Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Cable TV Model Broken"

The bell is tolling for the broadcast/cable model of video. Watching a TV channel is dying. Watching video advertising is dying. Watching half hour or hour shows is dying. The idea that shows are "TV shows" --that they are to be viewed on a TV--is about to end.

The death rattle is starting to get loud enough that even consultants are beginning to notice. Red Herring quotes a Jonathan Hurd as saying:
"The whole notion of channels, bundles of channels, and programming being available only at a fixed time and only in a fixed place is evolving," said Mr. Hurd. "With TiVo, PVR technology, and SlingBox, people are going to be able to consume video where they want and when they want. The trend is toward flexibility."

Mr. Hurd points to the surprising popularity of video iPods as proof that America's voracious appetite for TV is indeed evolving.

"The video iPod is the ultimate in a la carte programming. I can download an individual episode..."
There's been a lot of enthusiasm and hopeful comment recently about a la carte programming and IPTV. They are both supposed to give the consumer more choice. A la carte would let you choose whatever channel you wanted and only pay for that channel. IPTV would let you use internet streaming technologies to emulate cable TV and provide a type of competition for cable TV's channels.

It's all a lot of half-measures and hooeey and if consultants are starting to recognize it you know the end must be near. You want REAL choice. You don't want to "tune into" channels whether cable or IPTV; that's just the awkward interface you currently have to use to get to your shows. Shows are all you really watch. You don't really want the poor imitation of cable that you'll get from IPTV. You'd be happier with using the bandwidth they want to dedicate to that to download the shows you actually want to watch. It would serve you better if the telephone companies would just give you the bandwidth they're using trying to compete with the dying broadcast/cable model and let you use it to download what you actually want quickly.

See the old post Die TV. Die, Die, Die! for why you're gonna be happy when the old cable model finally croaks.

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