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July 2, 2012

The future of TV is here, and the picture is brighter than ever

Posted by Vaibhav Bakre (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:37 AM

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Today, you can actually watch streaming television on a tablet device, thanks to the technology advancements in the last couple of years.  Cablevision was one of the first to launch it for TV watchers, and TV has worked its way into the "let's-stay-wired-experience" anywhere and all day long.

Think about the flexibility you now have.  On the one hand you can watch live TV on these applications.  So you can also toggle over to an online video or a web site that the newscaster has suggested for further information. Further, you can continue watching your favourite TV show by seamlessly shifting TV viewing from your on-the-wall TV to your handheld tablet if you have to go to your refrigerator to get a drink. The basic difference between watching something on YouTube versus watching live TV is that you can watch live TV shows while watching the program in high quality.On YouTube or other media, the quality of video that you watch is not guaranteed, but with these new apps what you get is much like real high definition live streaming videos. The other advantage is that you can actually program the DVR that is sitting at your home using the mobile devices, so for example, you might be outside somewhere and you might suddenly remember that at 8 p.m. tonight one of your favorite programs will stream.  By just clicking a button you can tell your home digital video recorder to start recording that program.  The third plus is that if you have already recorded some program on your home DVR you can actually watch that content while you are away from home. I live in Dallas, and I watch the home team Mavericks.  If I'm traveling to New York or Los Angeles, the local programming will not necessarily show me that basketball game.  With this new app the problem is solved.  No matter where I am I can enjoy the local programming that my city is enjoying.

Television is not limited to home any more, and you can literally carry it in your hand wherever you are.  If you are connected to the net you can watch TV.  We have also made interactive advertising a possibility.  Let's say a Disney Theme Park ad is on a regular commercial break, and at the bottom of your screen you get a one line message - the "crawl" -- suggestion to book a vacation there by pressing a button on your remote control.   It then basically pulls up all your profile related data, the age and number of family members, and shares it with Disney so their travel concierge can suggest vacation packages (and ultimately book the trip). Advertisers might take future spots further by micro-targeting viewers in a particular zip code where, for example, an upscale department store might want to buy time. So, I think the future is tacking on services to "anytime, anywhere TV" to tap into consumer wants.  

I think, many advances will come rapidly because we are in a classic race to develop and refine the technology.  At the end of the day, companies that come up with the most compelling user experience for the customer will win.  With the smart phone, the browser on the screen was there for a long time.  Apple captured the market because not only did they understand what the customer wanted, they developed a simple, seamless user experience.  The same thing will occur at some point with the TV screen in your jacket pocket or purse.

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