What Would TV Look Like If You Could Invent It Now?
Forbes.com‘s Jonathan Salem Baskin asks how TV would be different if invented now:
If you’re watching the Olympics this week on an X1 box from Comcast, chances are you’re not watching the same show that I am. In fact, since coverage of 306 events will generate an estimated 6,700 hours of programming and 34 million pieces of metadata — like stats, video info, photos — it’s possible no two people will see the same show.
“It feels like we’re building the future of TV,” explained Chris Satchell, who came from Nike last year to become Comcast’s chief product officer. “We’re learning how we can integrate content from all these different sources – live TV feeds, internet streams, and real-time data — and showing how television can have its own unique, really meaningful experience.”
Whether or not it suggests the future of television, it’s certainly a bold break with its past.
TV is a classic 20th century command-and-control system that distributes content for consumption. Sure, it has gotten broader over time, with videotape and then DVR giving consumers more latitude in watching it, and deeper, thanks to cable, so there’s more to watch. The themes and language have changed, and some programs have plumbed ever-greater depths of brilliance or stupidity.
But the basic approach to programming has remained unchanged. TV, whether connected to cable, satellite, the Internet, or a pair of rabbit ears, is simply an interface for consumption.