T still hasn’t officially published a guide to what’s happening with standard-definition channels in 2019, more and more people have upgrade to HD and 4K so it just isn’t as much of a big deal. We’ve had two years to deal with this, so that’s plenty of time for people to make the choices they need.
What’s been most surprising in 2018 is that Pay TV hasn’t really changed. It’s settling in to be the choice for people who like things just the way they are thank you. DISH’s Hopper 3 and AT&T’s Genie 2 are more powerful than most people will ever need so there’s little need for innovation. Believe it or not there are still a few channels out there that still haven’t gone to HD, but the number is very very small.
There were no ATSC 3.0 broadcasts to speak of this year, and so there hasn’t been a need for an ATSC 3.0 converter box. I had hoped that equipment manufacturers would be a little faster in bringing these out but I think right now there’s just no confidence. We’re looking at 2020 now before we really see any movement toward truly widespread ATSC 3.0 so there’s still some time to develop the stuff you’ll need.
The good news here is that it’s been smooth sailing so far for broadcasters and that we haven’t seen a lot of issues relating to FCC-mandated channel moves. I didn’t think there would be.
Streaming continued to be huge in 2018 but I wonder if we will look at ’18 as the last year of relative sanity. There are so many new pay services being offered in ’19 that it will become very easy for people to spend over $100 if they want to get all the content they once enjoyed with traditional pay TV. This may mean some sort of backlash as people simply won’t want to pay AT&T and DISH and Disney and CBS and, and, and… It will have to stop at some point.
Cellular and internet
Well, we didn’t see the 5G revolution this past year. Despite some loud crowing by several carriers, we just aren’t seeing true 5G yet. A large portion of the 5G standard is still unratified but we did see a late push to get some sort of 5G technology up and running. Given the complexities of getting 5G into a phone, I still think that it makes more sense to start with fixed wireless, in-home type installations.
We didn’t see 5G in the past year but we did see the coming of FirstNet, AT&T’s network for first responders. The upgrades required for FirstNet meant that a lot of people got upgraded speeds on their existing phones.
Did 2018 live up to the hype and hope?
I think so. 2018 was more of a continuation year and that’s what I was expecting. I wasn’t expecting some sort of breakout technology and I didn’t get any either.
Now, onto my 2019 predictions, which will publish tomorrow and we can laugh at them next year.