I asked a group of professional contacts and friends – all of them with some high-tech, Internet or media connections whether they are watching Internet, streaming or downloaded content on their computers – and whether any of them are shifting it to their real TV’s. With few exceptions, they said no. Maybe it reflects their age – they’re not 20somethings – but their answers suggest to me we’ve got a long way to go to streaming Nirvana. Below are excerpts of their answers (with more to come).
Anne Holland, Editor, MarketingSherpa.com: “In the past nine months I’ve become a downloaded TV junkie. I don’t think of it as watching video on a computer, I think of it as watching the TV shows I want to watch when I want to watch them. Best of all, without waiting through commercials, and being able to hit “pause” at any time when I need a break.
“The only reason we still also pay for cable TV in my household is that iTunes TV doesn’t include any closed captions, which another family member requires. Currently, I buy my favorite shows with a season pass, resting easy in the knowledge I won’t miss an episode. I’ll also try out new shows and even surf iTunes looking for new shows to try. Often the first episode is free as a taster.
“I just wish some Internet entrepreneur would offer online server space so I could download my purchased shows and play them from there rather than having to download to my computer and then worry about backing them up for saving. Now I buy it and then often delete after viewing, which seems like a waste. I actually went out and bought the DVD’s of my fave iTunes TV show recently even though I’d watched them on iTunes first just because buying a pre-packed DVD was more convenient for storage and retrieval than worrying about doing it on my own….”
(Editor: Anne’s was probably the most “turned on, tuned in” answer I have received so far.)
Amy Gahran, journalist and blogger (RightConversation.com, Contentious.com, IReporter.org, E-Media Tidbits): “I subscribe to several video blogs, and yes I watch them on my computer. No, I don’t feel any desire to watch them on TV, but I’m not a TV person anyway.”
Patti Hart, Interactive Media Director, Times Union, Albany, NY: My 11-year-old watches the Disney Channel shows on our computer. It works pretty well as far as she’s concerned. She can watch the Zach and Cody and Hannah Montana when she gets computer time. However, if she had the kind of parents who would spring for a better cable TV package, she would probably prefer to watch on a TV screen.”
Tom Regan, NPR news blogger: “I watch baseball almost exclusively on my computer, thanks to the mlb.com package. I’m a Red Sox fan living in DC, so it’s the only way I can watch games. I don’t like the site’s policy of blanking out certain games – which are based on real world and not virtual world considerations. But it’s a lifesaver.
“I would watch more sports on my computer if it was available, and probably pay for it. I have no desire to watch regular TV, however, as I rarely watch it as it is. I have managed over the past several years to not see a single episode of “Survivor,” “24,” “The Apprentice” or “American Idol.” And those few shows I do enjoy – “NOVA,” “NOW” and other PBS stuff – is available on video at their sites anyway.