I have been intrigued by the flurry of activity surrounding both Apple and Google's most recent forays into television. It's clear that watching the programs and movies I want on my own time and on the go has become a common pastime for the digital crowd. It's also clear that the amount of bandwidth being consumed by increased video streaming and downloading will require different pay-per-use models. I will need to pay more if I consume more video. Otherwise, I'm clogging the airwaves for others with less demanding needs.
There are two things I find most intriguing about both Apple TV and Google TV (via the Android):
1. Combining Web video with TV broadcast video and on-demand movies changes our video watching behavior at home. We can much more easily merge YouTube type videos with favorite movies and TV shows.
2. It opens the door for MORE user-generated content. YouTube and other video sites already make it easy to upload and promote your own videos. Now, as WebTV merges with conventional TV in a Video On-Demand world in our living rooms, more families will gather around to watch user-generated, rather than network-produced and funded videos.
3. Open Source application development platforms, like Google's Android TV, will also make it easier for developers to provide all kinds of useful applications to both direct our attention to content we would otherwise miss and/or to mash it up and make it more accessible in interesting ways. BBC's long-running open source project, BBC Backstage gives some clues to what we can expect. (For more background on BBC's open source project, see Outside Innovation at the BBC.)
Recently, a friend visiting from Sweden purchased and took home a couple of Mac Minis for his two 20-something sons. I asked him how they would be used. He said. "My kids don't use TV. They just watch all their video content over the Web. It's just like phone land lines. They never had a regular phone line. Just a mobile phone. It would never occur to either of them to buy a TV set. They have big screens on the wall and they program the content they want to watch." My reaction: please send them to me and set me up so I can do that too!