The Future of my Television

June 10, 2007

Regular readers know that TV and me parted ways a while back. And by “TV” I mean that I have no cable or satellite service, nor do I have an antenna for broadcast programming. The only images that ever show on my box are from the Wii or the DVD player. A reconciliation, however, may be on the distant horizon.

When I can buy a show (or a season of a show) a la carte, then maybe I’ll put my money down again. Right now we’re actually doing this. let’s say you want to watch two weekly shows and that’s it. (A healthy amount of TV, in my opinion.) Let’s further say that these shows are for sale on Apple’s iTunes store. it will cost you about $58 to get the whole season of these two shows. Cable television could cost you more than ten or twenty times that amount. Sure you get a lot more programming, but what if you don’t want that extra programming?

Then there’s the issue of movie rentals. Right now a number of companies are offering downloadable movies, some for sale and some for rent. I do buy movies on occasion, but unless they allow me to burn that movie to a standard DVD, it’s no sale. Rentals are another story, however. If you give me an on-demand movie rental from a large library of choices and charge me $3 or less, I’m there. Sure I have Netflix, but even they recognize that their current business model of mailing plastic discs to people has a pretty short shelf life; within a few years people will eschew those little red mailers for instant downloaded rentals. I’ll be among them.

Which brings me to a rumor that I just read: if it can be believed, Apple is gearing up to do movie rentals through the iTunes store. Even if the rumor is false, it’s just a matter of time before it’s true.

When I can buy shows (or seasons of a show) a la carte, and rent movies from a large library on demand, I’ll start watching television again and my movie rentals will be all of the downloaded variety.


No comments yet

  1. It’s Windows only, but Netflix _already has_ on demand, with a fair amount of decent content and if you don’t have a Windows box I personally know it works well in Parallels.

  2. [Netflix’s] current business model of mailing plastic discs to people has a pretty short shelf life; within a few years people will eschew those little red mailers for instant downloaded rentals.

    I think it will take longer than a few years. More like 10 years.

    The reason being is that they need to be able to truly replicate the DVD “experience” with the pausing, scene selection, zooming in, and most importantly: special features. Combine those demands with people also wanting to watch it in High-Def, and current bandwidth and protocol options just don’t support it – at least not without some serious infrastructure investment.

    And Netflix may well be going down that path (at least I hope they are, as I own a bunch of their stock!). If they can do for high-speed network transfers, what they did for postal DVD distribution, they will have it made.

  3. Netflix _already has_ on demand

    Yes, they do! I haven’t tried it. (I do have Parallels.) But there’s the extra challenge: how do you get it to your TV? That’s where I think the TV has an advantage; Apple has an end-to-end solution. If only they’d do rentals!

  4. […] decline. The future is: downloading the movie. The problem with movie downloads right now (as I remarked on Scott’s blog) is that the downloads do not replicate the true DVD experience, “with the pausing, scene […]

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