The ideal solution is video on demand. Turn the set on and select the program that either you download from the cloud or you're recorded locally. This was the vision that early proponents of the Internet promoted. Implementing this solution is the sausage making exercise that content providers--NBC, TBS, Sony..., access providers Comcast, Verizon, DirecTV..., and content aggregators, Netflix, Hulu... are going through now. They're each tying to determine what business model will allow them to get an unfair share of the money subscribers currently pay to view programming. At the same time, subscribers fed up with being forced to pay for content they never use are trying to play one giant against another in an attempt to pay less.
As for sports, OK I do watch some, but just local teams. Most of the time, I just listen on the raido while doing something else--usually working. You can;t even get MLB audio online without paying, but you can get all video of all games online if you pay. So if you're a huge baseball fan, who needs cable?
I discovered that during the NHL playoffs, you can get straming audio for free. I used the Tune In radio app on my phone to listen to games. But now the Bruins are finished and that ended that.
I keep up with MLB scores using the Yahoo sports app. You get pitch-by-ptch info and if there's someting worh seeing, you cna see a replay.
We have Comcast cable here and pay $90 a month for what's calle d"expanded basic." My wife and daughter watch several shows and we often record then to watch later. For recording network shows, we don't use cable at all but use an antenna. Why? because the antenna goes to a DVD recorder with a tuner and we can program it for the whole week and ti will change channels. Once you connect a cable box you have to change the channel manually between recordings. For recording cable-only shows, we use a cable box and VHS tape.
On top of all that, we subscribe to both Netflix and Hulu for old shows. You need both because shows are never all on one service. It's a conspiracy to get you to subscribe to both.
This is the problem that Pay TV guys face. They're seeing a dwindling interest in network programming and a slow exodus to over the top viewing. They're last great hope is sport programming that continues to be a blessing and a curse. See the story in the NYTimes "Rising TV Fees Mean All Viewers Pay to Keep Sports Fans Happy" http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/business/media/all-viewers-pay-to-keep-tv-sports-fans-happy.html?_r=0
If the 18 to 34 year olds are watching most of their TV on tablets, then it seems to me that they have already understood how to watch TV without using a 3-digit channel number. If the TV screen in your home is to become a generic display for anything, which I can also agree to, then it seems to me that again, whatever appears on that screen will not be assumed to be the result of dialing a 3-digit number.
The 18 to 34 year olds are showing an increased tendency to be "cable nevers." Not the majority yet, perhaps, but a substantial percentage. So I don't see how we can have preconceived notions that they will associate a TV program strictly with a 3-digit channel number.
Things change. TV distribution historically used to be confined to a dedicated medium, using either 2-digit numbers for over the air channels, or 3-digit numbers for cable or satellite channels. We're beyond that now. When you put TV on the web, as opposed to an isolated TV-only medium, you will naturally have to use web browsing tools, as those who use tablets must have figured out.
Any resistance to this change, seems to me, can't be anything but transitional.
Connecting a PC to the TV is merely the easiest way to make the TV do what it should be expected to do, in the Internet TV era, until the CE vendors figure out how to build this into their "smart TVs." As of today, these smart TVs and other Internet TV boxes are incomprehensibly limited, considering how adept many have become to browsing the web on any device.
I agree. The PC and TV serve two different functions. I suspect that the TV will morph into the home viewing screen that will simply display whatever the viewer wants regardless of who supplies the content. The trick for the hardware and software guys is how to make displaying that content as easy as "channel surfing" with a remote is today.
Using a PC as a set-top box is a non-starter for the vast majority of consumers. OTT boxes like Roku & Apple TV and "smart" TV apps for the most popular OTT services fare slightly better, but still don't quite measure up for the preferred TV viewing interface of the masses.
To the comment on changing patterns in TV viewing, I point you to the following web page http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/television/are-young-people-watching-less-tv-24817/
It confirms the opinion that TV viewing is largely an older generation passtime. However, the data on viewing habis of 18-24 year olds still shows them as TV viewers though the amount of time has been declining in recent quarters, it appears to have stabilized.