The future of television is on-demand and not scheduled programming with the option to pay subscription fees to kill all advertising. This means no cable TV as we currently see it. All TV programming will be sent over IP networks. Over the air local TV stations will start offering TV streaming to smart TV's, and will retire their transmitters. The spectrum will be freed up for other uses.
Well, that last one won't happen until cellular Internet becomes ubiquitous (so broadband speeds are available everywhere). But I agree, Cable TV is on the way out. I just got a Roku this weekend. The thing that struck me most was how much clearer the image was. See, when you have Cable or Satellite TV, they have to transmit all the channels to you all the time regardless of whether or not you're watching it. That takes a huge amount of bandwidth, so they have to do a lot of compression on all the channels. With streamed content, only the channel you want is transmitted to you. There's still compression - Internet speeds aren't yet realistic for streaming Blu-ray quality (48 Mbps). But from what I've seen so far it's typically a lot less than with Cable or Satellite.
(Note: Get a Roku only if you just want this stuff to work with minimal fuss. It intersperses its own video ads, which gets annoying real fast if you're trying to watch a bunch of short clips. And get a 2015 model Roku 2, not a 3. I went from a 3 to a 2 and got to play with both of them. As far as I can tell, the base units are the same, the only difference is the remotes. The Roku 3 remote would even pair with the Roku 2 base. The Roku 3 remote has some useful features over the 2, but the fly in the ointment is the new voice search button. They put it right next to the OK/select button. If you're navigating and reach down to hit OK, and accidentally hit Search, you drop back to the Home screen and have to start your navigation all over again. That cost me more time than I saved by using voice search. Unfortunately the Roku 2 remote is IR-only, so you have to point it at the Roku. The Roku 3 remote is RF so doesn't need line of sight. I just ended up getting a Logitech Harmony hub + RF remote, since I needed to consolidate my control of the TV, Roku, A/V receiver, and cable box anyway.)
My take on Advertising: Advertising is a scourge which causes weak minded people to go into debt wasting money purchasing things they don't need. Think of it as the 20th/21st century Jedi Mind Trick.
Like most things in life, advertising has good and bad sides. Yes the slick feel-good ads are designed to unnecessarily part you from your money. But ads are also informational, telling you about new products and services that are available. This became apparent when I lived without a TV for a year. I was hanging out with my friends and we decided to go see a movie. They began discussing which movie they wanted to see, and I was completely lost because I had no idea what all these movie titles were. The movie ads they'd seen on TV had been enough to give them a sense of the theme and plot of the movie. They tried quickly summarizing each movie, but there were just too many and a verbal description is much harder to remember than a slick video. After a couple minutes of wasting time that way, I just told them to pick what they wanted and I'd watch it as well.
Point being that while excessive advertising is bad, no advertising is bad as well. There's a balance point where a certain amount of ads is enough to inform you, without becoming annoying or irrationally skewing your behavior.