Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Web TV Not Ready for Primetime, but So What?

Last week Eugenia had a great post entitled Cord Cutting: A Matter of Laziness. In it, she refers to the above mini-documentary that removed the cable/satellite from several folks and replaced it with various internet TV set top boxes. These boxes basically act like a computer to send various content to your television, which acts as a monitor.

I love the idea of this, and it is the future. As a content provider, I would much rather have my audience comfortable in front of their TVs watching my stuff. It just makes more sense. No one really wants to watch long-form material on a computer screen. It's uncomfortable and goes against years of training.

As this documentary points out, however, this idea is still in its infancy, as the experience is so different (and unaccessible) that traditional viewing will be around for awhile. Everyone seems to like the idea of surfing and allowing content to be fed to them, rather than having to select it. It's a passive vs. an active mentality.

I think this will continue to change. Netflix's streaming success (and it's Roku box) is evidence of this. The inclusion of apps on new "smart" TVs (which look an awful lot like giant smartphones) seems to be the future. Nerds always accept technology before the masses (I had a DVR long before they were integrated into cable and satellite boxes) and these boxes are no different.

So how does this affect us? Not much really. YouTube is still the universal video player. You can play YouTube clips on every computer, smartphone and smartTV. There are more of these screens than theater screens. Create a YouTube channel and obey their content policy and you can upload content of any length. It's the ultimate distribution point.

It's only a matter of time when these boxes (like the DVRs of the past) will already be part of the hardware you bring home from the store. Plug them into your internet source and you'll have all kinds of content at your fingertips. It might be a bit early right now, but it soon won't be. There will still be a place for live TV, but the stuff we create will have just as much of a chance as anything else, as long as people know about it.


Christopher Sharpe said...

I haven't had cable (or even a television) in years. But I have a television again and got an Apple TV this weekend. I really love it. Netflix, YouTube + all the stuff in my iTunes library should keep me very busy for awhile.

The big disappointment at this point is no Hulu.

But this is definitely the way things are going. The technology is there but the distributors need to move faster to catch up with where things are going.

Unknown said...

Ive gotten rid of cable since moving into a nicer place that took more money. I decided to get a roku and I use that thing all the time. Googletv I felt was the future and would have over taken everyone if properly accessed. But it seems theyre limiting themselves the same. Content providers are finding that big budget big festival and all that junk just dont cut it for the guy with a camera and a dream. Its online that their clout is forming.


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