Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Place-shifting and web-to-tv

Location free TV
, and the Slingbox by SlingMedia are place-shifting technologies. They allow you to watch "your TV" from a PC/smartphone through the internet - from anywhere in the world. And InFunGo> has a software solution that connects your mobile devices to your home media server, from anywhere in the world.

What does "your TV" mean when TV moves to the web. Similar to Google Web Apps, "your Excel" is available wherever you and a working browser happen to be. Ditto your pictures on Flickr or your home movies on YouTube. Place-shifting becomes meaningless when the media is on a server for anyone to access if authorized.

Broadcast TV excels at quality (production, acting, and predictability).
Live means live regardless of how many people are watching. But you pay for it with longer and longer ads. And there is a growing trend to "free" actors (who can't act). The barriers for production and distribution keep dropping. Web TV will excel at variety - any topic at any time. Instead of 50M people watching one show, 50M people watch 50M shows. Many believe there is a collective desire to watch a show everyone else is watching. Everyone can talk about the same show the next day at the water cooler at work or the social network equivalent. Web-to-TV threatens to change that.

Is there utility in combining web media with broadcast media? The networks want their audience to switch back and forth between broadcast TV and companion web content - during a commercial, or after the show is over. (They do this to supplement ad revenue lost to DVR ad-skipping - a $30B loss by some estimates.)

Ultimately web content and broadcast content could be combined on the same widescreen. Early examples of this exist today. Mainstream solutions will require new ways to control and lean-forward content with lean-back content.

No comments: