Once upon a time we switched on the TV and watched a programme or two, in the evening after we had tea, when the kids were in bed and it was time to settle down to relax. TV Time was limited as the TV signal would shut down at night and eight-year-old Carole Hersee would appear (in the UK at least). We had a choice amongst Light Entertainment and Drama, Documentaries, News and Sport all chosen for us and delivered when somebody else thought best.
Life is a little different now because:
Today we want TV at Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere and we want to watch What We Want, When We Want, Where We Want. We want to watch Live TV, with the use of Pause and Rewind Live TV. And if we miss missed the beginning of something we need Start Over TV so that we can go back to the beginning of the programme that we have joined late. We need Catch-Up TV for shows we have missed. We need to Store Live TV programmes for later viewing on a Hard Drive (Personal Video Recorder) or a Removable Storage device with the possibility of using Series Recording for Binge Watching. We also want to be able to Side Load content onto a Companion Device to consume later when in the garden, or perhaps travelling on a bus or train. We want a Whole Home PVR system or Network PVR so that we can have Follow Me TV that allows us to start watching in one room and then take the content into another room and join it from where we left off in the other room. We want Companion Screen driven TV Everywhere so we can Throw and Fetch programmes from those devices to different screens in the home. We want Over The Top TV so we can have non-Linear content and not be restricted to a Schedule. We want Interactive TV with Applications that allow us access to Weather, or Horoscope or Games and a lot of other stuff all delivered over the Cloud and Home Network. We want to be able to Search for, and Recommend content to other people on Social Media. We don’t want this on a STB or CPE we want all of this on a Smart or Connected TV, in 3D or Ultra HD 4K or perhaps Super Ultra HD 8K. We need it in High Dynamic Range, so that we get the best quality on a Curved OLED, millimetre thick, Flatscreen TV: 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week, 365 Days of the Year completely uninterrupted.
TV Content has however NOT broken the boundaries that technology has. Geo-Blocking, Distribution Rights, Landing Rights, Syndication, Franchising and all that shenanigans is hindering and hampering not helping, other than to further slow the transformation of TV – Perhaps that is a good thing?
Fluxx Connected TV White Paper (link below) is a supposed guide that explains how the industry can solve the Connected-Companion Screen buiness. Page 18 highlights exactly why there is a problem and does not give a credible solution, it merely points out technologies and what technology punters need to marry, fix or invent. For example the IPG – OK an IPG and Search – Which IPG, Which Search Engine there are lots of them and they are all different and they all claim to do the job! The UI/UX has been the fight of 2011 with NDS, TIVO, Inview, Espial, and many others all claiming they have the best system. A one size fits all is what is needed – harmonised, standardised system…but human beings will never allow that to happen. You can have any colour you want sir as long as it is black! Hahah!
I have been in Interactive Digital TV since 2000 and the Future of TV has little to do with the TV technology industry but more to do with the people working in this industry and their inate inability to work together for the good of the industry and the consumer. I have seen many a company representative overly complicate initiatives, work negatively in consortia so that initiatives fail, create situations that inhibit harmonisation, becasue they have a proprietary solution or preferred partner that they want to sell ahead of all others…and I have seen corporations get greedy when it comes to IPR and obtaining their slice of the pie to the detriment of these harmonisation initiatives. All the available technologies are iready for today’s successful interactive, 2nd screen market, however people are unable to make it happen. CE Manufaturers want to go it alone, Broadcasters want to go it alone, Operators want to control it all, Vendors believe they have the winning technology, Programme makers and Advertisers are lcaught in the quagmire of technology gurus all claiming they have the answer.
The Interactive Companion Screen jigsaw is being put together by people who are blinkered by their company loyalty. Only an independent, neutral technology body could ever harmonise the future of TV. If we can align the people we can create the environment and head in the right direction with the right technology. The latest round of attempts with Tablets and Smart-phones interactivity are failing miserably as everyone invents a new mousetrap and the interactive TV mess repeats itself once again…this is one phrase fluxx managed to get spot on.
What is likely to happen is that a dominat force a lot like Apple will be selected over all others as happened in the digital Music industry download debacle. However it may be someone unexpected such as Intel Media who are gathering the right minds to put the right strategy together for this particularly complex subject.
When you don’t go to a Trade Show that you have been regularly visiting for the past 8-10 years it is a slightly uncomfortable feeling. It sort of feels like you are missing out on something…but are you really? CES is after all a gadget show and do we need to go if we are not Retailers of Consumer Electronics? What a lot of people do not know is that there is a lot going on behind the scenes in more of a Business-2-Business nature; especially in the Television world that I move in. A lot of networking takes place, and a lot of ‘private suites’ allow for plenty of businessmen to gather, show of their wares in private, discuss and potentially deal-make!
However as a ‘tech journalist’ you might think that things have a different allure. Certainly the BBC’s writer David Pogue has just publishd a very poignant article from his perspective. It can be found in full here: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130104-does-ces-have-a-future
His outlook is that there is mostly years of repetition of technology along with what I call ‘catch-up’ Companies there ‘en-masse’ with cheaper but the same gadgets from the year before and therefore swamping the floors, the industry and the news with old stuff in effect. There is also a decline in the Big Companies with Microsoft having pulled out! Apple is not there either and if Apple is not there how can it truly be called THE Consumer Electronic Show? Qualcomm even did the keynote speech this year – Qualcomm?
Another journalist from our immediate industry Leslie Ellis pointed out that the the trending products were waterpoofing gadgets for your smartphones and tablets. I suspect the Hunting Knife Company and the Mini Flying Helicopters will still be there in the South Hall and that Spearmint Rhino will still get its CES clientele. Ummm, so what is it I miss?
Well in all honestly I do miss it as it kicks off the business year with a hectic, manic traipse around Vegas! Therefore life without an early dose of CES certainly makes for a less-tired more calculated start to 2013.
In response to the announcement by Ted Sarandos – Netflix’s CCO or as I think it should be titled – CHM – Chief Hype Master who believes his Company is “CHANGING TELEVISION FOREVER”! I would merely say, Whoaaaa there Cowboy; of course you have to get excited about your Content deals – Just like Everyone else does LOL!
However what I see overall is just another pretender to the business throne of the TV world! Someone else who is once again going to radically change an entire business model overnight. Someone looking to reign supreme and change the 80-20 mix (80% who watch linear TV and the 20% who watch all the other stuff) … Mr Sarandos you have a privileged position and you are more than likely not part of the real world…a world of people who, quite honestly, have to get up in the morning and go to work in a horrible tough job, or clean the house, or go shopping, or do the laundry, or go to school, or LIVE. People who work hard all day! People who come home, open the front door, kiss the wife/husband/partner, kiss the kids, hug the dog and fit back into the evening’s ritual – Perhaps even cook a meal…or people who are both working; where the family is scrabbling around to find time for the kids pick-up, homework, chores, sports, hobbies, family BBQs, kids birthdays, sickness, LIFE, and all the things that the world delivers. The world of spare time between 9pm to midnight!
Does anyone in this industry REALLY believe that we are glued to our TV screens 24/7 as if that is the only thing in the world? Come on what are we believing!!! Why are TV shows scheduled, why are their ratings, why has the business delivered the same format for the last umpteen years, in the way it has? Because TV has created a system that has adjusted to and suits the masses not the few. We ordinary folk adjust and organise ourselves to schedules, we like schedules because we can do other things in the meantime! We don’t need TV, we have TV which is part of an entertainment package that we use to entertain ourselves within scheduled periods in our lives and Mr Sarandos it is not the ONLY thing we have!
What is the best way for a busy family in the modern hustle and bustle of daily life – It is Linear TV, PVR and Catch-Up TV (aka VOD) perhaps even Apple TV which is an on-demand (not subscription) service…Pay as You Watch (makes sense). Unless Netflix can be the only supplier of ALL the Content with ALL the options in the world including a humble price tag we will see that they are merely just another choice in a HUGE selection of TV offerings that we have today. Linear TV still reigns supreme according to the Analysts but who cares in the heady world of OTT Services – All hail Netflix!
We hear on a regular basis that Smart TVs are rolling out of the door of the high street. What I know as a veteran of interactive TV is that few of them get connected or stay connected. It is a fact that only if it is ABSOLUTELY IMPERITIVE for the TV to work will it ever be connected – AppleTV on the other hand is of that category – Pure OTT. Apple is not wrong to think of putting out a TV – We all understand iTunes and we are all carrying an iPhone – an iPAD (well a large portion of the Smart People are! Let’s see what Apple can do in this very fragmented domain!