CRN invited a group of channel executives to D&H Distributing’s Mid-Atlantic Show in Hershey, PA last month for a panel discussion about the future of convergence. The consensus was that the market has not been living up to expectations.
“I think the forecasts were wrong for [convergence]. The industry saw a tidal wave of expectations, but it’s really more of a rising tide,” said Ted Houser, general manager of Glick Audio and Video, Lancaster, Pa.
Convergence has not been as popular as predicted, but the executives were optimistic about its long-term prospects.
“Maybe we’re moving glacially, but we’re moving from the attachment to the TV world to the network world. I have come to the conclusion that it is an absolute, an inevitability,” commented David Kaplan, executive director of Digital Delivery Group, a Seattle-based conglomerate or regional digital distributors.
So what’s the hold up?
The main problem is the technology. No one has come up with the perfect product. Most convergence devices are difficult to set-up, not user friendly, expensive, and often have quirky performance.
One CEO thinks convergence is not going to happen, saying that convergence is against the laws of nature and that “things want to move apart.” I understand that the PC-TV convergence is not happening as quickly as people would like, but his rationale is completely off. Convergence has never been more popular. People are downloading television shows to their computers and ipods en masse and checking their email on their telephones. Either we’re defying the laws of nature, or this guy is just not familiar with them.
The problem isn’t that there’s no interest in convergence. The problem is that companies are afraid to take the plunge into a new market. The executives were optimistic about Apple TV’s ability to bring convergence mainstream, but even Steve Jobs has regarded Apple TV as a “hobby.”
The convergence industry is going to go nowhere until someone is willing to produce an affordable, quality product that will capture the market.