Magoosh English Lesson: Streaming TV (Modern Television)

Welcome to the next lesson in this series of Magoosh’s free English classes

In this series, we will advance your English skills while learning about American Television

This lesson looks at the future of television! More people are cutting the cord and watching television on the internet instead of buying traditional cable subscriptions. We’re going to explore how this technology works and the companies who are pushing this growing market.

Don’t understand words like cord cutter, bandwidth, or digital tv signal? Review the previous lesson before you proceed!



  • Learn terms related to the world of television
  • Explore how streaming TV is becoming the standard for viewers
  • Learn the mechanics of what streaming TV possible
  • Review the rules of ending a sentence with a preposition… It’s fine!

Difficulty Level: Advanced

Time: Approximately 15 minutes


Streaming TV

In the early 2000s, TV technology advanced by leaps and bounds. Cable companies expanded their fiber optic and advanced cable network. This expansion allowed them to combine internet services with television packages. 

Next, video compression technology advanced to a level where digital signals could be carried over the internet. That combination of infrastructure and technological advancement proved to be the beginning of a revolutionary change in television.

With those innovations in place, in 2005, three employees of the online payment company PayPal started a video sharing site called YouTube. At the time, a central site to share and discover online videos didn’t exist. Videos were scattered all over the web, and it was sometimes difficult to find something you were looking for. Less than a year after launch, the company was purchased by Google, and by 2009, had over 1 billion viewers per day. 

In 2007, Netflix, then a DVD rental and sales company, switched its business focus and launched its movie streaming service. In 2008, Hulu, another movie and tv streaming site owned by NBC and Fox, launched. By 2010, most networks were offering streaming of their programming through one of these companies or through their own website or application. 

2010 also marked the launch of the Smart TV. These TV sets with integrated internet features proved the transition to internet based TV services was the future of television. By 2015, all TVs manufactured for the mid to high-end television set market were Smart TVs (a trend that is still true today).

As of 2020, there are more than 200 TV streaming services that offer a wide range of programming in High-Definition. Some are pay based, some let you view programming with advertisements, and others offer a combination of those two options. Also, internet-only programming has now been nominated for and won Emmy and Academy Awards giving internet-based networks clout in the entertainment world.

So, what does this mean for cable tv and older packaged subscription services? 

Though their expansion and tech advances led to this TV revolution, it seems that more and more people are cancelling their cable services, or cutting the cord. The rising cost of cable is seen as the main reason people switch to internet-only services. This way, viewers only pay for one or two TV streaming services along with their internet bill at a much cheaper rate than cable. 

With this trend, it looks as though the future of television will be on the internet!


Word Focus

  • By / In leaps and bounds – (idiom) – Rapid improvement or increase.

The company just started last year but we’re growing in leaps and bounds every month.

  • Video Compression Technology – (noun) – A method of reducing the amount of data a video uses when encoded. This makes it easier to transmit over the internet or network.

Networks use video compression technology to stream their programming over the internet.

  • Infrastructure – (noun) – Basic organizational structures and systems needed for a business or society to operate.

Every business needs a well established infrastructure if it hopes to succeed.

  • Application – (noun) – Software of a program designed for a specific purpose for an end-user.

We use applications like word processors, spreadsheets, and web browsers every day.

  • Smart TV – (noun) – A TV with internet functions integrated into the set. This allows a viewer to browse the internet, watch streaming television and listen to streaming music.

Smart TV sales are increasing every year as the technology and software evolves.

  • High-Definition – (noun) – Any screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.

Networks now broadcast their shows in high-definition.

  • Emmy Awards – (noun) – Hosted by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Emmy Awards honors excellence in Primetime Television programming.

The Emmy Awards are awarded to those in the television industry while the Academy Awards are awarded to those in the film industry.

  • Clout – (noun) – Power and/or influence in the world of business or politics.

I was worried about the contract, but my brother has clout with the mayor’s office.


Grammar Center

Read the sentence from the passage below:

Videos were scattered all over the web, and it was sometimes difficult to find something you were looking for.

Did that writer just end a sentence with a preposition!? Shocking!

Well…not really…

Many who adhere to (follow the practice of) traditional grammar rules will tell you to never end a sentence with a preposition. However, as the cable companies have learned, things evolve. Let’s revisit the rules on ending a sentence with a preposition.


When to avoid

  • When writing formally

Always avoid ending a sentence with a preposition when writing something formal. It sounds odd to the reader and is sometimes viewed as inappropriate. Again, it may be grammatically correct, but it has no place in formal writing. Just don’t do it.


  • When the preposition requires an object

You wouldn’t say:

The girl ran and hid behind.

The girl ran and hid behind what? That sentence requires an object to make sense and cannot end with a preposition. 


When it’s OK

  • With informal writing and conversation

We mainly speak and write informally in society, and unless you want to sound like you’re 200 years old, phrases and sentences will certainly end in a preposition sometimes. 

For example, no one says: From where did you come? They say: Where did you come from?


There are thousands of phrasal verbs in English with many different meanings. In order for the phrase to make sense, both the verb and preposition must remain together.

For example: 

Give up – phrase meaning to quit.

She will never give up.

Ending sentences with prepositions isn’t incorrect, and you will certainly find yourself doing this practice in your common speech and writing. We just went over the basics in this review, but for more information on the topic, be sure to visit our blog on ending a sentence with a preposition.



1. Based on the passage, which word would describe the writer’s opinion of cable television?

A. Novel
B. Evolving
C. Revolutionary
D. Outdated


2. Which sentence best summarizes the central idea of the passage?

A. TV streaming is the future of television.
B. Netflix was the first service to offer movie streaming.
C. Cable companies are losing many subscribers.
D. Internet programming is an award winning industry.


3. Which word would be the best synonym for the vocabulary word infrastructure?

A. Authority
B. Key
C. Framework
D. Footing


4. Which sentence is the correct use of the word clout?

A. She really showed clout when she tripped on the rug.
B. I knew she had clout when they let her in without a ticket.
C. I ran into the wall with clout.
D. He showed clout when he yelled at his poor old grandmother.


5. The phrase rising cost of cable from the passage is an example of a:

A. Infinitive Phrase
B. Prepositional Phrase
C. Adjective Phrase
D. Gerund Phrase


6. It’s okay to end a sentence with a preposition when writing:

A. Informally
B. Formally



  1. D
  2. A
  3. C
  4. B
  5. D
  6. A
Jake Pool

Jake Pool

Jake Pool worked in the restaurant industry for over a decade and left to pursue his career as a writer and ESL teacher. In his time at Magoosh, he's worked with hundreds of students and has created content that's informed—and hopefully inspired!—ESL students all across the globe. Jake records audio for his articles to help students with pronunciation and comprehension as he also works as a voice-over artist who has been featured in commercials and on audiobooks. You can read his posts on the Magoosh blog and see his other work on his portfolio page at You can follow him on LinkedIn!
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