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Last Century TV

I’ve documented my woes with TV in this space, numerous times.

We are in the age of the internet, particularly the mobile internet, and yet, for the most part, our televisions are still stuck in the living room.

To be fair, most of my TV watching occurs in the living room.

But with mobile high speed internet, why are there not more options? Y

es, options exist.  Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple, etc. There are streaming options, and there are purchase options.

But what about live content?

What about giving consumers the ability to watch a TV show (especially sports) as it airs live the first time, via any device? 

Cable companies such as Time Warner have opened up a little bit. They have an iOS app that lets me watch TV (not all channels, but many, including some sports now) via my iPad or iPhone. The catch? I have to be at home, on my Time Warner provided internet connection. If I’m home and watching TV, I’m sitting on the couch, facing my TV.

HBO has HBO Go. Too bad it’s tied to a requirement that you subscribe via your traditional cable company. 

To me, the musical equivalent of that would be if you were required to buy a vinyl LP if you wanted mp3’s. Something new chained to something old.

Sports are a bit more open. The NBA has League Pass. But there are frustrating, antiquated blackout rules.

I understand that there is complex set of relationships between content providers, cable providers, and advertisers. I get that there are contracts that probably extend far into a murky future. Those contracts have served all parties involved with success for decades.

But the future is now. And the party that matters the most – the consumer – is feeling high and dry.

The ubiquity of mobile internet access, the existence of cheap, powerful video-capable devices which also happen to be interactive, consumers hungrier than ever for new content (traditional and interactive), and an explosion of app and user interface innovation, not seen since the dawn of the PC, is a perfect storm of ingredients for live television to take a leap forward for the first time since it’s inception.

Instead, TV is still bogged down, stuck in the past.

Slow innovation did not serve the music industry well. Steve Jobs stepped up. The same perfect storm lurched itself at book publishing, and Jeff Bezos stepped up.

Who will lead the charge to transform live TV?

Who can?

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