For a long time now I’ve thought the delivery method of television programmes is fundamentally broken but it finally feels like it might be changing. PVRs were a huge step forward but they only made it much easier to do what I was already doing with a VCR. I’ve never bought into the “boxset” viewing which seems to be so popular but this is also helping drive things forward.
This week Netflix launched House of Cards for online viewing. Everybody is focussing on how they are releasing the full series at once but it’s much more important that it got a worldwide release so everybody can potentially see it at the same time. Of course you need to subscribe to Netflix (in a smart move, episode one is available to all) but this doesn’t seem as restrictive as something like a Sky subscription. It’s important that Netflix are making television and hopefully their shows will find an audience unlike Sky who have invested a lot into shows over the last few years that never seem to get an audience and are lost.
The BBC have finally gained permission to show programmes on iPlayer first, Amazon and Mircosoft are looking into creating content and it feels like we’re finally on the path to the future. Now we just need the hardware to catch up. I want smarter ways to view television and I doubt any of the so-called smart TVs can deliver. I want to be able to select the shows I want to see and have all the released episodes available to me wherever I am and accessible on whatever device I want. If I start watching on one device I should be able to continue on another (I think Sky and Lovefilm apps do allow this on some devices). Everything I watch should be automatically logged somewhere and I should be able to decide to share this or not. Communities can form and build around shows and episodes with pesky things like spoilers carefully handled.
Of course this only works because I don’t browse TV, I decide what I want to watch and pretty much only watch that. This means new ways of discovery need to open up but that isn’t difficult to do. I also think there is a place for schedules and I’d still prefer new episodes to be released at fixed times on a weekly basis rather than all at once.
I don’t think any of this is far fetched, the problems are business and out of date thinking, all the technology exists, a lot of this is happening with music already.
Then I just need to find time to watch everything.