Monday, August 30, 2010

Cut the tie to cable - new over the air television service integrated with Internet

[I am big fan of digital over the air TV as I think it will enable a new wave of innovation and lower costs. While the transition to Digital TV will create reception problems in rural areas I think it will be boon for most TV viewers in cities. The biggest obstacles to moving to the Internet for TV reception is the lack of broadband competition and geo-blocking as a way of content companies in cahoots with broadband suppliers (many, in Canada, whom also own broadcast empires) to block distribution of content over the Internet -- BSA]

In the age of connected TV, “don’t touch that dial!” has become “don’t change that input!”. Whereas broadcasters were once concerned over viewers changing channels during ad breaks, they are now worried that the public will desert regular television altogether for internet-based content.

About a quarter of TVs sold in the US this year will be able to connect to the internet and bypass regular programming, according to research by Parks Associates, while WiFi and Ethernet connections are becoming standard on set-top boxes.

But a growing number of US consumers, frustrated at the failure of operators to offer à la carte choices, might turn to getting their content over the internet from services such as Net-flix. Those not ready to give up their TVs can also mix this with free digital over-the-air content.
Sezmi, a Silicon Valley start-up, is offering an internet-connected set-top box with a digital aerial. It combines free over-the-air channels with net content and uses spare bandwidth on the digital broadcasts to provide popular cable channels. Packages cost $5-$20 a month – much less than the average cable bill.

“The number-one point of frustration consumers have today is that they feel that they are paying way too much and they’re really not getting the value out of what they’re paying for.”
For all the advantages of cable and satellite, the prospect of TV that is either free or costs next to nothing remains a compelling option for the consumer.

twitter: BillStArnaud
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