As online video consumption continues to rise, it’s likely most of us will soon get our telly fix over the internet. A trend that’ll be further influenced by the promise of internet enabled TVs.
So, earlier this week SixthSense (YouGov’s market intelligence platform) released figures from its recent research – it suggested that 81% of students watched TV online. And for some reason we were surprised.
Other figures from a Lightspeed survey showed that 58% of respondents had streamed or downloaded TV within the last six months. It was this figure that I found surprising – I thought it’d be much higher.
Streaming TV over the internet
Most of the TV I watch at home comes over the web – either streamed or downloaded. It’s far more convenient. Never in my flat do I hear the complaint that there’s nothing on, and that’s because we’re not reliant on a broadcaster’s schedule. We watch what we want, when we want.
At the moment I plug my netbook into my TV to play this content, but more and more tellies are becoming web-enabled for a richer experience. At a digital entertainment debate I attended recently, one expert predicted that within ten years 75% of TVs would be internet ready.
However, using the web from ten feet will be very different to the web from two feet. YouTube is a huge repository for web videos, but entering search terms through a remote control every 15 minutes isn’t going to be much fun.
It’ll be the likes of catch up TV services, such as the BBC iPlayer and ITV Player, that’ll initially help stimulate the uptake, and also services that offer feature length films, such as LOVEFiLM or Sky’s Anytime+ service.
The promise of social networked TV
But the benefit of plugging a set into the web is not just its on demand video content. There’ll also be a social networking slant and some very useful online apps.
Imagine you’re feeling peckish when watching football with friends. With web TV you’ll be able to open a TV-based app from Domino’s Pizza and browse through the menu on-screen before placing your order. And then, if the game looks destined to be a dull scoreless-draw, you might want to access the biography of a manager or watch goals from the previous season.
And if football’s not your thing, film buffs will be able to access on-screen reviews from IMDB. And if you stumble upon a new actor or director you like, you’ll be able to watch their other films in a matter of seconds.
Of course, broadband speeds will have to increase if this service is going to fulfil its potential, and manufacturers will have to develop slick interfaces so we can access broadband and broadcast channels indiscriminately.
But in the not too distant future internet TVs will supplement our viewing experience and go well beyond what Teletext and Ceefax even aspired to become.