Let me ask you, when you hear the word TV, what comes to mind? Dancing with the Stars? American Idol? Chances are your mind thinks of TV shows you recently watched or TV shows you plan to watch. But did you know of the changing landscape of Television and the different ways you can watch TV?
I walked into Best Buy this morning and spent 10 minutes playing with Google TV. Ever hear of Roku? What about Boxee? Ladies & Gentlemen, the way we consume our favorite TV content is changing.
Before Cable Television we used to watch 7-8 channels on an Analog signal. Remember those TV’s with bunny ears for antennas? (For you Millennials, you may not have any idea what I’m referencing) Then came Cable TV. Cable changed everything. We had access to news from different countries, real-time information, a variety of sports, soap programs, and tons of other channels we never watched. Today we have Telecom companies, Satellite Providers, and Cable Companies fighting over a share of your wallet. Choices are your traditional Cable providers: Comcast, Time Warner, etc. With Satellite you have Direct TV and Dish. Telecom’s want a piece of your wallet too, so they invented IPTV (TV that is broadcasted over the internet and sent to your your living room TV set).
But now, a whole new model is coming. Let me introduce you to TV On Demand. Sure, you’ve heard of Comcast on Demand, TiVo, and you probably even have a DVR. But now with the likes of Roku and Boxee, emerging companies are allowing you to watch programs around your schedule. Until now, we are accustomed to “push content.” That means we have content pushed to us. For example, you’re at home at 8pm and you’re flipping through the channels and you select American Idol. You’ve selected the program you want to watch that is readily available to watch. Hence you are selecting to consume “push” content. Back to Roku and Boxee. Their model is “pull content.” You tell them what you want to watch and they go out and get the program for you. Hence “pulling content.” This is also known as “TV on Demand.”
By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Google TV, Apple TV, and you may even have a streaming Netflix subscription. Instead of the traditional ways of watching TV, the future of TV is watching content, when, and where you prefer. As the consumer, you are in control. Don’t worry about setting your DVR to 9oclock to record Desperate Housewives, instead just fire up your internet connection and go request Desperate Housewives.
As I prepared to write this post, I read an article that quoted a 26 year old from San Francisco. This person said, and I quote: “I pay for internet, why would I pay for TV?” Good question! Ever ask yourself that? I do. My personal experience with TV costs me $115/month. I use DIRECTV and subscribe to over 400 channels, the NFL package, and all the movie channels. And you know what? I maybe watch 3 channels consistently. A couple years ago, I decided on Direct TV because they were the only company that could give me the NFL package. (Being from Cleveland it’s only routine be disappointed every Sunday when I watch my Browns nosedive) With the innovations of TV on Demand, I plan to cancel Direct TV after my contract expires and explore Roku. With Roku, you can stream Netflix, MLB, NBA, Hulu and more.
As I close this post I’d like point out one last thing. What really baffles me is seeing new Flat Screens are coming pre-built with Google TV. Next time you walk into Best Buy, check out the new Sony’s and Panasonics. They both have options to stream Netflix or accept Google or Apple TV. Another baffler is the ability to watch your TV subscription in the plan of your hand through a smart phone or Tablet. Comcast Xfinity has built an app for the iPad to watch live and on-demand TV on your iPad. AT&T UVerse has a package called Mobi-TV that allows UVerse customers to watch TV on their Android or Blackberry device. Reflect for a second, isn’t it amazing to think about the evolution of the TV. Think about the decade to come. What will be thought of next?