Pay TV takes its first net subscriber hit, with Dish Network leading the pack

cable tv
For the first time ever, the US pay-TV business sector dropped a net number of subscribers in the first three months of a year, during Q1 of 2015.

Cord cutters are finally getting the kind of traction they have been looking for since online video became available. The pay-TV business is shrinking at a 0.5 percent annual rate, with a net loss of 31,000 customers in Q1, according to MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett. That means more people than ever are finding their TV and other entertainment on streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube and others. “Cord-cutting has finally accelerated,” Moffett wrote in a research note Monday. “It’s not too early to get worried.”

This decline comes after more than one million households decided to cancel their cable or satellite service, as well as new households that didn’t bother signing up at all. The first quarter of the fiscal year is usually a strong one for pay-TV operators, but occupied net household adds were down 407,000, according to the US Census Bureau.

Dish Network was hit the hardest, dropping 134,000 satellite-TV subs. The company blamed the blackout of Fox News ChannelDish blacks out channels again; this time it’s Fox, which it allowed back in January after an initial uproar. Dish CEO Charlie Egen said on a call with analysts that pay-TV peaked years ago, “…but it’s not declining as fast as I thought it would.” Dish launched its Web TV service Sling TV in February, aimed directly at cord cutters, but the company didn’t say how many customers signed up for the package.

Comcast shed 8,000 video subscribers, while Time Warner actually gained a net of 33,000. DirectTV, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse all added subscriptions as well, so it’s not likely that the fall of pay-TV is happening any time soon.

However, the trend may be a forecast of things to come in an industry that is evolving at a rapid pace. With new choices popping up from a multitude of sources, the transition to online video has, for now at least, seemed to put consumers in the drivers seat.

Home Theater

MGM joins the streaming mega-race with launch of Epix Now service

In a widely anticipated move, MGM has launched Epix Now, a streaming platform that combines all four of its live TV channels, and a huge catalog of thousands of on-demand movies and TV shows.
Home Theater

Everything to know about Sling TV: Channels, pricing, and more

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

What is YouTube TV? Here’s everything you need to know the streaming service

YouTube TV is becoming an increasingly major competitor to other streaming services. Not sure if the service might be right for you? Don’t worry, we’ve got a guide detailing everything you could want to know about the service.
Outdoors

These wireless earbuds use an A.I. to get you moving faster

The new Soul Blade wireless earbuds provide the ability to track your heart rate during a workout while an A.I.-powered coach gives advice and info on how to improve form and efficiency while exercising.
Deals

Walmart drops prices on Samsung 4K TVs during Presidents’ Day sale

With 8K TVs on the horizon, the cost of owning a 4K Ultra HD television has dropped pretty significantly in recent years, and this Walmart Presidents' Day sale is offering some great prices.
Product Review

Focal’s ultra-clear Sphear Wireless bring sexy back to banded Bluetooth buds

Focal’s Sphear Wireless are a sleek and simple pair of banded Bluetooth earbuds with exceptional sound and an affordable price, making them some of the only non-true wireless earbuds we’d consider buying right now.
Home Theater

Apple will reportedly launch its new video-streaming service at March 25 event

The rumors about what Apple will announce at a March 25 event continue to swirl. A new report suggests that it will debut its much-anticipated video-streaming service, which will compete with Netflix and Amazon's Prime Video.
Home Theater

Bose’s technology patents could save an earbud’s battery life

Possibly taking a cue from Apple's popular AirPods, Bose filed a patent application for earbud IR technology that could save battery life, improve sound quality, and possibly help people locate lost earbuds.
Home Theater

ATSC 3.0: The next-gen TV update explained

ATSC 3.0 is the next major update to the broadcast standard we use today. Will this be the second coming of free, over-the-air TV? We're here to explain everything about the new standard.
Home Theater

Samsung accidentally leaks its new Galaxy Buds ahead of launch

It's been all but certain that Samsung would launch a successor to its Gear IconX wireless earbuds soon, but a newly leaked photo and recent FCC certification document seems to indicate that the debut is very close.
Home Theater

Hi-res streaming audio service Qobuz arrives in U.S., threatens Tidal’s monopoly

For several years, Tidal enjoyed a monopoly on hi-res music streaming in the U.S. Now, French company Qobuz is here to offer some competition with a variety of monthly plans starting at $10 a month.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.