It doesn't seem like it was that long ago when one of my primary jobs was to turn the channel on the television.
Of course, this was 1976, long before cable or satellite television. The only stations to choose from were ABC, CBS and NBC. There were no remote controls -- at least not in my house. Instead of my dad getting up from his La-Z-Boy, either my brother or I would have to change the channel if he didn't like was what was being shown. And if the station didn't come in right, there was nothing we could do about the rabbit ears on the back of the 600-pound TV sitting in the front of the room.
Television fans have come a long way. Cable and satellite -- not to mention remote controls -- have made watching the tube much easier. Can we even call it watching the tube any more since there are no tubes inside those TV sets?
The next big step in how we watch our favorite programs is on the horizon. At last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it was World Wrestling Entertainment boss Vince McMahon who unveiled a plan that he hopes puts a headlock on cable and satellite providers.
The WWE next month will launch its own network. Instead of it being on any cable or satellite package, it will all be streamed through the Internet.
For just $9.99 per month, those who love the action inside the squared circle -- like this pencil-neck geek -- can watch the WWE Network. The network will have programmed shows on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Subscribers can also access hundreds of thousands of hours of historical programing from the WWE's library, which also includes old wrestling companies like World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling among many other old territories. And the monthy pay-per-view events which cost at least $50 apiece will be part of the package. It's a pro wrestling fan's dream package.
It's the first step toward a la carte networking. A longtime satellite TV subscriber, I have long wished I could axe about 80 percent of the channels. Why can't I just pay to watch what I want? If the WWE Network does well, this could be the first step toward only having to pay for what you want to watch.
Digital streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime and HBO Go allow viewers to watch shows and movies whenever they'd like for a nominal monthly fee. Subscribers can watch full seasons of their favorite shows whenever they want without commercials. This is how I was able to catch up on "Breaking Bad." When I finally had to watch the final season with commercials, I didn't know what to do with myself for those three-minute breaks.
Right now, Netflix is the king of the hill with more than 30 millions subscribers. The WWE Network hopes to have 3 million people by the end of its first year.
It may come to the point where you can pay less for streaming services and be able to watch everything you'd like for less than the price of a cable or satellite package. That is unless you're a sports fan. I can't see ESPN, Fox Sports or Comcast allowing live sports to be streamed anytime soon.
Unless, of course, the WWE's plan lays the smack down on the competition. Then others will surely follow suit.