Monday, January 09, 2006

The changes ahead for TV

The New York Time's John Markoff has a great article up on the coming changes in television called "Coming Soon to TV Land: The Internet, Actually." Touching on several themes followed here, John says, "Instead of tuning into programs preset and determined by the broadcast network or cable or satellite TV provider, viewers would be able to search the Internet and choose from hundreds of thousands of programs sent to them from high-speed connections."

More from the article:

"At one level it's clear that the dam has broken," said Paul Otellini, chief executive of Intel. "There's an inevitable move to use the Internet as a distribution medium, and that's not going to stop."

"Appointment-based television is dead," said William Randolph Hearst III, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm. "The cable industry is really in danger of becoming commoditized."

Still, critics charge that the telephone companies are intentionally crippling the Internet capabilities of their services to appear much like traditional closed cable offerings.

"They're trying to construct their own separate world to keep their walled garden," said Robert Frankston, a personal computer industry pioneer and former Microsoft researcher.

"They believe that if you control the user interface you make more money than if you are a dumb pipe," said Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks, the Internet music and video service provider.

"You need to begin with something that is easy to use and not overwhelming," said Christine A. Heckart, marketing general manager for Microsoft's TV division. "If we do this well you will have an experience much like TV today, only better."

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