Dozens of options and I still can't watch what I want, when I want it humbug!
Video technology has progressed rapidly over the last five years to the point where you can literally watch Internet streamed video on your TV set. There's no longer any excuse for not watching what you want, when you want it,Â where you want it.But now that the hard part has been figured out, we find that the world of content owners has not kept pace.
I'm not a video snob; I only recently upgraded my 20" ÂCRT Toshiba which served me well for almost a decade (we kept the 13"Â VHS combo). I've engaged in major atrocities when it comes to viewing content on unsuitable devices like seeing Avatar for the first time on my iTouch (bad choice). But for me, it is all about easy access/convenience vs. quality, which is why I don't watch TV on a schedule and it doesn't have to be perfect, just "good enough"Â. I don't have a DVR, nor do I want to pay for a capability that I feel should be provided anyways, even if it means pixilation here and there and the same amount of ads as the original airing.
Every time my wife wants to watch one of her reality shows I'm reminded how painful it is to view something off schedule. First, she has to see if it is playing on regular television, then checks FIOS on-demand which typically lags on the newer episodes or doesn't have particular shows, and finally she'll check out the network's site (VH1, E!, Bravo, etc.) or even Hulu/Fancast. If all else fails, she goes to iTunes and pays almost as much as a movie rental to view the content once. I thought the latter was a total waste of money until I tried to locate and watch the final episode of AMC's The Walking Dead which was unavailable anywhere online (at least legally) and FIOS on-demand didn't have #6 on VOD. Grudgingly, I paid the $2.99 and got my post apocalyptic zombie fix on a 14"Â MacBook instead of my new 46"Â LCD-LED Samsung. I was equally frustrated when trying to re-rent the original Iron Man (which I also saw on my iTouch) after seeing Iron Man 2; not in iTunes (even though it was previously), not on Amazon, not on Netflix Streaming, etc, etc.
I'm not the first person to complain about rights and won't be the last, but this is the single biggest roadblock preventing me from reaching couch potato nirvana. I was hoping Google TV would be my savior because it would at least allow me to watch my favorites online via my television but alas everything worth seeing has been blocked until Google coughs up and the Logitech Revue pricing gets in line with other set top box offerings. So this weekend, I finally caved and connected my MacBook to my television and used the hack setup to indulge in the best solution available today. Not happy about it because it is a pain, with wires hanging everywhere and the need to go out and buy a wireless keyboard. This setup is not as hard as it used to be, with most modern TVs providing DVI/VGA ports, so why is it the only way to get the most content on demand on your TV? The answer might just be because we need an Internet based cable company which I will still pay $70/month to, but at least then I'd be able to watch anything I want, when I want it.
Although this fracturing is great for people in my business, it reminds me why I don't watch much TV anymore and just stick to movie rentals. As I work with publishers both large and small, I try to keep this holy grail of on-demand consumption in mind as we develop next gen solutions for getting their content to new over-the-top mediums as quickly as possible.
Author: Forest Johns, VP of Product and Marketing