Would an Emmy win for Netflix change the future of TV?

The 65th Emmy Awards air Sunday, Sept. 22, gathering together the great and the good of the small screen to celebrate the best in television over the last year.

From AMC’s “Breaking Bad” to HBO’s “Game of Thrones” to ABC's “Modern Family," all of the usual suspects will be in attendance, hoping to get their hands on one of the coveted trophies. But this year, there’s a fresh competitor for them to contend with.

That newcomer is Netflix, the Internet streaming service whose original content is up for 14 nominations. Among the series being recognized are the streaming service’s taut political thriller “House of Cards” with nine nominations (including Best Actor in a Drama for Kevin Spacey and Best Drama overall) and their reboot of cult comedy “Arrested Development” with three nods (including a Best Actor in a Comedy nomination for Jason Bateman). It’s the first time that shows that didn’t appear on cable or network channels have been nominated -- and even in the unlikely event that they fail to win a single award, the nominations themselves represent a changing tide in television.

For starters, this shows that the Emmys are finally reflecting peoples’ changing habits when it comes to consuming television. With PVRs, online streaming and YouTube, the way we watch TV has changed, something that will inevitably have an impact on what we watch, too.

That in itself legitimizes what Netflix is doing. While cable giant HBO had to wait almost a decade for its first series Emmy award ("Sex and the City" won in 2001), Netflix’s original programming has the potential to achieve the same feat less than 12 months after it started to produce its own original programming. Clearly they’re doing something right.

As well as impressing the investors and helping to sell a few more subscriptions, their Emmy recognition will also help to convince TV industry talent that this is not a fly-by-night operation. Netflix has already done a fine job of blazing a trail for an alternative to broadcast television, but its critical success this year should ensure that it’s able to encourage even more stars and showrunners to swap traditional TV for online outlets.

That should also encourage other providers such as Amazon and Hulu to stay the course and continue their own efforts to produce original content. That can only be good news for fans. As well as offering more choice, it also means more competition -- which means we the viewers get the benefit of watching shows of ever-increasing quality.

Should Netflix walk away with a win (or several wins) on Sunday night, you can expect most of Monday's headlines to focus on the video-streaming service. But even if they don’t win, it doesn’t really matter; the fact that they’ve been invited at all is proof enough that the industry is about to change.

What do you think of Netflix’s original series? Which shows do you think deserve recognition at this weekend’s Emmy awards? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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