The Internet – coming to a web enabled TV set near you

I HAVE a confession. The accompanying picture is, in fact, my TV set.

The only thing I can say in its defence is that it is colour, it works, and has survived several failed attempts by me to sabotage it for a new one.

After a five year campaign, my wife has finally agreed that yes, it should go to the oversized picture tube graveyard in the sky.
Screen shot 2010-09-09 at 11.01.41  

Yet instead of heading out to the nearest electrical retail outlet of choice, I’m
pontificating about what set to buy now.

I don’t just want an HD, LCD or Plasma, I want connected TV, and Internet enable cheeky chappy.

The Sony Bravia internet TV range is currently on my wish list, but I’m open to suggestions. Samsung perhaps?

I’ll readily take advice.

My wife, in her defence, simply rolls her eyes with that knowing ‘here we go’ scorn etched upon her face, but smiles and tolerates the fact that yes, I’ve found another new toy.

But it’s going to be much more than that, I’m sure.

For instance, I don’t believe for a minute that Rupert Murdoch will be putting the best selling newspapers in Britain behind paywalls, unless he has some plan to unite them with Sky TV via the web and subscriptions. 

Tellingly, the most recent Sky TV magazine had full-page advertising for the new Times and Sunday Times paywalls.

But it was cable and satellite which accounted for 71 per cent of all News Corporation’s profits in this year’s second quarter.

You can see how uniting them online looks attractive in a global business context.

The easier they make it and the more they offer, the better it will be for them. And what’s easier than switching on a TV – or in this case – a connected TV.

But it will be their usefulness that will lead the charge.

Take the last General Election. How many of us were glued to our TV screens while tweeting away on laptops or mobiles?

Wouldn’t it have been much easier to do so in a panel on our picture, reading the messages alongside our viewing station of choice?

And it’s about choice of viewing.

Google will launch a service to bring the Web to TV screens around the globe next year, possible starting in the States possibly in time for this Christmas.

Compellingly, their CEO Eric Schmidt said their full Internet browsing will be free, other than what you currently pay for your broadband suppliers.

Sony are among the first to sign up, having already included the likes of YouTube on its impressive Bravia range.

YouTube, for its part, has recently launched a tentative free movie service here in the UK, but
more importantly, are able to offer content from other channels straight to TV screen.

From vlogs to citizen journalism and professional offerings, it will all be there on the bigscreen in your living room.

No doubt part of the reason STV, having already set up a branded channel on YouTube, will shortly be unveiled as the first broadcast client for the Capablue, TV Genius and Brightcove partnership behind customised video platforms. 

It is thought they will be looking specifically at deploying VOD and live-streaming services to connected TVs. Video advertising is already predicted to celebrate a record quarter.

All the while we have Apple TV – or iTV if it can – unveiling its own plans for internet TV domination iTunes style with TV shows available Stateside for just 99 cents a time.

As is the norm, it is America consumers who lead, followed by the rest.

So it is worth taking notice when research firm NPD tells us that 12 per cent of all flatscreens sold in the States were ‘connected’ sets – all sold within thefirst seven months of the year.

According to a
piece in The Economist, Google is even building its search bar browser into high end TV sets in order to make it easier for users to find their programmes
of choice.

And what about touch-screen technology?

Are we really so far away from being able to flip through digital editions of our favoured subscription reads delivered straight to our TV screens at the same time asenduring Daybreak?

Presumably notwhen you see how the likes of Metro have agreed deals with ITN to supply daily video clips, Metro of course being the first ‘national’ in the UK to have a page-flip

But the looming battle isn’t on which set, laptop of PC we choose to watch our TV on. It willbe who and how we are prepared to pay for those shows which appeal, by whomever holds the exclusive rights. 

Yes, paywalls around newspapers are one thing. But we already have them for TV and they are about to be extended. 

Which is something we ought to consider when we look again at the future of the BBC.


Categories: Blogs, Media philosophy & trends

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