The big game changer was technology of course. The internet made it possible for us to view whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. It was a bit clunky to do that with a desktop computer but those days are long gone. Tablets and lap tops make it comfortable and easy for everyone.
The other game changer was that American movies increasingly went for a younger and younger audience with more and more blockbuster escapist action films. One had to wait for the bad weather of November and December around here to see the fewer quality American films which would later compete for the film prizes. While American movies became more escapist, the niche cable channels became less and less escapist. They charted their course to the same kind of gritty drama which had made the cinema so important in the 1970s. Their programs were aimed at adults who were not necessarily within the demographic used by the movie studios.
Movie poster, below, shown in England and the rest of Europe, not USA.
One major American movie star after another started gracing the tv screen with a made for tv movie so that by 2013 the ultimate in crossover was achieved. At the Cannes Film Festival in France, Beyond the Candelabra starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon was shown with great fanfare. In the United States, it was shown on tv, HBO, because there was no market for it in American film theaters. So there is the unique situation of Douglas winning international film prizes and domestic tv prizes. He is not eligible for the Oscar since it showed on HBO here so no third Oscar will be joining his other two. The film's acclaimed director, Steven Soderberg, also announced then that he was leaving the film industry for the tv industry. At earlier times this would have been seen as a huge step down for him in every way imaginable. But not in 2013. He was not a has-been. He was at the prime of his career and in his opinion the golden age was going on in tv, not film. In short, our timing could not have been better to switch to the smaller screen and comforts of our home.