Thursday, October 13, 2005

Seeing the Future in the present...

Andrew Cohill, (LPF interview) currently of Design Nine and famed for his role in the Blacksburg Electronic Village experiment, has a comment worth sharing on seeing the future of television in Apple's latest offerings...and fiber. He's right, of course, broadband will kill TV, at least insofar as we mean being able to watch our shows only in regularly in half-hour slots, only in increments of a half hour and sliced up by advertising that determines the rythmn of the story. Downloadable Video (DV) will surely replace Television (TV). And it is much more likely that the video device of the future will more nearly resemble today's networked computer than today's cable TV.

This piece is from an email listserv, I don't usually reprint "articles" in full; but this is the only way to share this particular publication.

But if you're impatient here's the "yeah, you right" punchline:
What's missing? No cable TV or satellite TV connection is required.

What's needed? A good broadband connection.
What's needed when everyone watches TV this way? Fiber to the home, because current DSL and cable systems can't handle the load.
Cohill's full post:
Another nail was hammered in the coffin of analog TV yesterday with Apple's one-two hammer slam. The company rolled out a new version of the full size iPod that stores and plays video. They also rolled out a new version of iTunes (works on Windows and Macs) that allows you to store video on your Mac just the way you store music.

The online iTunes music store also has video for sale, and the selection includes music videos (predictable) and full length television shows. A deal with ABC Studios has several selections, including the hugely popular Lost. You will be able to download and watch these ABC shows the day after they air on broadcast TV.

But wait! There's more!

Apple also rolled out a new version of the popular all in one iMac computer. Sleeker and thinner than the old model, the new version has a video camera built into the case (for videoconferencing), and a remote control so that you can sit on the other side of the room and control your TV--oops, I mean iTunes--which will play video full screen on the iMac.

So we now know who won the "Is the TV a computer or is the computer a TV?" war. It was the computer. Apple has offered a seamless, end to end video experience--one click downloads of your favorite TV show while you sit on the couch, and one more click to play them full screen on your computer.

What's missing? No cable TV or satellite TV connection is required.

What's needed? A good broadband connection.

What's needed when everyone watches TV this way? Fiber to the home, because current DSL and cable systems can't handle the load.

Communities that don't have a technology master plan to get a fiber roadway installed that is free and open to all content providers will be left behind. Are you trying to attract entrepreneurs and high tech companies to your community? Do think they want to live in a town where they can't watch TV via broadband?

The short answer is, "No, no, and double no."

There is an interesting postscript to this "TV or the computer" issue. Microsoft bet a billion or more dollars that the TV would win this battle. It was a lot of money to find out no one wanted to surf the Web on a television. Their WebTV product is long forgotten.
Insightful stuff. Especially interesting for those priviledged few who will have fiber to the home. Like Lafayette.

Background: An AP story that covers the product announcement that inspired Cohill.

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