Predictions for 2020

It’s the start of the ’20s. Now, this probably won’t mean Prohibition, jazz, and flapper dresses this time around. It’s the 2020s, which mean that in some way, the 21st century will round toward being one quarter done. That just makes no sense for me but well, here we are.

Here are some predictions for 2020. You can look back on Decembers past to see my past predictions and how well I did, and keep your eyes peeled for a blog post on our front page talking about how well my guesses from last year hold up.

Pretty much everyone will have a pun about “20/20 vision” or that Barbara Walters show

Yes, prepare to spend at least the first month of the year hearing pun after pun about vision and about that newsmagazine on ABC. I hope this trend flames out fast but don’t count on it.

One major streaming service will come close to failing, but won’t.

I’m thinking AppleTV+ won’t really stay on people’s radar very long. Even for the paltry sum of $4.99 a month, general consensus is that the service is not worth the money. It won’t fold because Apple has a kajillion dollars to throw at it but it certainly won’t make a big splash in 2020. No, that splash will belong to…

HBO Max is going to totally slay it this year.

The launch of Disney+ will be quickly forgotten as HBO Max roars into town with its palette of favorites, new programs, and of course, Friends. Yes, HBO Max is different from Disney+. It will launch with a lot more content and at a higher price point (if you’re not an existing AT&T subscriber.) But it will have a huge impact and it will be all anyone talks about when it does hit.

4K over the air still isn’t gonna happen.

Yes, I expect we’ll see more tests and some prototype hardware at a reasonable price. But don’t expect all your local affiliates to go 4K instantly. In fact I don’t even expect the televisions at CES to have 4K tuners yet. Maybe in ’21 or ’22.

DIRECTV Commercial is going to really shine.

After a few years of “if it ain’t broke,” I expect AT&T’s focus to move to commercial customers. They’re less fickle, less likely to ask for discounts, and they are generally more profitable. The company lost some subs in 2019 and I don’t know if they’ll quite turn that around but I think a renewed focus on commercial customers will keep average revenue per user (ARPU) up and keep things profitable.

Cheap TVs take a pause

This is a a bit of a controversial stance but I think we’re about as low as we can get with televisions right now. Black Friday sellers were putting 4K televisions out there for under $300 for 55″ TVs. I just don’t think it’s going to be possible to get much lower at the moment. If I had to guess this will be a year where manufacturers try to focus more on features like always-on USB ports and smart home integration instead of continuing the race to the bottom.

The 5G monster roars— quickly

I expect that all the major carriers will have nationwide 600MHz 5G in 2020. Apple might oblige with a 5G iPhone, but whether or not they do expect everyone else to jump into 5G with both feet. If you’re reading this article on December 31, 2020, you’ll probably be able to load it at speeds over 200Mbps on your phone. Wow. Just seriously, wow.

Finally, a little peace.

In 2020, the last of DIRECTV’s standard definition channels will go offline (most of them, anyway.) With a strong, vital satellite fleet, DIRECTV will move forward with easier installations. There’s no need for a Slimline-5 or International Dish this year… the Slimline 3 with Reverse Band is all you need.

At the same time, the FCC repack finishes up in ’20 and that will mean that we can stop obsessively rescanning for channels every few weeks. At least until NEXTGEN TV comes, of course.

Come back next year…

2020 will actually be year 14 for The Solid Signal Blog and year 9 for my stewardship of it. Our whole team will be working hard to give you the best content and of course we are incredibly grateful that you’ve taken a few minutes to read. Be sure to visit us at the end of December ’20 to see if my predictions came true!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.