Saturday, 9 February 2013

The iTV Revolution

By Jon Lee Clark (Flickr: Apple TV - Setup and Synched up) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Internet TV is here to stay. For years now it has been touted as the future of broadcasting, but is the future here today, or do we still have work to do?

YouTube has grown in the past few years from a video sharing site, to a full blown broadcasting network. Content providers are taking it more and more seriously and are using it as a means of extending their current programming. YouTube is yet to receive full length original programming though and has been limited to 5 minute mini episodes.
One content provider that does now have original programming is Netflix. House of Cards, the American Adaptation of the British drama, is available exclusively to the service on a subscription basis. This would represent a huge change to the way we watch TV, if it becomes the norm. People have always consumed TV on a weekly basis, expecting new shows to air once a week. Making the whole series available from the start changes the way people view TV. At the moment, I'm not sure people would really take to it. Part of TV is being able to discuss each episode around the water cooler the next day and making series available all as one removes the social aspect of watching TV.
The BBC have just announced that they will be making certain programs available on their iPlayer service before airing them on TV. This represents a more reserved and common sense approach to Internet TV. It preserves the anticipation of new episodes and unraveling a plot through a number of weeks, while rewarding early adopters of Internet TV with priority access.
Internet TV has a long way to go and is yet to find a sustainable and enticing model for consumers. Then there is Internet connection speeds to think about. In the UK, the Broadband infrastructure is still one of the worst around, with the majority of households still not achieving speeds for streaming if TV and film to be realistic. The future is coming, but it's not here yet.

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