While rolling through posts and linking all over the place. I found myself on techcrunch and their determination that paper based TV Guides were on their way out.
Im not going to argue the decline of TV specific magazines. See ya.
What I will argue is that the “traditional” tv listing sites are the way we will receive our tv information in the future. They wont.
Why ? Because they dont pass the couch or bed test.
It aint gonna work if we cant lay in bed or vegetate on the couch and get the information we want. A magazine. A Newspaper. They are vegetation enabling material. Having to walk over to the PC to plan or check out what I might want to watch is like throwing away the remote and manually getting up and changing the channel. If i want a work out, I will go to the gym.
As always, kids are the exception. A laptop in a dorm room or kids room can be the TV and info device, but even then, its not the scenario that will win over the long term.
Here is why.
First, LCD/Plasma TV prices are falling faster than anyone ever imagined. This will make it affordable as a combo TV and full featured PC monitor even to kids.Did i mention they were kick ass game monitors as welland HD games are starting to take hold ?
which means the PC to be used for online info is being tied up playing games or actually enjoying full screen TV.
2nd. Kids and adults multitasking are switching from their PCs to their PDA/Phones to do their realtime IM’ng and TXTing. Not that PCs arent used for IM and email, they are, but thats mostly while using PC bound applications. So the PC isnt “at hand” all the time like it used to be. Yes,people will still surf while they watch TV, but the chances of them surfing on their PC as opposed to a “vegetation compatible” device (ie, one you can lay in bed or on a couch with), is declining. The more power we have in our PDA/Phones and we will have an ever increasing amount of power, the less we will chain ourselves to our PCs.
3rd. The same HDTVs that can act as PC monitors for you , are available to video distributors as well. Meaning your cable or satellite programming guide can offer you the same depth of information right on your TV. Dont want to mess with your remote to surf your way through everything…. Well there is a reason TVs are shipping with USB and FireWire ports and keyboard connectivity is one of those reasons.
Plus there are some great features here and coming from cable and satellite. DirecTV offers a sports, news and kids mix. Six channels playing side by side for each genre . A quick peak and I can easily see whats going on. A quick link, and more information will be available. True, its one way for all but simple interactive responses, but Im a believer that more indepth responses to whats on the tube will come from PDA/Phones and not from a PC.
4. Your remote control is going to get a lot smarter. A USB port, some cheap memory, a little screen and a roll mouse is all it will take to download all the program guide informatin andlistings in a user interface you feel comfortable with. Get recommendations. Program your own channel. Surf at will. Click on the program you want, have the recommendation autoselected, or have your personal network programmed to play. All from your little remote.
5. And of course handheld devices will get fasters, smarter, better connected and moreapplication savvy. Applications will be written that will download programming guides, just like your tivo does, but allow you to customize everything to your liking.
Combine that with thebluetooth compatibility they already have and the possibilities are endless. Turn it on and link to the 20 dollar bluetooth compatible remote control box sitting by the couch that turns the channels for you when you click on a show in your phone. Program it to automatically change the channel , ortake over the Tivo. Easy and breezy with endless possibilities
Now some people may say that this is the equivalent of what techcrunch is suggesting, but with the access from a handheld. I dont see it that way. There is a trade off in using handhelds. Its vegetation compatible, but its less “community” friendly than a PC. We can do all that we do on a PC when we surf from our phones, but we choose not to because of the hassle factor.
The handheld future also will provide less connectivity to web videos and user generated content than the current PC based sites do.
All this talk of going to your PC to pick your shows and then connecting to an IP TV feed (internet based IPTV) is nonsense. Aint gonna happen in the home. In the office , ok. I buy that. Its an easy way to link to a stream of a TV show while you are at work. At home, its too much work.
There is a reason traffic to the TV portion of the sites listed isnt that high. Because TV is supposed to be easy. Its supposed to be an “alternative to boredom” (thank you Aaron Spelling for the quote).
I also want to make one last point. As a country, we areTV savvy. In particular, Americans are well trained in “TV Analysis”. We all have been in “do I want to watch this” training for most of our lives. We canwatch and analysis mere seconds ofa show and determine if its something we want to committ to a Phase 2 on. Phase 2 gets you to the next commercial or until you recognize a keeper or turner trigger. Channel surfing is a sport that I think most of us take pride in. Doing research about TV shows. Well, Im not a believer. I want to nest when i watch.