Monday, May 28, 2007

The Digital Living Room Revolution

In Cody Willard's Blog, he mentions that there is great "secular growth in the browser-based Internet-video cycle [as it] accelerates over the next few years. " While I agree with Cody Willard in this, I think this is only going to be part of a much larger scale Revolution: The Digital Living Room Revolution.

Viewing videos using traditional Internet Browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox) is great. I can easily imagine a teenager sitting in front of their PC or workstation (or maybe in an Internet Cafe) going to YouTube and browsing videos and user generated content.

However, I think there are limits. I don't see grandparents regularly going to YouTube and browsing content. I don't see families sitting together enjoying YouTube. (Nielsen ratings says that there are more men than women who use YouTube, and those 12-17 years old are the key demographic.) Even if movies are streamed and viewed using an Internet Browser, I don't think many people would want to sit in front of their PC watching a 2 hour movie.

To reach a much wider audience, and to achieve a true widespread, paradigm shifting Revolution, the interface has to change. I believe the Revolution will be centered around the Digital Living Room.

I can imagine a future with the Digital Living Room (includes HDTV sets, a good sound system, and a very easy to use computer-like interface to the internet):

1. No longer will people be restricted to Cable Channels or Broadcast Television. Users or new companies can generate new content and videos and stream these directly to a family sitting on their couch watching their HDTV set. I can imagine a user using a simple remote interface (a modification of the Nintendo Wii's interface?) to change IP channels in the same way as a user today would change channels on a regular TV.

2. DVD players (even Blu-Ray or HD-DVD) becomes obsolete as video on demand gains wide acceptance. People can watch any program they want anytime they want without having to go to the video store.

3. Stores selling games for Game Consoles such as the Playstation PS3 becomes obsolete as gamers can download games directly to their system.

4. Instead of using the telephone, users can communicate with each other directly in high definition video calls.

5. Instead of having simple email, people can have video emails in High Definition.

6. The nature of retailing changes as people can evaluate and buy items with the aid of High Definition videos. Since the interface is easy to use and accessible to a wide audience, many more people would be able to buy items through the internet.

7. New developers could develop value added applications such as having a streaming ESPN sports ticker while watching their favorite sitcom on another channel.

These are just a few examples of the Digital Living Room. While there are some hints of this technology at this present time, there are many steps before this vision can take place.

In my next few posts, I intend to explore the current state of todays Digital Living Room and speculate what might happen in the future.

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