Posted by: Jack Santos
Let me preface this post by stating that I don’t consider myself a videophile, or even an audiophile. I have friends (like Mike Clapis, owner of Clapis Associates, or Dave Passmore, Research Director of our network strategies group) that would probably puke at what I have done with my flat screen TV.
But I just accomplished something with my home media setup that I can only say is what EVERYONE will be doing within 5 years. This also explains, in tangible terms, the recent acquisition of NBC universal by Comcast.
You see, I HATE that I am paying Comcast over $100 a month for what amounts to about 5 hours a month of TV watching (but includes 24X7 internet usage). I also have wireless 3G access which, though not as fast as 8Mb/sec Comcast, is good enough at 1-2 Mbs. And I pay for Netflix, which now offers online viewing of movies.
When I first started thinking about doing this I was told by a lot of nay-sayers all these “the sun will get in your eyes” excuses for why it won’t work:
Not enough bandwidth
Downloads will take too long
Picture/video quality will be horrible
PC isn’t powerful enough
Playback will constantly stop/start for a variety of factors
It won’t be easy to use for the average Joe
Two years ago that may have all been true. What a difference time makes.
This week I cut my cable, and hooked my flat screen monitor up to the internet via a PC. And now my access to content (free and pay) is even greater than what I had available via Comcast and “on-demand”. The real bennie is the easier user interface – windows based, point and click (a pox on cable directories). Much of it through a consolidated video search engine: “clicker.com”. Video quality for the most part is as good as snow free, ghost free old time broadcast quality, and in some cases approaches 720P HD quality; 1080 is on the way. YouTube, others are pushing the envelope on quality. There is very little herky-jerky stop/start stuff going on, and I can still have PC window sessions and other things going on in the background (try doing that with cable).
The last piece that fit was a remote control; I experimented with wireless mice, presentation devices, and wireless keyboards with varying degrees of success. Until Kevin Kampman (from our identity strategies group) said “Hey Jack – I think there’s a an app for that”. And there was. I am now using iMocon on my iPhone to control the mouse and specialty keys (everything short of a keyboard), and it works well. Point and click on videos, and away we go.
I will admit I take advantage of the Netflix unlimited download movies deal (for $15/month). Still beats $100. I can also plug in my iPhone (when not using it as a remote) to play music on the 5.1 speaker system, or watch videos.
Add to this Digital Video Recording functionality, and the inevitable entrepreneurial zeal that will go into new features and functions based on PCs and iPhones. This is the future.
It took 40 years to go from ubiquitous broadcast TV to ubiquitous cable, with a hundred fold increase in content. it will take less than 5 to go from cable to ubiquitous Internet TV, with a thousand-plus fold increase in content.
The real proof in the pudding is that my non-tecchie wife is loving it, and finds it easier to use than vanilla cable; and the choices....
Gotta go, YouTube's calling…