Apple tv

The Future of TV

A lot has happened in the world of the television in the past 10 years. Consider these advancements:

  • The Television Itself - we've gone from projection TVs to Plasma, then LCD, and now LED.  Look at how inexpensive they have become as well.
  • Connections - we used to connect devices to the TV through Coax and RCA,  then Composite, and now HDMI.  
  • High Definition - we were introduced to HDTV and now many levels of High Definition. 
  • Devices - the devices have dramatically changed from VCRs to DVDs, to Blue Ray and now Connected TV Devices (Roku, Apple TV, etc.) steaming video from the cloud
  • DVR - remember when we recorded shows on VCRs or actually watched live TV?  Now we just DVR and fast forward through commercials watching whenever we want.  I can actually now record a show from my iPhone when I'm not home.
  • On-Demand -  I think this might be the biggest game changer with cable offering On-Demand along with subscription services like Hulu and Netflix being able to watch whatever you want whenever you want.
All of these advancements are incredible and I think bringing more clarity to the future of TV.  I think what we are seeing is that our TV is transitioning from what used to be a completely different experience from our computer to a universal one.  Our TV is essentially becoming a large computer monitor for us to engage with.
Think about it this way: you cell phone is now a computer in your pocket, your laptop or desktop is a device you use when sitting down at a desk or table and your TV is a screen that you watch while sitting on a couch or in a living room.  When you think from this perspective your computer in your pocket (smart phone) is useful for quick messages and interactions, your laptop or desktop is good for focused productive work, and your television is for consuming longer form video content often with others.
So what does this mean and how does this change things?
  1. Our television becomes a computer.  This is where Apple TV, Roku, X-Box come in connecting our TVs to the internet.  I think we will see more of these devices just built into the TV units themselves. There will also be no need for wires as they will connect to the internet through wireless internet.  Connecting to the internet allows us to not only bring in content, but also send out content (game changer).
  2. Our smart phones become a remote/controller.  They actually do this already, but I think you will see this become more of a commonplace rather than something that just nerds do.  Gaming will also be a big part of this and I also envision our phones often serving as the game controllers.  Think about 10 people gathering in a living room to play a game and they all have an interactive controller in their hands.
  3. Our tablets become a second monitor.  If you're like most people you're already using Social Media at the same time you watch TV.  Tablets offer the screen size to not just serve as a viewing screen but create a very interactive social experience alongside your video viewing experience on your TV.
So what happens to cable?
Nothing.  Time Warner actually integrates already with Roku and we'll see the same thing begin to develop with other cable providers and connected TV devices.  Cable subscriptions will function as an app so that we can still stream live programs and events.  So no more old cable boxes to deal with!
What does this mean for the church?
Ever thought your church should be on TV?  Now every church can be!  You will only need a camera and an internet connection.  I think you should invest in a lot more, but the reality is that every church will be able to stream easily to living rooms around the world instantaneously.  The opportunity already exists, but will become much easier and available very soon!
One of the exciting developments that I see developing is an opportunity for a combined home church/ multi-site movement.  I see churches creating multi-site experiences designed more for the living room with 15-20 people gathered than the 150-200 seat venue.
So what do you think about the future of the TV?  Do you agree or disagree with me?

Apple TV and the future of our living rooms

I've been watching Connected TV devices for some time and just kept waiting.  I honestly thought Google TV was going to be the game changer but there's two big problems: It's too costly and it doesn't do enough (primarily live tv).  About 2 months ago I decided to buy a Roku box instead to test it out and really liked the ease of developing your own apps for the unit.  After 4 hours of trying to get it connected in my living room with customer service I decided that not only was I not interested in using the device, but I definitely wasn't interested in developing an App for a device that doesn't function very well. So I did what I should have done from day 1 and turned to the always reliable Apple product in Apple TV.  I don't like how locked down it is and I feel like it could be so much more, but I have to admit that I love it.  For $100 it's well worth it and only took 5 minutes to connect.  We use it for two primary functions: YouTube and Netflix.  It has some other features that we like, but don't utilize quite as much.

I recently saw this video on Mashable of an experiment run with people cutting their cable for a week and using Connected TV units:

An Experiment In Cord Cutting from Hill Holliday on Vimeo.

I agreed with those who took the experiment in that I'm not ready to cut the cable.  Okay, I'm ready to cut the cable bill, but the $50/month or whatever we spend on cable is still worth it.  There are two things that I believe with dramatically change connected TV devices in the next year and that's custom apps and live tv.  Right now most content viewed on connected tv's is on demand content.  This is great for 75% of the content that we view, but the other 25% of live content is also very important.  While it's the live content that will help cut the cable cord, I believe that it will be the custom apps that will enhance our tv viewing experience in a way that will make us quickly forget cable and enjoy the customization of a connected TV.  This about what your smart phone is capable of  today and all of the apps that have since been created.  We couldn't have imagined 90% of what was possible even a couple of years ago.  I believe the same will be true of our Connected TV devices and I'm most specifically talking about Apple TV because that will continue to be my device for years to come (ok, maybe that's too much of  a commitment for now).

What does this mean for Church Online?  This will be a game changer!

Google TV looks Rad!

I've been hearing a lot about Google TV and just saw this promo video.  It makes a lot of sense and seems like it's been a long time coming.   About 6 months ago I just bought a VGA cable to connect my laptop to my TV because I was watching too many shows on my 17' screen in the same room as my 42" tv.  I've always been interested in  Apple TV (I almost bought one but figured I could do the same thing by connecting my computer to my TV) which seems to be nothing like Google TV and while they seem nothing alike, they are both movements away from traditional cable tv.  It seems that with the speed of the internet now and livestreaming video everywhere, that it's only a matter of time before cable no longer exists.  I'm sure there will be some slow adapters, but I'm pretty pumped about this option and eager to watch it develop.  What I'm curious to see is how it will work with live shows/videos. I'm a sports fan and still enjoy watching many sporting events live (although watching commercials drives me crazy).  This platform makes a lot of sense for the tv shows that I can watch in an On Demand format, but I'm curious how it will work with live broadcasts online.  It will be interesting to see and looks like this will be a pretty sweet technology addition to the home!