Fundamentally it’s the wrong question.


Streaming Online Content to TV Has Some Worried


New products from Sony, Microsoft, and Slingbox that allow consumers to stream content from their PCs – such as YouTube videos – onto their televisions were among the myriad devices shown off at CES this year. And they might yet challenge traditional media distribution channels and strategies, such as cable TV’s video on demand services, writes Reuters.

However, consumers are currently unwilling to pay more for a device that lets them view PC content on TV screens, according to a poll of 5,000 U.S. homes by Forrester Research. Moreover, the bandwidth constraints of current broadband services essentially rule out downloading or streaming of high-definition programs.

And cable operators still stand to profit as a result of increased demand for bandwidth and new broadband connections. satellite operator.

Moreover, DirecTV, a rival to cable, is already in talks with YouTube and MySpace to let viewers watch content directly on TV – without needing to use the new devices.

It’s not a question about WHO or HOW content gets delivered, it’s all about being entertained versus being bored. 
It’s the networks that have created the universally understood whine “There’s nothing on TV!”  All directTV did was change the wording to “There are 1000 channels and there still isn’t anything on TV!”  This tells me that these two entities are not meeting the needs or their consumers and are going to be knocked out of the market the second something changes unless they are very, very smart or very, very lucky.
Right now there are only a few people that would pay extra for the content that’s available on the Internet.  Not because they want it coming from one the current TV services, but because the quality content stinks.  And I seriously doubt that even 2% of the videos on MySpace will ever be compelling.  And I believe the jury is still out on YouTube’s being the “go to” place in the future.  (But that’s another post.)
Generation Content (and the geeks that mostly stay on the edge) don’t give a damn about the issues raised in the above article .  They care about being entertained and they have all the tools in the world to find what they want.  And I mean “they” the individual, not “they” the generation.  This is a huge new concept that is not familiar to the today’s TV services.
This blog (along with every other blog on the planet) is the equivalent of a TV Channel.  I organize videos I like and people who trust my tastes may watch them.   It’s not a question of how these videos get delivered.  I could easily say “Watch House on TV Tonight”, but ultimately it’s much more convenient if I post an link with the channel and schedule information.
Some people get paid to do this (TV networks and Big Name Bloggers), I don’t and I don’t even mind.  It’s not why I do it.   So, the question really is,  do consumers need formal channels (blog or TV)?  Not really, they know how to use Google.  But maybe if the channel brings enough individual value to the relationship it still is  a place.  This is something TV networks have been struggling with since cable.
When I knew that Bill Gates was giving his keynote at CES I was a bit surprised that couldn’t tune in and watch it on my TV.  I could get it on my computer.  Same with Steve Jobs and the Apple iPhone announcement.   And if Gene Rodenbery (Star Trek) was alive, do you really think that he would put up with all the stuff the network put him threw when he knew he could easily release his videos directly on the Internet?  This would give him a great revenue stream, with no censorship, full creative control and no middle man.  There are millions and millions of content streams and no TV network or distribution medium is going to be nibble and smart and fast enough to catch all but a very small percentage of them.
Another point that is missed is that most homes already have dedicated Media Center PC’s.  “Whaa??” You say.  In the next year or just about everybody will be buying a new PC to run Vista.  What are they do with their old boxes?   This may not happen next year because the content on the Internet still stinks, but once it crosses a threshold, it’s going to go fast.
And I don’t buy for one second the argument that connection speeds are not fast enough.  Hello!!  We used to sit threw 12 minutes of commercials for every 30 minutes of TV shows.  I guess people without digital recorders still do.  I almost never watch “live” TV any longer, what makes anybody think that I suddenly would if the content was coming into my house from a different plug?  There is an hour long delay when recording an hour long show and it doesn’t stop anybody from loving their digital recorder.  Still, I think this is the corner case.
The most common case is that people will RSS (subscribe) to content conglomerates (Web Pages / Blogs, Celebrities, Producers, etc) that they like and as new shows become available consumers will have the content automatically downloaded to their digital recorder (computer).   They will watch what sounds good to them and delete the rest.  Every Media Center PC will have it’s own TV schedule.  To compete in the future, TV can not be a question of watching what is on, or worrying about who it comes from, but purely the individual quest to be entertained with as few hassles / hurdles/ interruptions as possible. 
 Update:  One last note.  The creation of information has always moved from the hands of the very few (i.e. Monks writing books for Kings) to the masses.   It’s an unstoppable force that shows up with every new form of ordering information.   Along with this are the people who say it will never happen!  It kind of makes one feel all warm and fuzzy that things are so predictable! 

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