Monday, November 21, 2005

Mark Cuban on HD content and the future of TV

The Coming Golden Age of Television is Mark's latest post on TV and HD content. As usual Mark has a lot to say about HD content. The article starts off referencing a recent Business Week article "The End of TV (as you know it)" which is behind a soul sucking subscription sign in - so I didn't read it. Basically it seems like the article states that technology is changing how viewers watch TV content and that the upshot is going to destabilize the industry. Hard to disagree with that basic premise, but Mark does.

1) Mark says that the disruption is going to mainly be in out of home media, ie mobile devices.
2) (Inferred) Home TV users want and will increasingly want HD content.

Mark goes on to describe in detail the issues around HD content, production, up-sampling and who's going to benefit most. An interesting quote about upcoming advances: "Of all the advances in technology that will occur over the next 5 years in hard drives, CPUs, HDTVs, PDAs and other mobile technology, the one area that we will see the least amount of improvement is in bandwidth to the home."

Given that Mark see three big outcomes of the consumer demand for HD content.

1. There will be a standard definition ghetto created on cable and satellite. Just as talk radio and niche stations are now on the AM radio dial, there will be an analogous area where networks that cant or wont go HD can reside. Of course the bad news is that with just a few exceptions, these networks will be considered 2nd class networks and the rates they receive and can charge advertisers will be far less than their HD counterparts

2. Cable networks will trade the bandwidth being consumed by "“can't go HD" networks and/or analog carriage for bandwidth for their biggest networks who got to the HD party late.

3. Five or so years from now, those networks who didnt think HD was important will find themselves on the outside looking in, realizing that there isnt enough bandwidth and they will have to pay for carriage.

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