Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What is the Future?- The rise of internet TV

The last vision Steve Jobs had for Apple was the idea for Apple TV. Apple TV is a box the size of coaster that plugs into your TV and gives you all the options of TV without the hassle of cable companies, commercials, and a light rain ruining your satellite signal. According to Nielsen the number of people who use only their free TV stations and have internet streaming on their TV’s is up almost 30%. Netflix is now creating their own shows, the first being Lilyhammer, a show about mobster who is relocated to Norway as part of the witness protection program. Sure it sounds like hoot, but is it the kind of thing that will knock HBO off its perch? Not so much.

But these opening salvos can’t help but feel like the future. Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Instant Video, are available on any new Blu-ray player, DVD player, and TV. And content is not as much of an issue that threatened to make them nothing more than another Betamax. Netflix just signed a huge deal with the Weinstein Company, (which makes all the films you’ve never seen but heard about around Oscar time) to give them their content before anyone else. Even the evil dwarves that run ComCast have decided they must start a streaming channel as well.

And while before studios and channels didn’t want to give up content to the internet they have had to or else lose out to a growing market (see: profitable) completely. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t like pulling teeth. We are still a long way away from the complete domination from mainstream internet TV. While people are using illegal programs to watch their shows, licensing and intellectual property is keeping internet TV from becoming a waterfall of delicious TV content.

Internet TV has inevitability to it that I’m sure terrifies the guys behind their giant desks smoking a giant cigar. It is completely designed for this niche generation. Everything must be molded to my particular taste otherwise I simply won’t buy it. We no longer live in a society where what is available nearby is what you get. Internet TV lets you watch that Swedish soap opera and your local football game. That is something that people will pay for. And if people are willing to pay for it, companies will spring up to make it available. And those that hold onto their cable boxes for dear life will watch as they are left in the dust.