What does the future hold for Cable TV?

Tanner | Aug 31, 2011

Google chairman Eric Schmidt recently traveled to the UK to talk with TV broadcasters there about the future of TV. There is, undeniably, a shift happening in TV. Some believe that cable is on the way out, others can’t see that changing anytime soon, but there is something happening (or, at least, going to happen) very soon. For Schmidt and Google, that shift is personalization and social action powered by none other than the search giant themselves. Among some of the highlights Schmidt talks about for the future of TV:

Personalization.

Netflix has seen tremendous success because of their recommendation engine, and if a tech giant like Google were put in charge of managing what you watch, when you watch it, and how you watch it, you can nearly feel certain that future recommendations on what to watch will be spot on. Rather than flipping through channels randomly or watching advertisements for shows you might be interested in, the future TV will be fine-tuned for your interests, always.

Connectivity.

While TV in the future will be personalized just for you, it will also allow you to actively share and connect with other people, friends, and family. Rather than physically getting together to watch a show, you will be able to virtually meet (in a place like Google+ Hangouts) with other people watching the same show. Through connectivity you can share your favorite highlights, gossip about what you’re watching, or badmouth fanboys of the opposing sports team. TV will, undoubtedly, have us connected in ways we can’t fathom today.

Advertising.

If your TV is presenting you with custom shows you’re very likely to be interested in, why would you see advertisements not customized for you as well? We’re not talking about diaper ads just because you’ve had a baby though. Ads on the future of TV will be really fine-tuned, offering you products or services that the almighty Google knows you need. Or, if that’s not appealing to you, you can expect to see plenty of ads for other shows that networks think you’ll like, again: based on your interests and previous viewing habits. Ads won’t be as annoying on the future TV, though they will certainly still be a bit bothersome.

Interactivity.

Sometime in the very near future you’ll be able to interact with the shows you watch on TV in remarkable ways. Characters on the screen will ask questions or face problems and you’ll be offered the chance to whip out your iPhone or tablet and make decisions on what happens on the show next. Just imagine it: game shows of the future are sure to be incredible. Rather than having to watch people on the screen play Jeopoardy or Dancing with the Stars you’ll have the opportunity to play right from your home, using touch technology and cameras. The TV will become a staple of interaction and entertainment. But, when will this all happen exactly? It’s hard to say. Some of the TV broadcasters and studios are hesitant to try anything risky in pursuit of these new technologies. To quote Schmidt however: “History shows that in the face of new technology, those who adapt their business models don’t just survive, they prosper.”


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