It's Not A Television, It's Just Another Screen

from the more-screen-less-keyboard dept

A popular theme at this year's Consumer Electronics Show is merging the internet with the television. As the WSJ reports, a number of companies have announced products that aim to bring net content into the living room: some LG televisions will be able to directly access Netflix's on-demand service. Intel and Yahoo want to put widgets in TVs, and so on. This isn't a new trend, but it's one that is definitely gathering pace. Just as computer screens are becoming popular places for television content, TV screens are quickly becoming destinations for internet content, thanks to the likes of Netflix and the Xbox, the Nintendo Wii, Apple TV and other products. That means that viewers are moving more and more towards an internet-like viewing experience, one in which they access the content of their choice when they want it, not according to the scheduling department of a TV network.

So will the further spread of internet content to people's living rooms hasten the demise of the TV channel? This is an idea that we've been kicking around for a few years now, that TV networks should unbundle their shows and move away from their schedule-focused format. In short, they need to stop thinking of themselves as broadcasters, and instead as content distributors, adapting their distribution networks to changing technologies and their viewers' changing demands. Certainly DVRs are already doing this, and some cable companies are taking the steps that TV networks won't by creating remote DVRs. But instead of embracing these developments and working to successfully monetize them, networks simply just try to shut them down. They must realize that television sets are nothing more than another screen for many types of content, not just on-ramps to network TV schedules. As it becomes easier for viewers to access internet content on their TVs, this lesson should become much clearer.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    shmengie, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 6:34am

    as long as america remains #15 in broadband speed and access, iptv will continue to be out of reach. obama's talked about this, and building up the broadband backbone is part of his economic recovery plan. let's hope it happens, as i want fiber to my door!

    ya know, i live in los angeles and can see downtown l.a. from my living room, yet can't get anything better than 1.5mbps from att. it's a disgrace!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Twinrova, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 6:35am

    I've wondered why it's taking them THIS long!

    The TV channel is dying but you can bet stations are going to throw a fuss to adapt (like every other damn industry). Moreso, I'll be you'll even begin to see switches enabled which will prevent downloads from working on "another screen" to prevent "piracy".

    I've become an "on demand" fan. No commercials, watch on my schedule, and many shows, it's a wonder more stations don't do this. In fact, some on demand programming has lead me to watch shows I wouldn't on "regular TV".

    But, while this technology merge is good news, I don't expect it will be smooth. Instead, I will expect to see expensive on demand fees, blockage of content that doesn't belong to the distributor, higher cable bills, and a plethora of other crap as often posted here on Techdirt.

    Kudos to the television makers for at least trying. Now it's up to the distributors to work for the consumer, not against them.

    Because there's no way in hell I'm paying $2 for every damn show I want to watch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:10am

    "networks should unbundle their shows and move away from their schedule-focused format"

    The problem with that, and the reason it's not done, is because the networks cannot simply bypass the local affiliate broadcasters.

    The biggest flaw with the switch to digital broadcasting is that the government should have pulled the analog spectrum and not replaced it with a digital spectrum. The local affiliates should have gone the way of the buggy whip manufacturers.

    85% of people watching TV use cable or satellite. Thus, NBC, CBS, Fox, etc could each have their own cable networks. And in addition, they could "broadcast" their shows online.

    Having local affiliates broadcasting programing made sense in the 50s through 80s. (Much in the same way that each city publishing its own newspaper was an efficient means of distributing news.)

    But nowadays local affiliates are nearly pointless. (With the exception of local news and local sports coverage.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:16am

    I whish a manufacturer would just integrate a mini-itx case into the back of a television and let other folks innovate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:36am

    Re:

    hell, if its an entire television, just throw in a full atx motherboard. no need to quibble over tiny spaces.

    though to be honest, any current television can probably hook up to a custom made box with a mini-itx in it anyway. no need to wait for the manufacturers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    astontechno, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:38am

    tv - internet link

    you can't stop progress
    look what the digital camera did to photography
    the real examination here is who has the power
    the networks will hold on with all ten digitsl
    but they can't make a person watch a show
    they can only make you pay for the service
    meanwhile our computers are our televisions
    and our tvs are noise makers for the dog when you're not at home
    you get a bigger bang for your buck with high speed internet
    meanwhile the network people in power will die out and the
    young will foster the internet as the new media of choice

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    astontechno, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:39am

    tv - internet link

    you can't stop progress
    look what the digital camera did to photography
    the real examination here is who has the power
    the networks will hold on with all ten digitsl
    but they can't make a person watch a show
    they can only make you pay for the service
    meanwhile our computers are our televisions
    and our tvs are noise makers for the dog when you're not at home
    you get a bigger bang for your buck with high speed internet
    meanwhile the network people in power will die out and the
    young will foster the internet as the new media of choice

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Tag Scott, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:49am

    Re: ITX case

    You can do that already. Use the VESA mount on the back. You can use your own hardware (probably cheaper that way) & use any number of home entertainment software (I prefer MythTV).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Parker, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:50am

    It doesn't matter if the big networks can't adapt - with so much great technology

    Look at something like http://www.clarkandmichael.com - the show with Michael Cera. While it is being supported by a network, it certainly doesn't need that network to survive.
    New technology makes it easy for creative people to make interesting content. The cost of distribution is essentially nothing, and the potential for an online audience is huge.

    Another great example of this is the purepwnage.com.

    Also - what is a mini itx or atx motherboard? I'm not really a technical person.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Joe, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 8:29am

    I set my TV to work with my computer and ditched cable

    I got rid of my cable service just before the new year. I really don't miss cable as there are only 3 - 4 shows i can't watch a few days later then they are broadcast, that I miss.

    My wife misses her Jon & Kate plus 8 and cooking channel, and doesn't really understand how to work the TV between free broadcast TV and the internet tv we run via hulu and youtube. She does understand how to run netflix through my xbox though so she is still busy catching up on shows we never watched before like 30 rock.

    I know that cable operators hate what i'm doing as they are losing around $80 a month they used to get from me, but i still pay for internet service and phone. I just can't rationalize paying $80 a month for TV when i can get what i need online for free.

    Now i just have to wait to see when and how severely they end up capping internet useage. I'm sure this will be their response to users like me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    The future is now, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 9:21am

    High bi-directional communication bandwidth is coming

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    james powell, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 9:43am

    Re:

    you are in L.A area and complain about only getting 1.5mps. I live in the rural south my option are expensive"unreliable" Hughes or dail up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    you already can, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 10:02am

    Re:

    "I wish a manufacturer would just integrate a mini-itx case into the back of a television and let other folks innovate."

    Just mod your miniITX case with holes that fit VESA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    snowburn14, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Re:

    "85% of people watching TV use cable or satellite. Thus, NBC, CBS, Fox, etc could each have their own cable networks. And in addition, they could "broadcast" their shows online."

    You make it sound like more people have broadband connections than use cable/satellite. It's not a "broadcast" when it's available to fewer people in the target audience. I know plenty of people who still rely on their antenna for tv, and not one has anything faster than dial-up.

    "Having local affiliates broadcasting programing made sense in the 50s through 80s. (Much in the same way that each city publishing its own newspaper was an efficient means of distributing news.)
    But nowadays local affiliates are nearly pointless. (With the exception of local news and local sports coverage.)"

    First... only until the 80s? Was that a typo? Who do you know that would have been able to watch streaming video in 1990? I was the only person I knew who had a computer then, much less internet (such as it was)...
    And for those of us who happen to like local coverage of...well, anything at all? I'd rather not have to subscribe to an online version of the NFL Package for each sport, and that's exactly what you would need to do if local affiliates went online instead of over the air. For that matter, if shows were no longer broadcast over the air, the networks would start charging MORE for the convenience of on demand programming. If they're no longer going to rely on a medium where everyone with a tv and an antenna has free access, they would then have the ability to allow access only to those who paid for it. Now, as anyone on here would likely point out, that will ultimately be bad for their bottom line. But it should be equally obvious that's never stopped these folks in the past. Most of them would absolutely make that mistake... and take years to figure it out. I'd rather not lose access to the free content in the meantime, inconvenient schedule or no.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    crapped out, Jan 11th, 2009 @ 3:10pm

    TV a big turn off

    Bit by bit TV turns me off more and more, so that I now watch less then 15 min per day, mostly on the news headlines. Two biggest TV things that turn me off are rock bottom sensationalized and shallow content, and the commercials. 99% of today's commercials are 5-second kung-foo video game with a 2-second Hollywood movie trailer ending complete with micro-second editing produced by geeks with zero artistic talent. In 1 hr of TV watching one is blasted with as much as 100 of these 5-10 sec commercials (I counted), turning the brain into ground meat if one is not careful. What a pile of sh** TV producers have created.

    Let TV die a good death. More and more the Internet experience is more fulfilling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This