The Interactive TV/Web
John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, came out recently and said the cable companies better get a move on or they are going to miss out on the next wave of the revolution, video and interactive services. He actually told the cable companies to hurry up, if you act now you can benefit greatly from this limited time offer. Sounds like marketing to me.
Intel and Cisco have both been promoting video and interactive services over the internet for some time now. Their reasoning is not a matter of consumer needs or wants but of greed. They are trying to manufacture the need for these products, because high-bandwidth video and services required faster chips and more routers.
Is there really a demand for interactive TV or video over the internet? Both of which are the same thing from two different angles. The first angle, interactive TV is adding new services to the television to make it more web-like. The other way is adding video services to web sites to make it more TV-like. In fact a whole new domain, .tv, is being sold as the new place to be on-line.
This is not supposed to be a glorified television channel.
– Tim Berners-Lee
The television, video and web convergence will be propelled even further by Microsoft’s new Ultimate TV services which trys to solve all issues in one, including digital recording. I think TiVo and ReplayTV have it just about right. Their services provide about as much interactivity that people may probably want: play,pause,rewind,fast forward, and record. About as complex as an old tape deck.
The extent of people’s interactivity with TV is to shout at it. And marketing people are trying to capitalize on just this, people shouting at their TV. This is the whole basis of the Monday Night Football replay voting thing. Here’s their thinking:
Don’t just shout at your TV about a bad call, vote on it.
But that requires getting off my ass and going to your computer.
No, we’ll bring the computer to you on your television. Now you can vote and tell them what you think, but first be sure you fill in what age group you are in, your annual income, marriage status, how many children do you have, etc… etc.. etc..
What’s next? ABC lobbys (pays) the NFL to base the instant replay calls on viewer votes? Viewers get to vote on which play should be run next?
Basically, the computer companies are trying to create the demand for high-end services so they can sell more computer equipment. The media companies are trying to draw people back to their TV so they can sell more commercials. And the viewers just want to watch a football game in peace.