Connected? Disconnected? Who’s cutting cables? Who’s staying home? Where the hell is TV going?

September 8, 2010

By 2014 70% of TV’s will be connected TV’s.Connected, as in connected to the Internet. Apple, Google, Amazon, NetFlix and others are in a race to own the living room, your living room. What does that mean to you? Is television heading into the realm of 1:1? Can you finally cut the cord, i.e. free yourself of that pesky monthly cable bill? Not likely, unless something dramatically changes between now and 2014.

I see several challenges ahead for the race participants.

Live. Control has shifted to the owner of the content. Move to a new platform, like the Internet, and you have to seek their permission to do so. To get their permission, you had better come with an Apple iTunes-esque solution to show them your disruptive ways are going to work to their benefit, else don’t bother calling.

Monetization. Sure, the Super Bowl sells :30 national spots for astronomical amounts of money. Heck, as many people tune in to see the ads as do to watch the game. A big part of advertising though, is sold at the local level. Unless Google bought every TV station in the U.S. (sure, they could do that), locally generated ad-bucks, for live or on-demand, will be fragmented.

Flexibility. Cable/DBS has a lock on us. TV Everywhere is their way of saying, “Hey consumer, just stay with me. I’ve got things covered.” As long as Input 1 is set to cable and Input 2 is set to [fill in the blank new market entrant], the guys on Input 2 will lose. Time-, Device- and Place-shifting will be held captive by the incumbents.

What I find most interesting is that most of the time we aren’t in our living room, yet these tech giants are fighting over this hallowed ground as if we’re all going to don a bathrobe and slippers and hunker down for the duration. Truth be told, we spend much more time on the go than we do sitting down. To me, the Internet TV race should be about the viewer and not the living room.

Give me choice. Give me convenience. Give me television.