The Maturity of Web 2.0 and The HDTV is the PC

Its fun to watch all the discussion, hyperbole and hopes associated with Apple TV. Once again Apple has come out with a well designed, functional product. Unfortunately for Apple, it may be too little too late.

Lets face some facts. The era of the desktop PC being the home for exciting change and enhancement are long gone. I wrote this for the first time 2 years ago, and nothing has changed since then.

Then in January of this year, I asked why people are so concerned about getting internet video from PCs to HDTVs , rather than taking traditional video from existing sources and distributing it to PCs. Basically saying that its a lot easier to get from TV to PC via any number of existing DVR and other devices than the other way around.

Yet Apple and others still seem to think that simplifying internet video through a PC to a device to an HDTV is the way to go. Is this the future of home entertainment.

Please. Its shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. Its a waste of time.

There is an old saying that when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Right now the hammer is internet video and everyone wants to find a way to make it the future. Its old news people. Its a mature product in a mature environment.

Now don’t get me wrong. Youtube, despite its copyright problems that could shut it down (i had to slip that in there :), has been a marketing miracle. They have done the completely unexpected and aggregated 10s of millions of monthly users. The same could be same of Myspace. They deserve a ton of credit for what they have accomplished. But the operative word is marketing. Embedded music and video was a catalyst for both. How long has the opportunity to embed videos in an html page been around, 8 years ? No original technology, but a new application of old features is what great ideas and great marketing thrive on.

That is what has made Web 2.0 so interesting. Web 2.0 isnt about technology. Its about ideas implemented around simple applications that have been around for years. The maturity of the technology makes the implementation of ideas simple. That is the key to success in Web 2.0. The technology always works. It may sound crazy to some, but thats the reality. The internet as a connectivity utility and the browser are mature application platforms.

So where will the change come ? What will the be the host for new applications ? Its right in front of our faces, literally. Its the HDTV that you will be buying in the future.

Remember when you would buy a new PC every couple years to keep up and you would buy a new TV every decade ? Well thats about to reverse itself. You no longer feel the need to get the latest and greatest desktop PC, but you are about to get in the habit of upgrading your TV every couple years as new and original features and applications are developed for it.

Dont agree ? Think about the last analog set you bought and what it looked like, could do and cost and compare it to the new HDTV you either just bought or are considering buying. Which has experienced the greatest technological change. The leap from your last analog TV to your next TV or your last PC to your current or next PC ?. The price performance of HDTVs are going to continue at the pace we saw for PCs in the late 90s and early 2000s. In 3 years the mainstream TV will be 70″ and cost less than $1500. In 5 years, it could be 100″ for $2500 dollars . Yes, you will make room for it. You will redesign the family room or your bedroom to make room.

The price performance curve will drive competition for incremental features as well.

We are getting to the point where features that would have been added to PCs in the past will be added to your HDTV. Advances in wireless technology will be more important to your new TV than your desktop PC once your TV has an IP address and internet connectivity, which is right around the corner.

New and unique applications will be developed for your TV ahead of your PC once every HDTV has a browser built in starting in 18 – 24 months.

If you want to see where exciting software is being developed, its not web 2.0. Its being developed for OCAP, Directv and Dish Networks interactive platforms among many. You probably didnt even realize that many of these development platforms are already being built into HDTVs and applications are starting to be released for them.

Its time for everyone to realize that the internet is old news. Its a mature utility, which is the greatest compliment you can give it. The desktop PC is old news. File it next to DVD players: useful and boring with obsolescence right around the corner. Web 2.0 is pleasingly boring.

If the question is “Whats Next “, the answer begins with “Watch TV”

72 thoughts on “The Maturity of Web 2.0 and The HDTV is the PC

  1. Pingback: Kenzoid’s Autonomous Zone » Blog Archive » Mark Cuban’s future is one freakin’ big HDTV

  2. The TV is going to be dead and so will a giant HDTV based home. If I can\’t carry it or it isn\’t light enough to carry around, installed in my plane, car or office on the wall it is irrelevant. Apple TV has it right! It just cost as much as a old TV. The idea is to be mobile most of the time but if and when you or anyone in your world with a MacBook has a movie, video, or presentation (and now YOUtUbe clip) can send it to the bigger screens in the building. The killer app is the wireless MacBook with an Apple TV box somewhere on the premises. It would be easier to just make it a city wide standard on a tower somewhere – and H.264 is a killer compression technology given a laptop a very good version of HD— I mean I can\’t rally complain this screen is beautiful. Eventually, the pipes and wireless technolgy will carry all this video to any place a Apple TV box exists…. in very, very clear crystal quality. You don\’t need a Ferrari to drive two blocks, so a big HD TV is just a waist for most people until it is just another TV—– in the mean time Apple will make billions with all there nice stuff that is a sign of design genius. I saw some new technologies and there not even close to Apple which is working day and night to innovate in this space— I call it walkinh HD–if it is not mobile I am not buying it–

    Comment by Will Ray -

  3. I don\’t have a TV. Decided I like controlling what I watch a LOT more. No more bars with scrolling information, no more commercials. No more ghosted logos and annoying mini popups of what show is coming on next.

    Im done. I won\’t be back.

    Comment by Chris -

  4. That can be but not sure!

    Comment by Christopher -

  5. The TV is going to be dead and so will a giant HDTV based home. If I can\’t carry it or it isn\’t light enough to carry around, installed in my plane, car or office on the wall it is irrelevant. Apple TV has it right! It just cost as much as a old TV. The idea is to be mobile most of the time but if and when you or anyone in your world with a MacBook has a movie, video, or presentation (and now YOUtUbe clip) can send it to the bigger screens in the building. The killer app is the wireless MacBook with an Apple TV box somewhere on the premises. It would be easier to just make it a city wide standard on a tower somewhere – and H.264 is a killer compression technology given a laptop a very good version of HD— I mean I can\’t rally complain this screen is beautiful. Eventually, the pipes and wireless technolgy will carry all this video to any place a Apple TV box exists…. in very, very clear crystal quality. You don\’t need a Ferrari to drive two blocks, so a big HD TV is just a waist for most people until it is just another TV—– in the mean time Apple will make billions with all there nice stuff that is a sign of design genius. I saw some new technologies and there not even close to Apple which is working day and night to innovate in this space— I call it walkinh HD–if it is not mobile I am not buying it–

    Comment by Will Ray -

  6. Mark,

    I think you\’re wrong on the TV front, for a number of reasons.

    First, HD is only starting to make significant inroads in the US, and the big driver is sports.

    Second, I don\’t see what is going to cause people to want to upgrade to a new TV to get these features when an add-on box is a few hundred dollars. The SAF (spousal acceptance factor) is a huge obstacle to this – \”Two years ago you spent $3500 on the TV and now you want to replace it? Why?\”

    Finally, this assumes that TV manufacturers can do software. The cable/DVR experience is very illuminating here. Tivo does a killer interface. Media center does a nice interface. And yet the vast majority of cable DVRs are atrocious. There is little reason to think that TV manufacturers will do any better, *especially* since in initial versions, any add-on software will not be a reason to buy the TV for the majority of people, so there\’s little incentive to do it right.

    I also thing the example of combined TV/DVD or TV/VHS players. They\’re oh-so-convenient, but they aren\’t present in all big TVs. Why? Well, simply because most people have a DVD player already, so having a new one doesn\’t help that much, and because people want choice on which DVD player they get.

    And finally, there\’s the whole lock-in factor. The same factors that cause us not to have a standard set of IR remote control codes or a standard AV bus that all AV equipment can talk through will mean that any on-board intelligence in TVs is very unlikely to be compatible across manufacturers or open to third-party software, which is the whole reason that PCs are so successful in the first place.

    So, I just don\’t see it.

    Comment by Eric -

  7. I know lots of people that don\’t have TVs but I don\’t know anyone that doesn\’t have a PC (or MAC). If HDTVs are the new personal media center then it must be able to have the connectivity too otherwise it\’ll just be an expensive picture frame for your digitial photos. But seeing as how computers are so much cheaper the HDTV being the \”new PC\” has a long way to go.

    Just my 2 pennies (for however long those are around)

    Comment by Brian -

  8. This new box )or some new version of it) will go a long way to replacing PC\’s as the best way to download movies for your TV. Where the studios go, the masses will follow. Could put a krimp in iTV sales, because of the amount of content available. Haven\’t seen it work yet, but an interesting model, especially, the \”instant\” aspect of the peer-to-peer delivery system.

    Comment by Linda Nelson -

  9. Good points. I was thinking today how I\’m already wanting a new TV, even though my 65\” is just a few years old. I thought the Apple TV was kinda funny too, even though it does have a some neat features. I posted on it here: http://acuriousblog.blogspot.com/2007/01/iphone.html.

    I like reading your blog, because it makes me feel like I could be a billionaire too if I applied myself :) I think a lot like you do. Actually, reading your blog last year was what made me decide to start my own blog.

    Comment by Jason Green -

  10. Hi marc, I agree with you completely that it is marketing but there are actually some other factors also. Yes the HOW has been solved for quite a long time, as you state video streaming has been around for 8 years plus and so on, but WAY is new. The format of delivery is something that inner mongolian horse herders will understand. The fact that my dad has sent me a link from youtube means that the Ludites have come to the party as well. Web2.0 has transcended technology. I am so sick and tired of people talking \’ Collaborative Web APPS\’ Please…. its way past that. Remember that not only skateboarders wear skate clothes. Nice Post though!

    Comment by Erich -

  11. My imagionation goes to what these cheap 70\’ or 100\’ screens can do to interior design.
    I am working on fixing up some apartmens that have a slight sliver of ocean view. With a 70\’ screen I could put a webcam on the roof and the screen in the livingroom – effectively \”amplifying\” the ocean view. In my market ocean view is worth about USD 200 000 per appartment.

    Just goes to show some of the \”new concepts and applications\” Cuban is talking about.

    Comment by HJ Lighting -

  12. Come on Mark, it is not that simple. There is a reason people are going to their PC\’s for viewing Youtube. Content.

    Right now we have Cable news channels grinding us down with infotainment news, like Anna Nichole etc. because they don\’t have a clue about what else to report on, or they are trying to attract more of the women who watch Entertainment Tonight etc.

    Others have said it as well. 500 channels and nothing is on.
    With the Computer I can search the net for video content to watch, outside of what a network decides I want to see.

    Web 2.0 had nothing to do with Youtube\’s success. It was that broadband became fast enough and storage became cheap enough that people could upload video to youtube and others had the bandwidth to view it.

    Note how many people wanted to see all that network content that Youtube is busy removing. On Demand works better, when I can see ALL seasons of SG-1 or the simpsons or 24 anytime. Or highlights from those or any other show.

    why am I going to buy a new HDTV if I can get an external box to plug into it, like a 5th gen Apple TV or Tivo box with cable inputs? Or a sling box which does the same thing.

    I love my new Sony Bravia HDTV. But the UI and the remote for the box? Utter crap. The UI for the Moto DVR from comcast?
    Utter Crap. Tivo and Apple both understand UI.

    The TV industry does not.

    And all my content input comes from external devices: a PC via HDMI, a cable DVR or Sat box into the Hi-def ports. So explain again why I am going to throw out my new HDTV in 2 years?

    Comment by David Williams -

  13. Mark,
    Many of my friends upgrade there T.V.s yearly. Some of my buddies are already looking for a new model within a month of getting a new one. I haven\’t bought a new T.V. in 5 years and don\’t plan on getting a new one until sometime next year.

    Why? A number of reasons are at play, the main one is price. If you remember this past Black Friday there were plenty of name-brand LCD and Plasma T.V.s that were marked down in some cases as much as 50%. Why didn\’t I buy one of those?
    Three reasons:
    1. Features I wanted weren\’t avalible on those models.
    2. The price, it may have been marked down but the cost was still too high(for me)for what few features were included i.e. the lack of enough inputs/outputs, type of inputs, and resolutions avalible.
    3.I\’m not going to buy a T.V. just because it\’s flat and looks nice on a wall just so I can say I have one(I know plenty of people that have the \”Keeping up with the Jones\’\”mentality and their credit card debt is proof)

    I do agree with you that some people will be upgrading their T.V.s more frequently than in the past like they did with their P.C.s. However, I think the people that are doing so(based on the people I know) are the same ones that jump on to whatever bandwagon is currently popular.
    Trends like the IPOD–really how many versions of the same device are consumers going to buy? That turns me off to certain devices. Change is good but sometimes it is overkill. Some people don\’t want to upgrade there T.V.s just because they don\’t understand the concepts of HDTV. For instance, my grandparents recently got a 50\’in HDTV. They don\’t watch any HD programming hell for that matter they don\’t even know what HD means, they watch the news. They got the thing because their friends got one(keeping up with the Jones\’ is in full effect)!

    So people will upgrade. Fine we agree. I want to know what you think about the impact of \”next generation\” game consoles, like the Xbox 360 and PS3, have had and potentially will have on the future of HDTV sales.
    I think the impact has been good for HDTV sales. The market for the new game consoles is pushing the sale of HDTVs like the market was for a while with P.C.s and video cards. I can remember upgrading my video card on my P.C. and buying newer ram a couple of times a year just to boost performance. I finally wised up and realized that was a bad investment. The next gen consoles on the other hand have given me hours of entertainment for less money. I don\’t have to buy new ram, new video cards, or worry about the games not working with my chosen operating system.

    To recap, I agree with you to some extent. What do you think about trends in the HD market i.e. next gen game consoles and the HDTV market?
    later

    Comment by Bradley -

  14. Mark,

    It seems to me you are approaching the topic of technology/entertainment convergence from the \”other end\”. Instead of a PC becoming the new entertainment device standard, you predict HDTV usurping the PC. In the end they both move toward the same point: ubiquitous computing customized to the individual, by the individual. Whether my PC has a 100\” HD screen and is mounted to the wall or my HDTV is an interactive device with storage and network capabilities is irrelevant. The end game is to deliver the same content to each person as they see fit, at an interaction level of their own choosing. HDTVs with wifi and storage, Apple TV, podcasts and YouTube are intermediate steps in the race to mature, unrestricted, ubiquitous computing.

    Good luck against Golden State!

    Frank Ottati

    Comment by Frank Ottati -

  15. This article is contradicting. On one side of the contradiction I agree, on the other I dont.

    The argument is being made that you will buy a new HDTV every two years, because set-top boxes are getting smarter.

    Wouldn\’t you just buy a new set-top box every two years then, why do you need a new TV?

    TV\’s with VCR\’s integrated were second class citizens – I don\’t see this being any different. I vote the TV will continue to be a output device, what drives that will be up to the consumer.

    Comment by Marty Weel -

  16. …..then the commoditization of broadband can safely occur, because revenue shares from purchases associated with content can go to the signal providers insuring OCF in a diminishing value profile for the broadband itself. The reverse is also true when we can watch Turner Classics, imDB it and buy the DVD or, more importantly, a different DVD by the same director, let\’s say, all without getting up to go to the PC to do the lookup. Think product placement popups……..

    Comment by Lex10 -

  17. Mark, why wouldn\’t entertainment systems like the XBox provide the platform for this future breed of applications? Seems like a fairly obvious path for MS to take with their experience in operating systems and the already substantial functionality of the XBox Live system. I can download tons of software and video and it\’s a simple and familiar interface.

    Comment by Philip Matheson -

  18. Obviously, if you pull back and see the big picture in home entertain, you see HDTV. But I think Mark is overlooking the creativity involved in modular home entertainment; I\’ve got two TIVOs, an HD cable recorder box, three DVD players (one is also a recorder), a VCR, a 7.1 sound system and my home security system running through my HDTV. The new winning technologies seem likely to be things in a box; upgrades and innovations will be plug-and-play. When I unhooked other VCRs, I added Tivo and DVDs. When I swapped out my cable box, I went to HD cable. The 60\’\’ screen stayed the same. I do expect my next TV, like my computer, to have a hard drive and expansion slots, and I expect the crossover in computer/tv components to help extend its life and versatility. Two years for my next screen? I\’m guessing more like five. But I\’m also guessing that nothing connected to it at the start will be there when I swap it out again.

    Comment by Larry Lane -

  19. A lot of ideas here, but I tend to agree with most of them. The internet is outdated, in fact, and I just read some press (darn it I can\’t remember where) about the fact that the internet will also be updated in the near future. Serious development is happening now. The point being that the original internet was not created for the purposes for which it is now being used. And the reason I bought a small HDTV when I needed one recently was because I figured it was the only thing that I could carry out of the store by myself. ;) I also figured, hmmm, this is the way to go. Any improvement over that ugly box…

    Comment by Judy/JS Media -

  20. I couldn\’t think you are more wrong about what will pan out in the media space. You think so negitively about Apple TV, and these other platforms that bring your media content from your computer to your living room, but they are ones producing results.

    If you have all the ideas (and we know you have the money) then I would like see something done about it. The best ideas and solutions aren\’t always what win. It is a fantasy land to say that people will be buying new TV\’s every two years. I just bought a new Plasma TV this year, which replaced my HDTV projection TV from five years ago, and the only thing different about it is that it has a HDMI input. Not much has changed in this time, and I can\’t imagine much will in the next five.

    You seem so hung up on the way that media is being distrubuted online, and to physical TV sets. You continutally disagree with these current media strategies and say they won\’t work, but they continue to provail. I have been following your blog for over a year and it seems like you need to admit your wrong, or start some type of media solution. Put your money where your mouth is.

    Until then, I love my Apple TV, and think its a great!

    Comment by Michael -

  21. I think, that Internet is not old news. And the desktop PC is not old news. But TV will became more powerful and functional. Someone wants to work and don\’t need to watch TV.

    Comment by Yury -

  22. Perhaps I\’m just applying my own (now 8-year-old) experiences in Interactive TV to the wrong market, but I think you\’re completely and totally wrong.

    I cannot imagine people buying TVs every two years. Most of my middle-class friends expect computers to last 5 years and televisions to last a decade or more.

    Sure, lots of us are upgrading to flat screens, but it\’s just because the men get to watch sports in HD (the only truly useful application of HD, IMO), and the women get a TV in a form factor that is far less dominating.

    Men might buy your 100 inch TVs. Single men. But outside of bachelors and the occasional \”media room\”, they\’ll be rare. They won\’t be in our bedrooms, and we won\’t replace them every two years.

    Hooking a cheap computer (like a Mac Mini) up to a TV makes far more sense than embedding the same technology directly in the TV.

    You often make interesting and trenchant points, but this is not one of those times. This time, you\’re dead wrong, and out of touch with the middle-class mindset.

    Comment by Kevin Way -

  23. I can\’t imagine why anyone would buy an iTV. You can\’t take it with you. I have a ZEN:Vision M that works like a DRV, downloads great content from Unbox and Wal-mart and I can take it anywhere I want. If I want to see it on a big screen, I just plug it into my TV and watch in DVD quality. I can\’t wait till HD Content is available this way. It just takes 1-Click to get this content from Amazon and the internet, through my PC, gets me to all this content. iTunes has been a huge disappointment, as I\’m not that interested in Disney content. For now, this seems to be a great solution.

    Comment by ikkkk -

  24. I forgot one other thing: It would be nice if the networks provided access to their streaming content via TiVo or some other TV-oriented format rather than through the PC. It\’s so annoying to watch TV shows on PC and lose the quality of sound, picture and comfort of the couch.

    Comment by cnmar -

  25. As long as my HDTV has an Internet connection, a big hard drive, a RSS reader to pull down my video podcasts, and a nice menu to display them … well, actually I would rather use a $500 linux PC for this then have to worry about my HDTV crashing. However I do want a nice big display for this content.

    Comment by klewjd -

  26. Interesting insight, and I do agree with a lot of what you said here. However, it appears that you maintain a distinction between PC and TV, when in fact the future TVs you described appear to blur that distinction.

    You\’re going to have to replace your TV every couple of years? TVs will have an IP address and internet connectivity? New and unique apps will be developed for the TV? Interactive platforms?

    Sounds like a whole lot of convergence between TVs and PCs. Should we even call them TV\’s anymore?

    Comment by wsifoe -

  27. I see where Mark is coming from, but I will NOT buy a new TV every two years. I have better things to spend my money on than a thousand bucks a pop for a TV every 24 months. I\’d rather take a nice vacation with my wife, which we\’d talk about for years, than buy an expensive TV which will show me… in high definition (HD is good!)… 500 channels of crap! Technology is great, but know when to say when. And not everyone can spend like the world is a toy store.

    Comment by ikkia. -

  28. I\’ve no doubt you\’re spot-on. Personally, I\’m in that smaller demographic of those who use TVs sparingly. If I want to watch a show or a movie, I\’d like the TV to just do its original job of being a display unit. A huge, clear, HD screen is naturally highly desirable — especially if they become as affordable as you\’ve mentioned. But, interconnectivity, on-demand, interactivity, internet browsing, and all that other mumbo jumbo isn\’t important to me. Just sounds like expensive, time-sucking toys. Again, I\’ll concede being in the minority, though.

    Comment by travel -

  29. \”No original technology, but a new application of old features is what great ideas and great marketing thrive on\”

    The wii.

    Comment by jullio -

  30. \”Its time for everyone to realize that the internet is old news. Its a mature utility, which is the greatest compliment you can give it. The desktop PC is old news.\”

    \”If the question is \”Whats Next \”, the answer begins with \”Watch TV\”\”

    You are right: the DESKTOP PC is old news.

    But that\’s where it gets interesting: with the new generation of laptops being able to display 1080p you are suddenly introducing portability into the HDTV equation. (Remember, one of the reasons HDTV wouldnt fly on ipods is because people that tasted HDTV would never compromise to lower resolution that is offered by ipods).

    And if all your displaying devices share the same format in the same quality then what you will be talking about is 1)portable storage that can be connected between any displaying device and 2)fast ubiquitous networking to feed the storage and interconnect devices (cabling will do too of course).

    The content can come from anywhere, not limited to TV channels.

    If you have a storage device that can download stuff from your DVR back to the lappie or get torrent content from the computer and display on the living room TV, then you have the best of both worlds! Including portability without compromise…and that\’s SO key.

    More and more people will chose to have laptops with very portable storage that can be connected to the TV easily (or wirelessly)

    Why?

    Because the simple fact that you can enjoy what you want at any time you want in the device you want WHERE you want is killer.

    The desktop is dead. But light notebooks with great screens are the rage.

    You can carry your favorite shows with you anywhere and enjoy them at the same quality as you can in the TV back home. That\’s attractive (ok you wont have big speakers but…).

    People will spend more time with their laptops, which is their portable HD TVs. The laptop will be the center of the universe and not the static 100 inches tv. This will be were the family will watch stuff together but my guess is the percentage of time spent this way will decrease.

    Not only that: with the increase of the number of sources of information (hundreds of tv channels plus youtube plus torrents plus whatever) and the portability of technology, more and more hours will be spent on the long tail content that requires PERSONAL displaying devices to be enjoyed. People\’s tastes will be so personalized that the technology they need to enjoy this degree of personalization will need to follow the trend and become personal as well, meaning more devices, hopefully without compromising quality, which IS a possibility.

    We are all assuming that the way we consume content is exactly the same over time. That\’s wrong. As soon as you start playing with a lot of portability and ubiquitous content, you will spend your time differently. And that changes the game completely.

    Comment by Henrique Valle -

  31. Hi Mark,

    I am not a computer expert, technologist nor do I aspire to become one. As a matter of fact this is my first time communicating an idea thru this medium. I even had to ask a friend of mine what \”blog\” was…
    Anyway, here it is and let\’ see if anyone will respond.

    I read attentively your forward thinking comments on the convergence of TV and Internet. I also listened carefully to Bill Gates speech on the same topic at the CES convention in Vegas.
    As you know, there are many formulas and sophisticated instruments to try to predict and catch the next wave in consumer likes. From feeding economic data to a super computer on people\’s age, gender, net worth, ethnicity, cultural background, socio-economical aspirations, the choice is vast and if you can come up wit the right product at the right time you can make a bundle (i.e.: 100 million ipods sold so far and counting).
    As a Frenchman, I saw and used 30 years ago a device called Minitel. However, it took American intuitivism, and high entrepreneurial American guts to make it what it is now: The Internet.
    I read all the comments to your initial blog and was very impressed because every one who responded had pertinent information, laid out some well thought ideas and showed a high level of honesty/integrity discussing a much targeted subject matter.
    Which brings me to my first point: our basic needs, desires and aspirations are the only factors that drive technology. If not, technology is merely a gadget that will fade as quickly as it is created. In the case of the internet, it responds to a primary need to communicate with one another and be validated. In the case of TV, it feeds our primary needs to be entertained and challenged as it is an inextricable part of our societal development. Those fundamental needs will never cease.
    This brings me to my main and very personal point. The basic needs, desires and aspirations of my own client base led me to develop a product that had to address those needs. This device \”happened\” to be at the confluence of TV and Internet, as it is the only way that it could function and be marketed properly. A preliminary test market of the concept with a selected audience showed \”extraordinary\” results and I now feel \”pushed\” by my customers to implement it on a larger scale. For obvious reasons I will not elaborate more on the product as it is still in a developmental phase, but I am working with some of the sharpest minds in this country in regards to web network engineering and web platform implementation. I am still seeking advice, guidance from people who truly are at the cutting edge of this industry, understand the technological side of it and can implement a frame that works as I do not have that type of expertise.
    The business model calls for multiple revenue sources, monthly subscription, advertising (such as Comcast) but also content creation, production and distribution. This concept is actually taking a life of its own creating communications frenzy (in a microscopic scale for now) amongst my client base regionally, nationally and internationally to a level that I never anticipated. The TV/internet merger provides a tool to small businesses that was only accessible to large corporations. Fully implemented it will redefine the landscape of how small businesses communicate and interact with their own client base.
    In other words, this preamble was to lay the foundation of what I am marketing is not about technology. It is merely the implementation of a primary need thru technology.
    It is a very simplistic concept that requires the most advanced technologies to exist and all of the traditional tools of a regular corporation. This TV/internet merger is the ideal and the only conduit to my knowledge for this business model.
    At this point there is no need to get into more details and it is not the intent of this email but the timing is now and I am willing to meet or talk to anyone that may show a level of interest. Please drop me a line or let me know how to proceed next as I am still very new at this.

    Thanks,

    Michel Thomas

    Comment by Michel Thomas -

  32. I\’ve been dreaming for years of a day when I could open, dare I say, Google to find shows that *I* care about and then have them streamed instantly to my waiting PVR.

    I know newer TV\’s, and just about every other appliance in our home, will have an IP address in the future. I\’m sure we would all appreciate our freezer at home emailing us when the compresser dies to let us know before all of our food spoils.

    I would love to program my TV to look out for new shows, alert and record them automatically for me.. I know Tivo\’s do this, but you are still relying on the garbage put out by the mainstream television media.

    I want garbage, put out by Joe Sixpack!!

    Comment by Redneck King -

  33. I want to know why a television company can\’t make televisions with computers in them.
    - You could pull internet (broadband) and television from the same cable cord
    - You could watch downloaded content without doing a thing, and play music on your surround sound much easier
    - You could use it like a DVR
    - Companies could sell them every couple of years, since the HDTV and the computer part would eventually get outdated
    - They could be made with plenty of memory, in the 1 terabyte range, for marginally more (when considering the entire price)
    - Cable companies could introduce new and exciting features to their service, through the internet, or over the cable that only a combined pc and television could do
    - Most of all, it\’s easy to market to the general audience, who I consistently remind you all, is not someone like yourself, who reads this blog (keep that in mind).

    Comment by Joah -

  34. Over the past couple years, as I\’ve started raising my 2 young boys, I find less and less time to basically \”geek out\” and fiddle with PC-to-TV connectivity, much less kill hours going on scavenger hunts for decent content at a high enough quality.

    As those two little dudes keep growing and get involved in activities, school & sports, I\’ll have even less time to seek out web-based content. It\’s similar to the \”100 channels but nothing to watch\” joke, except now it\’s \”5,000 video websites and nothing to watch.\” 320×240 resolution blows, and it would be nice to see some better compression methods used to allow for at least SD broadcast res (720×480).

    So I guess the point I keep kind of sliding away from is this…eventually, the mass public doesn\’t have time to seek out the Internet video offerings. The main draw for Internet video will be niched content; local high school sports productions, a sewing channel, things like that.

    But overall, the ability of a cable/sat provider to drop hundreds of broadcast quality channels (with an always increasing slate of high def offerings) at your feet in an instant will, I believe, trump any kind of reliance on the Internet for the majority of your viewed programs.

    Comment by Neal -

  35. \”In 3 years the mainstream TV will be 70\” and cost less than $1500. In 5 years, it could be 100\” for $2500 dollars \”

    The Moore Law is valid because you are *compressing* more transistors in the same area of silicon i.e. you are using the same raw materials but doing more with it.

    The same thing happening in TVs is physically impossible.

    To increase TV size you need to increase the quantity of raw materials, transportation costs, electricity consumption (more pixels tot light up), etc, etc, etc. And these things CANNOT, by force of nature, follow the same cost path as you are suggesting.

    The reason the price of TVs is falling now is because of an increase in supply and NOT because of a breakthrough in productivity/manufacturing.

    Comment by Henrique Valle -

  36. Unfortunate that you are equating the American market with the rest of the world Mark. There may be thousands of channels and a growing demand for HD in the US, but in a lot of the rest of the world HD is barely making a scratch. I live in Europe and haven\’t bought a new TV for 10 years. My 32\” Sony Trinitron does the job wonderfully. On the other hand, I\’ve spent lots of money on both devices that attach to the TV and on computers and devices that help me consume media in new ways (mobile telephones, MP3 players etc).

    There are imho no paradigm shifts associated with HD television. It doesn\’t allow the user completely new ways of interacting/consuming media. It doesn\’t place control in the hands of the user. It doesn\’t allow me to be master of my own content with a chance of becoming famous/rich/interesting if enough other people think my content is cool. Instead it is still a centralised broadcast model when the rest of the world is moving towards a decentralised microcasting future.

    Comment by Steve Cook -

  37. I don\’t think you understand the Apple TV. This is a 1.0 rellease. The Apple TV is the first step in being more interactive with your TV and your content. As it matures it will give you more control over what you create and what you discover on the internet. It will become the ultimate viewer controlled TV experience. Your complaints about Apple TV are very similar to what people said about the iPod when it was released and then what people said about watching video on a small iPod screen; those people were wrong too. You don\’t get it. And, for me, I will put my money on Steve Jobs, not you. Steve has a plan to transform the way we manage content and is taking the early steps to make this happen. Creating HD Net (a channell very few people can watch) and releasing movies on DVD as they are released in theaters is not much progress. Rather than bash others efforts, put your money where you mouth is… Apple Computer is doing that.

    Comment by Jay -

  38. Wow, your reader comments are quite impressive. Congrats on having so many readers who care.

    I am confused as to why this is even a question. The cost of the hardware to connect to the internet is getting tiny. HDTVs are basically just big screens. Why won\’t they all just incorporate the ability to hook up to the web? Why try and build a new infrastructure, network and content when the internet is already full built and capable?

    Comment by Zach Coelius -

  39. Mark you are beginning to sound a lot like the Magnificent Karnak.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7RWaIURRIQ

    Comment by grillcheese -

  40. bad link at the end of the page \”Next Page\”

    Go Mavs

    Comment by Alessandro -

  41. Mark – Great – I do hope you are right I could use s 1500 50\’\’ TV

    – and I haev always thought of a TV interaction system similar to the Wii. I would liek to see a –

    WEbTv/PC/300 gig HD/ – wireless keyboard and – a pointer remote (wii)

    – all for $50 a month / 120 Channels …

    Comment by pallet jack -

  42. Ha! You are so right. Though I agree with Josh Bernoff in his comment that it may not be precisely the TV that gets upgraded, but the set-top. Also, from a technology standpoint, it\’s pretty darn easy to add Internet capability to a TV or set-top. Once you do that, you can move on to new applications on a more robust and secure network via the platforms you mentioned. (I love that you mentioned OCAP.)

    More on this topic from a Motorola perspective at: http://connectedhome2go.com/2007/03/07/on-apple-tv/

    Comment by Mari -

  43. Mark,

    I agree with everything you said about AppleTV. It\’s an outdated idea and an ass-backwards one at that. Download movies and TV shows to your computer to show on your TV???? As opposed to say, just downloading movies and TV shows to your DVR? I don\’t get it. As if Youtube videos aren\’t grainy enough on a 320×240 box, I want to blow up a 10fps clip to 60 inches on my HDTV so my whole family can go blind watching some idiot put Mentos in his Coke.

    I partially disagree with you about the TV sets v. Computer argument. You may not have noticed but most of the laptops out there are total garbage with batteries that are drained before the warranty runs out, keys that pop out if you push too hard, and screens that give out within six months (Dell, I\’m talking to YOU!). On the other hand, you are right about TV set replacement. The whole Image-Quality-Upgrade-Scam on television sets is part of a Great Hype Machine designed to make people replace their perfectly working and reliable Console TV sets with fragile and unreliable Flat Screens that will need repairs or replacement in a matter of months, not years. Personally, I can\’t wait for the Blu-Ray DVD scam to go bust. $1000 for a DVD player to watch Groundhog Day in Ultra Hi-Res and see every single crater on Bill Murray\’s pock-marked face? No thanks!

    Special \”Dirka Dirka\” Ed

    Comment by Special Ed -

  44. Following are a number of factors to support Mark\’s vision:
    1. Sofa. It\’s always more confortable to watch something when we sit on a sofa. You can hold a laptop but it\’s much less confortable.
    2. More and more people use computer in their day job. Why do they want to use computers after hour all the time?
    3. Distance: PC is to close to me.
    4. Family time: we need some social time within the family besides the dinner time.
    5. Smart remote control.

    Comment by Dou Hu -

  45. Mark- this is a bold position, not one that I embrace all the way. While TVs clearly will have more computing capacity, the one thing they will not have is exactly what has made the Ipod the success it is…the file management, interface, grouping, etc that is Itunes. I also agree with other posts that the TV, while a dominant display, will predominantly be just that, a display. I would venture to bet the USB port will be as important as any other entrance into the TV, as wireless is ultimately reliant on the true last few feet. Ever watch teenagers share photos and music within the same physical environment? They all have flash drives. Now that still would require some level of interface into either a TV or a box, not sure which one wins out; yet not sure it really matters, as the money flows with getting content into the library. I am not saying flash drives are the end all be all, but I do believe that type of transportable technology (Ipods also) validate the intelligence of a PC, combined with the technical maturity of the consumers point to the PC as the center piece of Web 1.0-web.infinity. My thoughts- Harvey

    Comment by Harvey Benedict -

  46. The washington post now has a HD Podcast … http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/mmedia/podcastfront.htm

    … the key is to use RSS … you subscribe once and then content just shows up … we need to let go of this idea of leaning forward and clicking on a link to download or stream something … believe me, once you subscribe to a bunch of podcasts you will have tons of content to watch … you wont care that each one took hours to download because you wont be able to catch up to the great content that has downloaded yesterday! Just like blogs and audio podcasts … you will have more than you can possibly consume in any one sitting … or two.

    Comment by Erik Herz -

  47. Why is there so much concentration on the TV versus the PC? Here I was seeing there being less distinction between the two. Many of the opinions above speak directly to this without drawing the same conclusion. Look at the new gaming systems. A Nintendo is no longer a gaming console; its simply a specialized PC. So when we talk about the Apple TV… isn\’t it just another flavor of the TV becoming more flexible, customer focused and eventually interactive?

    By the way you do work in the TV industry but your blog entries do not have to sound like infomercials for your own profit… but I always look for both sides to an argument and its refreshing to see someone believe so heavily in what they do.

    Cheers.

    Comment by Chad Weinman -

  48. Erik, yes I know how it works. I have an Apple TV and love it. What I was trying to say is that right now, broadcast works as most people expect and IP doesn\’t. At T1 speed, I have to download for 2 hours to watch just one, and that\’s not HD. My grandmother would never download a movie to watch later. Even cable\’s on demand system has a bit too much latency for her tastes. When IP can delivery near zero latency for popular programming, the concept of channels will be in serious danger. A reintermediation will take place. I think however, that Mark is betting on the channels for now, and it\’s probably a safe bet 5 years out. I sure wish he\’d hedge on the Internet though. I\’d plunk down $2/episode for many of the things he has on HDNet that I can\’t get because my cable company doesn\’t have a deal with his network. Make sense?

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  49. TV is mostly entertainment, web browsing is mostly educational/interactive. There is something about using the internet that has spoiled me – I have less patience for TV now. Maybe it\’s the lack of control, the lack of diverse content, the passive nature of the experience, or maybe it\’s all the advertisements. High def TV isn\’t worth paying for – like putting a lot of money into a car you don\’t drive much anymore. Personally, I\’m going to use the cost of a flat panel TV to buy a bigger screen for my computer and use it to watch TV shows downloaded from the iTunes store.

    Comment by Dale S. -

  50. Brad … stuff does not have to come down in real time … you will subscribe to a bunch of video podcasts and it will all just trickle down into a big hard drive … you will watch what has been downloaded already and you will soon be overloaded with so much great content that you wont have time to watch it all … the whole concept of broadcasting, time slots, and \”live\” TV will disappear … more on this AppleTV revolution here: http://podslug.com/blog/?p=90

    Comment by Erik Herz -

  51. Thats like getting a new TV the day they started putting a DVD player inside a TV set. Its helpful and cool, but not necessary. A television HD or otherwise is simply a display. There is no compelling reason to replace this unless the display part of it is no longer acceptable. [1080p will remain acceptable to consumers for longer than you think. Look at all the effort required to get people to make the switch to them.]

    Thus, so long as the actual display is up to date, one can always upgrade the additional components to remain up to date.

    A new TV that contains an IP address, a harddrive, an a wifi chip is not much different than a PC inside of a TV. This is just like a DVD player inside of a TV. When the DVD player fails, who wants to fix the entire set? People realize that having components not only makes it easier to upgrade but it also limits your vulnerbility to failure.

    People upgrade their iMacs every few years because once the insides are obsolete, the display can no longer be used. There are no video inputs. THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH AN HDTV, THUS PEOPLE WILL NOT BE SO QUICK TO ABANDON A TV THAT HAS A QUALITY HIGH RESOLUTION DISPLAY AND A NUMBER OF DIGITAL INPUTS.

    Then again, I\’m at work and haven\’t really thought this through for very long.

    -Zach

    Comment by Zach -

  52. Wow Mark. You are usually dead on this stuff. I got an Apple TV from the Fed Ex truck the day it was out, having waited more than a month since my order was placed. The device totally rocks. You say the TV is the thing that will be upgraded often. I think a $1000ish 720p set is capable enough and this guy could be the thing that gets periodically upgraded at $300 a pop.

    It comes down to bandwidth: broadcast (cable, satellite) vs. internet protocol. Right now, cable and satellite model has the advantage because they carry more effective programming bandwidth, i.e. hundreds of HD channels with current technology. Bundling, which is coming under attack by anti-monopoly liberals and prudish Christian-right types, makes the model especially viable. But when broadband is able to reliably deliver HD programming to a critical mass of consumers in real time, it\’s hard to see how it doesn\’t win. People are seriously pissed off at the aggregators now. NBC cancelled the best show on TV, The Black Donnellys, despite it being the 5th most popular show on iTunes in its short run, up there with the likes of 24 and South Park. Does anyone dare watch \”Drive\” and pray it doesn\’t suffer the same fate at the hands of Fox as did Firefly? How many times do we peons have to call our cable operators to ask for HDNet? Am I the only one who is cynical about several channels in the Discovery network \”going green\”, surely at the expense of really great programming they have on there now?

    IP provides a chance at reintermediation of programming delivery that won\’t choke us by geographical bounds or bonehead network decisions. The question is whether it can compete technically with the old model. It\’s damned close, and the Apple TV makes the difference fairly tolerable now. It most certainly does with the unreleased Black Donnellys episodes.

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  53. I can\’t imagine why anyone would buy an iTV. You can\’t take it with you. I have a ZEN:Vision M that works like a DRV, downloads great content from Unbox and Wal-mart and I can take it anywhere I want. If I want to see it on a big screen, I just plug it into my TV and watch in DVD quality. I can\’t wait till HD Content is available this way. It just takes 1-Click to get this content from Amazon and the internet, through my PC, gets me to all this content. iTunes has been a huge disappointment, as I\’m not that interested in Disney content. For now, this seems to be a great solution.

    Comment by Linda Nelson -

  54. Mark,

    Great blog–but how about we move on to another topic besides internet video? Things like affiliate marketing, how the Internet is changing our shopping habits, personal experiences that have made you so successful in marketing? This would be most useful in my opinion.

    Regards,
    Will
    Portland, ME

    Comment by Will -

  55. I see where Mark is coming from, but I will NOT buy a new TV every two years. I have better things to spend my money on than a thousand bucks a pop for a TV every 24 months. I\’d rather take a nice vacation with my wife, which we\’d talk about for years, than buy an expensive TV which will show me… in high definition (HD is good!)… 500 channels of crap! Technology is great, but know when to say when. And not everyone can spend like the world is a toy store.

    Comment by Steve Cumming -

  56. Cringely thinks that Apple will be adding H264 encode/decode chips to their whole line of computers … Soon a $500 Mac Mini will be able to render HD video pretty nicely … maybe the mini will ship with HDMI out … and with a TV tuner/cable card, perhaps it could encode them just as easily as a DVR … http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070308_001806.html

    … but I do still think that we will find better content online than on air …

    Comment by Erik Herz -

  57. I forgot one other thing: It would be nice if the networks provided access to their streaming content via TiVo or some other TV-oriented format rather than through the PC. It\’s so annoying to watch TV shows on PC and lose the quality of sound, picture and comfort of the couch.

    Comment by The_Lex -

  58. My HDTV already has an IP address, courtesy of my TiVo. I also love having access to http://live365.com via Tivo, along with the pictures on my computer HD, the yahoo weather report and also movie listings. TiVo Gen 2 works real great, and I\’ve only had to pay the monthly subscription payment while not paying for the hardware, working similar to a cell phone subscription (low pay for the hardware & monthly pay for the service).

    Have to disagree with the PC upgrading. I would\’ve agreed with you a couple days ago before I upgraded my Web browser and ran Disk Cleaner (along with the usual Adware stuff, registry cleaner, defragmenter, etc. etc.). Now, though, my computer from four years ago feels practically like new. I\’ll eventually get myself a laptop for portability, but that will probably happen later compared to sooner since the performance has improved a lot with my computer by simply keeping it maintained.

    As for buying new HDTV sets, I have to agree with other people. I want it for the quality of picture (unfortunately, I need to get a new cable box for the improved picture), not for other features. I\’ve got my TiVo, DVD player, cable box, sound system, etc. etc. to take care of all that. I\’m guessing there\’ll be people out there who will want something all-in-1, like those stereos and other entertainment systems. In general, though, I agree with other people. I don\’t want to be lugging around huge, bulky equipment when I could just pay a couple hundred for a set-top box. It\’s a lot less of a hassle, even if the wiring can get tricky and annoying sometimes.

    Comment by The_Lex -

  59. your comments about the internet being a \”mature product in a mature environment\” are dead on. you have to remember laughing at the folks that sat and scratched their heads in awe years ago when we were plugging radio shack fm tuners into the sound cards of a dell computer in order to broadcast live radio station streams over the internet. although simple, it provided a lot of convenience to a lot of people that we unable to listen to their favorite station, sports broadcast, etc.

    your comments about people getting a new tv every two years is also dead on, *assuming* the manufacturers build in some really strong features that make it worth it to me. the prices are going to keep going down, we all know this part. i don\’t see myself pulling my tv off of the wall to get two more lines of resolution every two years, but if the new set provides some new compelling features i\’ll get that new tv every two years for sure and i know i am not alone.

    just give me convenience. that is what it is all about. gimme a tv where i can watch what i want when i want and give me a portable device where i can do the same. in real estate it is location location location. in this situation it is \”on demand and convenience\” and that is about it!

    Comment by Jordan Blum -

  60. In terms of media, we could watch TV to see what the future holds. But I think the bigger shift in lifestyle (in the home anyway) will come from successful implementation of mesh networks. They have the potential to actually change the way we live in our homes. With TV, no matter what happens to it, we\’re just sitting on a couch or in a chair and watching video (even if it becomes interactive).

    Though perhaps my comment is outside the current universe of discourse. :)

    Comment by Robert Park -

  61. Mark — as an analyst who\’s been watching this space for 12 years, I see a little different future from yours.

    First of all, there\’s no need to upgrade your $2000 TV when you can upgrade a $250 set top box. The display won\’t change, the capabilities will. (Sony and Panasonic WISH you were right, because their TV sales will suffer otherwise.)

    Second, the space on top of the TV is resistant to new devices. This means the new box had better be pretty good. Imagine a high-definition TiVo with CableCARD and connections to Internet content. (Actually, TiVo already makes that product but it costs more than $250 right now.) The cable guys won\’t want you to have this product and access to Web content, but DirecTV and Dish will — so it might come in a satellite set-top box flavor.

    Or it could be the next generation of Apple TV, with HD content and video recording included.

    That\’s the box that will unlock things and threaten the TV status quo.

    I agree with you that the action will be on the TV side, not the PC. PCs with video are interesting. TVs with on-demand access to millions of HD videos, games, and stuff like that — now it starts to get a lot more interesting.

    /josh

    Comment by Josh Bernoff -

  62. The technology always works. It may sound crazy to some, but thats the reality. The internet as a connectivity utility and the browser are mature application platforms.

    Comment by web me -

  63. I\’ve no doubt you\’re spot-on. Personally, I\’m in that smaller demographic of those who use TVs sparingly. If I want to watch a show or a movie, I\’d like the TV to just do its original job of being a display unit. A huge, clear, HD screen is naturally highly desirable — especially if they become as affordable as you\’ve mentioned. But, interconnectivity, on-demand, interactivity, internet browsing, and all that other mumbo jumbo isn\’t important to me. Just sounds like expensive, time-sucking toys. Again, I\’ll concede being in the minority, though.

    Comment by Patrick Hillman -

  64. I agree with part of what you say.

    Yes I consider buying a new HDTV more often than buying a new computer and WEB 2.0 has some nice products. Also would rather watch HD.net or Blu-ray than Internet content of any kind.

    But I also have an Apple TV and really enjoy having it. The reason is user generated content and not the kind you will ever find on YouTube. Before the Apple TV I never had an \”enjoyable\” way that \”just worked\” to enjoy the pictures I took with my digital camera that I love, but never print. Now I can look at them on my 55\” HDTV (yes I actually do it). Also enjoy listening to the CDs I ripped on my HT system without being bothered with plugging something in or buying a $2000 sonos or TotalRequest box. Not to mention I like to see the cover art when browsing through my collection.
    Video podcasts are also nice, but find that I only like short form, meaning less than 10 minutes, if its any longer I am going to need HD and real surround sound.

    While the Apple TV or any other media streamer for that matter can\’t do what my TiVo Series3 or Blu-ray player can do, it can do some things very well that my primary devices can\’t — at least not in a satisfactory way. (Yes I also have a Xbox360 and no I don\’t think it does a good job with pictures or music)

    Ben

    Comment by Ben Drawbaugh -

  65. The other big jump that we are about to see is advertisers getting back into your tv viewing experience. The DVR may have eliminated your current commercial viewing experience but your HDTV connected to the Internet is about to pull you back in big time.

    As more and more TV\’s get hooked into the Internet the ability for advertisers to make your commercial viewing experience interactive, competitive and compelling will increase.

    You will soon be able to compete real time with thousands of other viewers for prizes, coupons, and cash by simply watching commercials and being the first one to get commercial bingo, answer the trivia question correctly, spot \”Waldo\” and all the other thousands of games they will come up with.

    The shows you watch will also incorporate the same interactive features and will build in loyalty by rewarding long time, regular viewers with bonus points, etc.

    Comment by Aaron Larson -

  66. As long as my HDTV has an Internet connection, a big hard drive, a RSS reader to pull down my video podcasts, and a nice menu to display them … well, actually I would rather use a $500 linux PC for this then have to worry about my HDTV crashing. However I do want a nice big display for this content.

    My point is that I am finding much better content on the Internet than from my cable service. For example today I found this Revision3 interview of John Todd of the Asterisk project: http://revision3.com/systm/asterisk … can you point to any comparable shows on network or cable tv?

    Comment by Erik Herz -

  67. Wow, you addressed a lot of points here. I agree with most of them, and one or two i don\’t even know. I think you nailed it about the TV becoming the upgradeable item right now but I think there is probably a cyclical pattern here.

    My take o apple TV is that apple is gambling that there are many people who want to have an Apple TV like device but have been put off by complicated setup procedures. I don\’t think this is true personally, but even if it is it is a failed business model. Most peopel who have massive content on their computers did not obtain it legally. (I am not even sure if backing up personal DVD collections is legal as of right now, I have heard mixed reports). either way, catering to these people worked for the Ipod but TV is another matter. People don\’t watch TV the way they listen to music. People like to veg out in front of the TV but with music it tends to be a background thing.

    I think it is also wrong to say the net is a mature entity. It is very hard to predict what increasing bandwidth and computing power will allow the net to do. You tube could not have existed during dial up era.

    Comment by superdave -

  68. Interesting insight, and I do agree with a lot of what you said here. However, it appears that you maintain a distinction between PC and TV, when in fact the future TVs you described appear to blur that distinction.

    You\’re going to have to replace your TV every couple of years? TVs will have an IP address and internet connectivity? New and unique apps will be developed for the TV? Interactive platforms?

    Sounds like a whole lot of convergence between TVs and PCs. Should we even call them TV\’s anymore?

    Comment by amish -

  69. You must be smoking the HD.Net corporate crack pipe.

    \”Upgrading TV\’s every two years?\” Come on, give us a break.

    I purchased a 30\” analog 15 years ago and never upgraded until this year because HD is such a big jump in quality. But I guarantee you that I\’ll not upgrade in two years because some yahoo company put a browser in their new TV.

    Last comment… You said the Internet and PC is old news. Well… TV IS EVEN OLDER AND MORE BORING. Why do you think people are getting more and more entertainment from the Internet? When NBC dumps two shows mid year at the same time slot (Studio 60 and Black Something\’s) you know that there is just no imagination or talent at the studios anymore.

    Why do you think there are so many jokes about 100 channels and nothing to watch.

    TV is at the end of the big ride. HD may extend the media for a few years, but YOU are seeing the begining of the end. Of course something could come along better than American Idol that brings back the media, but I have serious doubts.

    When reality TV runs it course what are we left with? Really? A great looking medium with nothing to really maintain our interests?

    I guess I\’ll have to surf the net or get on some lame, boring chat room…

    Comment by Herschel -

  70. Your post is quite interesting and makes total sense. Computers aren\’t really changing, minus the \”media center\” pc, which is practically obsolete already with tivos and other dvrs. However, the real question is whether or not the general public will ever embrace interactive television. I think there is a huge majority of the over-30 or over-40 demo that will never participate in interactive tv just because the way they enjoy tv is completely passive. They want to sit there and not think, not move, not interact at all. I think the same thing holds for a smaller majority of the younger generations. Americans just want to use their televisions to be lazy, to avoid doing other things, and to tune out the world.

    I suspect this technology is going to take longer than you think to really catch on, because it\’s going to have to reach a point where some generation is just \”used to it.\” You\’ll be right about early adopters; if this stuff becomes readily available as soon as you say, lots of geeks and people who don\’t know what to spend their money on will have it immediately. From there out, it\’s going to take word of mouth to spread it. These early adopters will have kids who have friends over to \”play with the tv,\” and then when those kids grow up, they\’ll want to have it themselves.

    However, as fast as everything gets adopted nowadays compared to the time it took things like color TVs, VCRs, CDs, and DVDs, i could be completely out of touch. But knowing how big interactive TV has been in Europe for some years now, why hasn\’t it caught on here?

    Comment by Scott Allen -

  71. Mark,

    I\’ve been an avid lurker of your blog for quite some time and your insights are always intriguing, even if I don\’t share them at times. I think you\’re not touching on a couple of things about TV/HDTVs and PCs that will have a significant impact on where the world is moving.

    First, the television is inherently a passive medium. This behavior has been ingrained in our DNA since we started watching as children. The PC is inherently an interactive medium — rare is it that you will find someone on a PC who doesn\’t have half a dozen applications open, if not more. The advent of PIP and multiple tuners has enabled us to watch more than one program at a time, but in practice, aside from the rare sporting event here and there, people don\’t use this functionality. When we watch TV, we\’re far less interested in a clunky remote control interface to type in words or \”interact\” with our shows in realtime. To your point, interactive television has been around for over a decade and it has consistently failed. The market has spoken on this topic time and again, and yet people keep trying to resurrect it and it will continue to predictably fail. Things like PPV or \”OnDemand\” have been largely successful because all they do is simplify the process of buying/viewing content I\’m interesting in. I\’m not, however, interested in participating in an interactive survey of how I think the next episode of \”Heroes\” is going to turn out while I\’m watching.

    The second point I think you leave out is that we\’re an increasingly mobile society and what we care about less and less is the device (HDTVs in this case) and a lot more about viewing the content that I use that device for. I want to watch last night\’s \”24\” that I missed on my iPod while I\’m on the subway to work. DVRs like TiVo have been largely successful because they record the content we want so that we can watch it when we want to. Some DVRs also enable us to watch it on the device we want (e.g. TivoToGo). Do I like having a huge HDTV (42\” in my case) in my living room — sure. Am I going to upgrade to a 70\” model in a couple of years? Probably not. People upgrade their PCs to laptops today far more than before, and many households are beginning to purchase a laptop for each member of the household so everyone has \”their PC\”. That happened with television long ago, but I don\’t see most families upgrading all of the family televisions every 2-3 years without a very compelling set of features.

    Then again, what do I know…I\’m just a guy in Chicago, and you\’re a gazillionaire who was really right when it counted. :)

    Comment by Habeeb J. Dihu -

  72. \”you are about to get in the habit of upgrading your TV every couple years\”

    What\’s the next leap after HDTV? Aren\’t TVs just displays rather than the processing power?

    What\’s your take on the cell phone becoming the actual PC, powering all your displays with a simple browser interface?

    In that case there\’s little reason to keep upgrading the screen, incumbant operators don\’t even have bandwidth for High-Def, let alone the next step.

    Comment by Adam Cains -

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