This week The Verge are running a large feature on the future of TV, and the war for distribution of content. Articles include reviews of current VOD hardware, often dragged down by patchy software, to visionary interviews by CEO’s claiming to want to democratise, but surely aiming to be the next Rupert Murdoch.
My thoughts are that nobody has cracked it yet, and I believe this is down to software engineers not being lovers of TV. When I watch a show on Apple TV, the show finishes and it takes me back to the synopses of the episode I just watched, instead of pushing me to the next ep, you realise this is software written by someone with no love for bingeing on TV for hours on end.
When you can’t actually navigate 4OD on a PS3 properly with the bluetooth remote, it reminds you that the person who coded the app never sat back and tried to watch two episodes of Peep Show in a row.
Even the idea of throwing youtube to your TV with the new app via airplay mirroring can’t be done for more than a few minutes without your iPhone reaching epic new temperature highs.
What I’m saying is that software engineers at the big players need a dose of reality. They need to sit down with the common man and observe his TV watching habits. They only need tweaking. The best interface I have come across is Netflix on a PS3. You get the basic information, if you don’t touch the remote it will keep loading up episode after episode, and it does what all good interfaces do, puts as few layers as possible between you and your favourite programs.
Stop trying to complicate things, more people will buy your product, and one day very soon we will look back at the quaint 30 year period where we all fitted satellites to the side of our houses to access 500 channels.
As a side note, I think there is enough interest in the future of television to start a dedicated website. What say you, Joshua Topolsky?
Don’t miss the War for TV on The Verge right now.
What a week! Every time I started writing about some potential monumental shift in the TV landscape, another company made a bold move worth writing about. So I will attempt to summarise below, in no particular order.
In the most exciting news, Amazon announced a London R&D office, to help lead development on TV and Film services.
Finally in a surprise turn of events, BSkyB announced an investment in Roku to develop new streaming hardware and services. There motives are unclear to me at this time, other than a scattergun approach to the fight against Netflix and Lovefilm.
Google announced details for their fiber network in Kansas City, including a ‘Fiber TV’ service that some major networks have not signed up for. The prices are pretty amazing, and it makes me wonder how easy it would be for Google to rollout this kind of product across a part (or all) of London.
Facebook announced their first international engineering office in London. Not strictly TV related, but important as a sign of US tech companies looking to London as an important outpost.
These are exciting times indeed, if you are in London and want to be part of the next wave of TV services…