Is the Netflix age truly perfect?

Gabby Seed

Every month or so, I find myself staring at my computer screen, anxious and overwhelmed by options.

After finishing another show on Netflix, I must bring myself to pick something new from the hundreds upon hundreds of choices at my fingertips. In an age where cable television is dying and Netflix passwords are shared in elaborate webs of friends and family, this feeling is familiar to most millennials.

For college students and recent graduates especially, Netflix and Hulu, two streaming services, are affordable and convenient options for entertainment. Recent Kent State graduate Adam Hanshaw is part of this demographic.

“This past year was the first year I didn’t have cable television. Instead, I relied on Hulu and Netflix,” he said.”I was able to watch television shows on my own time and get good entertainment.”

According to Time Magazine, the average Netflix subscriber streamed entertainment for one hour and 33 minutes per day in 2015.

This might seem pretty reasonable, but let’s look at an example. Kent State junior Kelly Gallagher fits into Time’s assessment almost perfectly.

“I love having the ability to binge-watch shows. I started watching “Grey’s Anatomy” (on Netflix) last January and finished it in mid-June. There are 12 seasons with approximately 25 episodes per season. Each episode is 45 minutes long.”

Gallagher watched around 300 episodes in a semester while juggling school, work, family, and extra-curricular activities.

Clearly, the age of internet television is upon us.

Sure, it gives us the benefits of ease, accessibility, affordability and the ability to binge-watch, but what’s the catch?

After experiencing a year without cable, Hanshaw noticed some gaping holes in the entertainment he was getting.

“You can’t watch background TV shows on Netflix,” he said. “Having Netflix and Hulu is great, but when you don’t have cable you miss out on live sports and special, televised events. You can watch your sports on apps, but you have to have cable or satellite subscriptions to run those apps.”

Gallagher agreed.

“(Television) is nice because you don’t have to think about what you’re putting on,” she said.

I myself am a lover of Netflix and enjoy boasting that I irresponsibly spend my hard-earned money on the most ‘premium’ subscription package. However, in some ways I have to agree with Hanshaw and Gallagher.

Internet television is imperfect, and it chips away at unofficial ‘traditions,’ like crowding around one television to watch Usain Bolt’s Olympic event, leaving a little background noise on for Fido and his separation anxiety, or complaining about the Stanley Steemer jingle.

I love Netflix, and I’m nowhere close to cancelling my premium subscription. But I’ll leave you with this – how will you know what number to call when you need your carpets cleaned if you don’t watch cable television?

Gabby Seed is a columnist, contact her at [email protected].