The livingroom is wherever TV is

Om Malik has some details on the Slingcatcher that will take TV from your PC to your TV. Meanwhile, Apple will be giving more details of its iTV. The difference, says Sling’s boss, is that Apple’s and similar gadgets will have to go through services like iTunes, creating a new gatekeeper not unlike your damned cable system. Sling’s will send whatever you see on your PC to your TV. One way or the other, the line between broadcast/cable TV and internet TV will disappear and quickly. The holy grail of the living room TV isn’t so holy. We’ll watch what we want to watch whenever, wherever, and however we want: on our big-screen TV, on our medium-screen PC, or soon enough on our little-screen phone. All this gives further ammunition to Clay Shirky’s debunking of Mark Cuban’s continuing HDTV idolatry. It’s all just TV.

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  • Area all screens are created equal? HDTV + surround sound fixes viewers, while cellular TV keeps viewers on the go. I’m going to CES today, and the Verzion MediaFlo shows what I mean. The finality for consumers will be great service and a user interface as good as TIVO. Apple & Sling I keep my fingers crossed that they will get this, along with a distinct lean back, lean forward, and walk around viewing experience.

  • I think over the long time we are so used to watching the broadcast TV in a so-called “Read-Only” mode, sharing that moment with other family members in the space called livingroom. No need to interact with whomever on the other side of the TV or the Internet. Rather, the conversation within family is more of the concern and therefore stays foreground and nice-to-all broadcast TV content may rather sit in the background in the lvingroom. That is the old model.

    Now when the technology has made it possible to bring the Internet into the livingroom, we still have a lot of work with the lifestyle we get used to for such a long time. I just can’t imagine what the livingroom is like when all family members try to bring personalized content into the same livingroom.

  • Kenji, right that internet tv transcends “more channels” as a concept. Perhaps it is closer to the ancient ritual of sitting around a campfire and “uploading your voice authored and gesture embedded experiences” – that is telling personal stories – to the tribe.

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  • OT: Jeff, I came across this and thought of you. Call it “Exploding Music Industry”. I think you’ll like.

  • There are really two (highly related) arguments involved:
    1. Content access – services that use gatekeepers (as Jeff termed it above) verses services that don’t. We are now at the point where gatekeepers keep more people out than they keep people in, and this is the inflection point that will define the new age of media. Blogged about it here from the telecom perspective.
    2. Content presentation – HD verses other interfaces. Content access is critical here, although other factors (as blogged extensively by Cuban and Shirky) will result in many of these interfaces carving out nice niches – not a one winner takes all segment.

  • Paw

    Seems pretty clear to me that if I’m investing in an HD monitor (average cost is two week’s salary, based on how much the average American earns these days), I’m going to seek out content that will provide me the viewing experience I’ve paid for. On the other hand, if I don’t care about that as much, maybe I’d opt for ITV or Slingcatcher, although fighting over the virtual “remote” may be exponentially more difficult that the typical TV version. I agree with NextBlitz – not a zero sum game.

    I do believe, however, that it’s incumbent upon the Internet video providers to address the visual quality issue at some point. As Cuban correctly points out, analog transmissions will sunset in about 2 years – hopefully this gives providers enough time to address the all digital spectrum they will face and bandwidth caps to the home that make Internet video challenging to drive to the set.

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  • As much as I agree that we’re moving into a model of whenever, wherever, where interactivity and portbalility is key I think the however is going to be the important point. Obviously, the content we’ll have on portable screens will be edited and presented in a different way that what will be shown on a big HD screen.

    Is the idea behind those gatekeepers exciting or worrying? iTunes makes it much easier to find and buy music, but what about all the extra content that is not there? Gatekeepers will have the best role, deciding what goes through and what goes on.

    Another thought, is about the traditional family model. Before the family united around the radio, then the television. With a multitude of screens around the house and the possibility to access any content at any given time, what will unite families (except for meals)? I guess we’re already halfway into that model, but what’s next?