Why is it that so many big companies want to get into your living room these days? It seems like everybody has a new set-top box, streaming stick, or subscription video service that they’re peddling these days. And for many of these companies, the living room has previously been outside of their usual territory. So what gives? What do all of these companies have in common? For the most part, they are all innovators. Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, all of these companies have thrived by entering new markets and disrupting them with better options. Better options can often be remarkably simple, sometimes involving little more than giving consumers a product or feature that they’ve been asking for. And right now what consumers are asking for is an alternative to pricey cable TV. Consumers usually get what they want, because they’re willing to pay for it, and that means that those big companies can make money providing it. That old adage “the customer is always right” is in many ways a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ultimately, it is consumers who will determine the outcome of this war for the living room, and they’ve already made one decision clear: the winner will not be the cable company. Years of being anything but consumer-friendly could now come back to haunt the one time monopolies. The FCC received almost 4 million comments on the topic of Net Neutrality, most of which asked them to impose new regulations on broadband providers. The FCC is also evaluating a proposed merger between cable giants Comcast and Time Warner. That merger has also come under fire from critics. While cable executives have pointed out that Comcast and Time Warner do not currently compete in any market, their poor reputation with customers have many fearing the worst if they were allowed to combine. Both companies are well known for high prices and poor customer service.

In order to survive, cable companies not only need to offer competitive products and prices, they will need to become consumer advocates rather than the consumer headaches they have been recently. Competition from the internet means that few companies can simply dictate prices and terms to consumers who have no choice, as was long the case for cable companies. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has become a bit of a rock star among tech executives for his own candor, often speaking out about Net Neutrality, the cable companies, and other issues that people care about. Rabbit TV, another video service born online, prides itself on delivering value and savings to customers, charging just $10 a year for access to thousands of movies, TV shows, radio stations, games, music, live events, and more. The cable companies seem to be among the last ones to wise up to the fact that the saying “the customer is king” has never been more true than it is now.