Earlier this week we ran comments from a variety of media professionals on how they use Internet TV and PC-TV devices (if any). These are real people in media businesses, so pay attention to what they are saying:
Andrew Nachison, President & CEO, iFOCOS, “a think tank and community of innovators committed to harnessing the power of media, communication and human ingenuity for the common good”: “The distinction between my computer and my TV is blurred. At home, my computer is also my TV – a Windows Media Center PC connected to cable and functioning like a TiVo. I don’t have a giant screen connected – just a standard 17-inch LCD. But I could go bigger if I wanted. So that computer might be used to watch YouTube videos; or it might be used to watch recorded television; or it might be used to watch videos from iTunes; or my own videos. Sometimes I’ll be sitting in front of the screen and using the keyboard; sometimes I’ll be sitting further away, on a couch, and using a remote.
“But that’s just one screen. I spend more of my time with my laptop, which is not used as a PVR, but which is used for YouTube, iTunes – and good old fashioned DVD’s rented from Netlix. It’s a Mac – so it can not access the Netflix video-on-demand service. I can’t wait for that to work on a Mac, and I’m pissed it doesn’t now.
“I don’t have a video iPod and I don’t crave video on my phone. In time I’m sure I’ll have it, but it’s not a big deal to me. For mobile, good email with my Blackberry and phone calls everywhere are much more important to me right now.
“A key observation: behaviors are not uniform. Everyone I know has a personalized, unique set of viewing habits.”
(Editor: Whew. Andrew knows his stuff.)
Jeffrey Gluck, Director, New Media Communications, IBM Corporate Communications (Disclaimer: these are Jeff’s personal thoughts and do not represent official IBM policy): Apple seems to have the early lead with AppleTV. As has been pointed out, it certainly has flaws. However, I have to give them some credit for taking something technically difficult – moving video from your PC to your TV – and making it easy in much the same way they have done with music, while at the same time putting into place a business model that is legal and not based on what pretty much amounts to stealing the work of others.
“On the other hand, I’m a big believer in open standards. Apple’s system is more closed than it should be, and while that certainly brings advantages, I’d rather see some agreement worldwide on the base-level technologies. I don’t see the issue as being very different from standards in other areas, including highways, nuts and bolts, or electrical power systems. Let companies compete on higher-level products and services built on open standards.
“Internet video is way too hard to deal with right now, with many different file formats and resolutions, and as bad as it is in the PC world, the issues in the mobile device arena are even worse. Eventually, the marketplace and technology will sort out the issues, but it’s going to take some time. When that happens, I, like many others, can envision a world where content can move trouble-free from your PC to your TV to your cell phone anywhere in the world.
“By the way, we’ve upgraded computers a few times and I’ve had to move iTunes music libraries to new PC’s, which is way too hard. Steve Jobs is right about digital rights management technology: It’s a real showstopper for the industry, and for people who believe in the rights of intellectual property owners. People who want to steal are doing it anyway, and all DRM technology is doing is frustrating the folks who are trying to play by the rules.
Assaf Shilo, owner of Israel Sun photo agency: I usually drag whatever I download to a Disk on Key and plug it to my NIS 150 (Ed: About $45) DVD and watch on my 42″ LCD. Quality is mostly as good as the normal HOT or YES TV (Ed: Israeli cable and satellite providers). This is where entertainment is going.”
Charles Knight, editor, AltSearchEngines.com: I’m afraid I’ve never been able to switch to ‘watching’ my PC. I’m still 100% DVD + TV.”
Mark Glaser, columnist for Mediashift, a PBS project, freelance writer: “I watch TV on my TV at the moment, and web video and video blogs on my computer. I’m not a fan of long-form video on my computer, mainly because I work on a computer most of the day.
“I’d rather chill in front of a TV than a computer, if possible, and my DVR helps me watch what I want when I want it. If there
was an easy way to get web video on my TV I might consider it, though I doubt it would look good on an HDTV.”
Zack Miller, Vice President, Investments at Profile Investment Services, Ltd., and contributor to Israel Newsletter: “I am not a heavy user of downloaded video content (audio is a different story). What I do download, I end up burning onto a DVD and watching it on my TV.”
There you have it, folks. Serious commentary by savvy professionals. All in all, we’ve got a long way to go before making the PC-TV connection seamless and mass market.