Predictions appear to be a big blog topic this New Year. I have decided to pick a particular topic to predict about and it’s what I mainly blog about. Technologies that will change the way we watch long form visual media.
I appear to be a little late with my predictions, as video on the internet, within the first 3 days of 2008, has become the hottest topic for 2008 and looks like it will be THE ISSUE of 2008.
In any case, let’s get to it.
This year, the lean back TV experience will become accepted as a new window into the internet. Currently we have the “Computer, keyboard, mouse, LCD screen” and the “Mobile phone”. The TV will be seen as a new platform with individual characteristics and design requirements.
For example. The internet as we know it today is designed to be used from a computer.
The Mobile Phone, has been hack at for years with standards and different web experiences to make it as Web friendly as possible. Due to its limited size, speed etc, Websites are designed specifically for mobile phones. Even with the iPhone, possibly the best web surfing phone of general web content, still has an API specifically for making content that works as best it can on the device.
The TV will be accepted into this club this year and we will start seeing TV-OS specifically designed for big screen TV’s using a remote control as your interface.
Google has already hinted at this. I expect Android-Mobile will soon also be announced with some new additional APIs and as Android-TV most likely with a torrent type back end for file transfers.
Still this is a very busy area. TV-OS’s have already come and gone. There has been a lot of development in this area in the past. From numerous STB created for IPTV streaming to the holy grale and massive failure that is MHP. (Multi Media Home Platform). MHP, a SMPTE supported standard, designed (by committee) as the OS for digital TV. It aloud APPLICATSIONS to be send over the side channels that the Digital TV picture was coming, and load interactive ads into your TV. Some support for internet was also in there. But really the ideas behind this do not gell well with what is needed in the TV-OS we need now. Still I imagine some argy bargy coming from them when this takes off. I must admit I could write an essay on why MHP failed. My company looked into it for a while but realised early on that the world would change beyond what MHP was designed for.
Realistically, Google and Android is the favourite as they are basically giving this away as to grow their core market. Get more people using the internet were they have dominance in search and ads. MHP and all the other STB-OS’s all expected this to be a cash cow.
My next prediction is that content creation companies will start making portals which back into this new TV-OS. Currently I see it like this. If you look at the way we program a TV at the moment, we purchase it, turn it on, plug the aerial in, and tell it to search for all the channels in the area. The new TV-OS will be similar. But instead of searching for TV channels on the arial, it will contact a site run by the producer that lets you add tv channels to your system. Or you can simply enter the TV channel “URL” into the TV-OS directly.
Yes, a TV channel of the future will simply be a typical “URL” as we know it today. This URL will launch an interactive experience that is designed for navigation via TV remote control.
As it is only a URL, anyone with a website will be able to make their own TV channel serving up their own media, either by streaming or more commonly via RSS type feeds downloading the content and storing it on a local HD in the TV.
DRM is completely dead. As the last of the record labels realise this for music, it is still going to take a while for video producers to also come to terms with this. Unfortunately video will be affected much more. Until different business models can be worked out to keep the bankers and the risk assessments happy that they will get a return. It is going to become very hard to make mega budget films.
While on this, the EU (Europe) have come out with warning (Also see TechCrunch point of view) that the current players need to start co-operating and develop a DRM system that is interoperable or the Music, Video, Games industry as we know it will crumble. Unfortunately it is too late for this. Realistically, to archive this, even if possible, is a 5-10 year exercise. The internet is not going to stop and wait for this. It is best to face the music and realise that all content will make it onto the internet as non-DRM content. That is what the people want. Non-DRM content is the only true interoperable content available today. Find ways to make money out of it. Get on with business.
Micro Transaction systems will now thrive. Paying 5-20 cents to watch your favourite Podcast will make those lucky enough to be the top podcasters, a great living. This is also likely to become the money making method which will sustain the production of the top rating shows like “Desperate House wives”, “Lost”, “Heroes”.
Sony is likely to really push the PS3 into this Market. Let’s face it. As of this Christmas, it has definitively LOST any war it had with the Xbox360. In all areas the Xbox leads the way. Sony need to re-invent the PS3, and really the only area it can possibly pull itself as better then Xbox is in the area in which Microsoft would start cannibalising other products, so is less likely to go there. And that is by becoming a big flagship for TV-OS, which is also a Games Console. Still, it’s too expensive. Not sure what they can do about this. At least they have Blu-Ray, which is the winner (Come on U.S. open your eyes. Its 95% (BD to HD-DVD) of the Market in Australia), in the console.
Microsoft are spending BIG on IPTV (See newteevee, and this and this and gigaom). They are going to make a huge splash and be adopted by a lot of old media. Problem is that old media does not really exist in the future of digital Media. So it will be interesting to see what these companies, which have huge pockets, do in the struggle that is seen when it is no longer your time. My biggest worry is that they pay to get government to make laws to keep their dominance. This would be short lived as, you cannot stop a DRM free world with laws, and it is a good way to loose office.
Still, Micorosft and the Xbox360 also have plans of world domination. Still, thats a world with DRM. I can see them doing back flips if an Open-TV-OS starts to get traction. There is already evidence on this (See AppleTV will be a new beginning at MacWorld ) And also see this for a picture of Microsofts future of the internet at Audio-Video is Dead, Long live ONLINE GAMING.
And how can I not mention Apple. As I predicted before Christmas, MacWorld will be all about video online. This is already apparent with leaks of Itunes and Video rentals. (See AppleTV will be a new beginning at MacWorld and More on AppleTV and being Open )
Finally, and this is not much of a prediction, this year will be the year “Going Online”. The switch to Digital TV. The writers’ strike. The depression or flattening of the economy at best. This all points to GET ONLINE and leads me to wish you all the best in this rocky year ahead.