Next generation TV over the Internet: This revolution will be televised

By Leonard A. Giuliano, co-chair of the MBONED Working Group at the IETF, Network World |  Business, Internet, television

While television and the Internet have both reshaped the way we consume information, there has been very little interaction between the two.

Like seventh-grade boys and girls attending their first dance, these two dominant forms of mass communication have stood awkwardly apart at opposite sides of the dance floor. Knowing they are supposed to mix, knowing they eventually will mix, they nonetheless aren't quite sure how to mix.

We will examine the technical factors that have caused this segregation and the new and evolved tools that will make true integration of television and the Internet possible. We will explore what that new world of integration will look like, point out the winners and losers, and provide a road map for success. We will also ponder the revolutionary impact this integration will have on society.

Take a look at the cable box sitting beneath your TV. What do you see? Bulky, heavy, dated, and perhaps emanating an annoying buzz from the spinning hard drive of a DVR. Its appearance and operation, with the exception of the DVR functionality, seems largely unchanged from its predecessors of the '80s (watch 1980s Solid Gold). Now take a look at your mobile phone. Light, sleek, futuristic, like something straight out of Star Trek.

Now imagine your mobile phone as your cable box. I'm not talking just about grainy YouTube videos of someone's cat playing the piano, I mean really watching TV- NBC, ESPN, HBO. But instead of being limited to the 200 or so channels offered by your cable TV provider, you can connect your smartphone to your TV and watch your choice of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of channels all delivered over the Internet.

Over the last decade and a half, we've seen all forms of media, information, entertainment and commerce migrate to the Internet. Yet television has been the lone holdout, principally because the technology to deliver television in a scalable and reliable way just wasn't mature enough ... until now. We now stand at a point in time where a nexus of enabling technologies are all available to deliver this vision. Will it happen? Recent history has shown that once the Internet becomes capable of carrying a particular medium, it inevitably becomes a dominant platform for that medium. It's not a question of if, but rather when.

The implications of this next generation of television - NextGenTV- go well beyond the absurdity of complaints that "there's nothing on TV." The impact of NextGenTV on societies across the globe will be seismic as this revolution will be televised.

A nexus of enabling technologies


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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