Is TV dead? It will be with one piece of technology…

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how and why newspapers should move online. I haven’t really spent as much time thinking about television and its required transformation. And there’s one thing I need built… by some smarter-than-me engineer out there, who preferably doesn’t work for Apple of google… but let me explain.

Television, to me, has always been a bit like the forbidden fruit. I grew up on a farm with a mother who was adamant that my brother and I would only watch a half hour of television per day. My requests for Three’s Company were almost always beaten out of me, so we could watch what he wanted — Video Hits. Besides greatly reducing my ability to win pink pie in Trivial Pursuit, it meant when I got to university… I watched loads of television. First addiction was to Road to Avonlea. But there have been many more since — and even now, even though it’s too scarey for me to watch — I have an addiction to 24.

But I don’t actually turn on my television now, unless it’s to play Wii.

I can’t watch a certain show at a certain time. So if it’s not online — so I can watch it when I want to — I’m not watching it.

I could probably do an entire post on video players in Canada — let’s just say we’re not home to many good ones.  Nevertheless, I do believe that I’m not alone when I say in the last 18 months, I’ve stopped watching conventional TV. I actually think we’re on the cusp of TV making a full-scale shift to online and that’ll open up  TV production much like the printing press was no longer the required tool to publish.

So on to what I need: An easy, affordable, wireless way to get the movies, shows and music I download on to my laptop on to my LCD TV so I can watch it full screen. I don’t want to have to call in someone to install it, or require a PhD to figure it out… I don’t want to spend $500 for something that will only play one type of file, and I’m not going to wait an hour to transfer it from my computer to my screen.

And while this likely puts the fear of God into TV executives, it somehow gives me strange  touch of comfort.

We at newspapers aren’t alone. And our opportunities for online video may just have a breath of life in it.

Now back to Team Canada vs. Switzerland.

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6 responses to “Is TV dead? It will be with one piece of technology…

  1. Wow… you made me dig some old posts: Back in 2005 I was complaining of how the first wave of crackdowns on Torrent sites was clearly targeting the early adopters of TV by Internet ( http://graffiti_neuronal.blogspot.com/2005/05/heartbroken-by-mpaa-closing-btefnet.html ). Of course since then we’ve been given the Apple TV and many others that actually make it possible to do watch shows without the complexities of managing raw files. I say we’re not quite there because it will cost you more when it shouldn’t be the case.

    May I point out that we’re not really getting ready of our TV (as in the big display in your living room) as much as we are shifting the distribution of content from cable to the Internet… which is brought to you by your cable company? Awesome risk management on the side of cable companies.

    A few more thoughts into the whole “changing the way we watch TV”, perhaps more on the philosophical side, please check my post “LonelyTV” ( http://global-culture.org/lonelytv/ )

  2. Thanks for the comment, Juan. Some really great points, and thanks for the links. You’re absolutely correct about distribution being the thing that changes. Everyone keeps mentioning Apple TV but the point is, it’s super expensive… Anyway thanks again for my first-ever comment 🙂

  3. Marissa,

    I’m not sure that television as we know it will ever really go away, or be killed off (mind you, I feel the same about newspapers, so that may show you just what I know).

    I agree with a lot of what you say, and know many people who do not subscribe to cable anymore, but rather download or stream the stuff they watch (whether it be scripted, nonscripted or sports).

    However, that still involves a lot of work. And while torrents, stream sites and PVRs have taken away watching things as a collective audience, I still think that exists. And not everything is streamed online in real time quite yet.

    I also think that way of watching television may be too much work for some people — I know it is for me. I prefer to pay Roger’s every month and have my programs sitting and waiting for me on my PVR for when I get a chance to watch them.

    I also prefer my newspaper in my hands, and not on a screen on my lap though.

  4. Hey Sarah,

    Thanks for the comment. Definitely hear your points. Especially with the shows that aren’t online yet (grrr).

    It does — at the moment — take a lot of work to watch online and I definitely hate how long it takes to download a movie. But I think that will change (that’s what I’m hoping, anyway!). I think soon it’ll be smooth and easy to get files and transfer them from machine to machine.

    I don’t have a PVR because it’s SO expensive! I already give Rogers enough money each month 🙂 But you’re right — that gets around my issue of not sitting down and watching it at a given time. But if I’m already paying for a crazy fast internet connection, I sort of feel like I don’t want yet another charge — just a piece of technology that will make the online part smoother, easier and better to watch (from my laptop to LCD). Once I get that, I will once and for all get rid of traditional cable.
    Thanks for reading!
    Marissa

  5. Hi Sweetpea,
    Nice blog!
    I’ll look for my favourite black forest cake recipe and send it to you. Pity none of the comments are about food!
    love,
    Mum

  6. All you need is a $20 HDMI wire from your laptop to your TV. (assuming it has the input; if not, upgrade your television!)

    I cut and paste this:

    “The High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is an all-digital audio/video interface capable of transmitting uncompressed streams. HDMI provides an interface between any compatible digital audio/video source, such as a set-top box, a DVD player, a PC, a video game system such as the PlayStation 3 or an AV receiver and a compatible digital audio and/or video monitor, such as a digital television (DTV).”

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