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Television Media Hardware

What Is the Future of the Television? (ben-evans.com) 235

An anonymous reader writes: Benedict Evans has an interesting post about where television hardware is headed. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the tech industry made a huge push to invade the living room, trying to make the internet mesh with traditional TV broadcasts. As we all know, their efforts failed. Now, we periodically see new waves of devices to attach to the TV, but none have been particularly ambitious. The most successful devices of the recent wave, like the Chromecast and Apple TV, are simply turning the TV into a dumb screen for streamed content. Meanwhile, consumption of all types of video content is growing on smaller screens — tablets, phones, etc. Even game consoles are starting to see their market eroded by boxes like the Steam Link, which acts as a pipe for a game being played elsewhere on a PC. It raises an intriguing question: where is the television headed? What uses and functions does one giant screen serve that can't be cleverly redistributed to smaller screens? Evans concludes, "The web's open, permissionless innovation beat the closed, top-down visions of interactive TV and the information superhighway."
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What Is the Future of the Television?

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  • The future of TV is locked/bricked TVs sitting out in the garage or curb.
    http://it.slashdot.org/story/1... [slashdot.org]

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      Or used as a monitor to a PC if you are lucky.

      • Most have poor text display, and a lot of lag. On the whole they are often poor monitors.

        Big monitors on the other hand are awesome. I am a big fan of my 40" monitor, finally it is big enough that I don't end up using all the corners for stuff a lot of the time.

        • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

          I am using a 32" sanyo tv and a 19" polaroid tv for vga monitors.

          The polaroid has two large annoyances when used as a monitor. First it doesn't align the screen unless you select it from the menu (only 3/4ths of the screen is visible) second it has a very aggressive power save function that will time out and shut off the display before the computer has finished restarting then it has to be manually switched back on.

          The sanyo just has one annoyance If I enable the vga power saving feature it will switch on a

      • Re:Easy (Score:4, Interesting)

        by lgw ( 121541 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @04:24PM (#51004109) Journal

        My home theater setup is a 60" plasma screen attached to my laptop. It's only used as a display panel, but it works fine for that (text isn't great, but movies are). I enjoy a real home theater setup over any tablet or whatever. I doubt that use is going away.

        I think the big failure is that "Smart TVs" just aren't quite good enough to replace the "TV sticks", or at least not at a competitive price. But a big dumb display panel that looks great; that I want.

        • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

          I think the big failure is that "Smart TVs" just aren't quite good enough to replace the "TV sticks", or at least not at a competitive price.

          Also, TVs tend to last a while. The four-year-old 55" Toshiba in my living room most likely has at least twice as many years ahead of it. Streaming services and their associated gadgets come and go much more quickly. Netflix or Amazon will probably be around for the long haul, but what about those other services you've never heard of that the average "smart TV" of tod

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @12:58PM (#51002179)

    ... What uses and functions does one giant screen serve that can't be cleverly redistributed to smaller screens?...

    The size and mobility of the screen will continue to evolve towards use cases that are both needed and appropriate for the task involved, along with a continuing and increasing lockdown of the media streams so that a tithe can be extracted..

    .
    There, I saved you from having to waste time reading TFA as I did.

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      Pretty much. We already have two distinct areas for watching content. One is for casual content like television shows. It has a 30" TV with only the TV's built-in sound. The other is for watching movies. It has a projector, a 100" screen, and a surround sound system.

      Both are technically capable of both functions; both have Blu-ray players, both have Internet-connected computers. When we just want something on to sort-of pay attention to the TV is on, and we're usually doing something else at the sa
    • a continuing and increasing lockdown of the media streams so that a tithe can be extracted..

      Except this is the opposite of what is happening. I recently got a new TV, and it has built-in WiFi, native support for YouTube, and a menu for any random URL. It is easy to watch a free video, or view a webpage, located almost anywhere. Why should a Korean TV manufacturer give a crap whether I pay a "tithe" to Disney?

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @12:58PM (#51002187) Homepage Journal
    I mean, I like to watch stuff on my tablet or phone when I'm out and about and have a moment, or maybe dining alone from time to time.

    But at home? That's a different story. I enjoy watching movies especially on a LARGE screen tv 60" or larger preferably. I rarely go to the movie theater anymore, due to pricing and all the damned idiots that won't shut up, noisy kids, etc.

    I like to recreate the movie experience at home...and I have a sound system I've built over the years to run with a nice large picture.

    No, I don't watch much traditional "network" type television...hell all that turned to stupid "reality shows" or contests of some kind (I remember when the FoodTV and cooking channel used to actually SHOW people cooking with recipes and techniques)...I tune that out.

    Of late, good content has started to reappear, like Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, etc. However, with these, I tend to let them finish an annual run, and then binge watch them over a week or so.

    But I'd not enjoy good sit down viewing like this with friends or family, or hell, even by myself on a 12", 7" or less size picture.

    I want this on a nice LARGE high quality screen. Yes, I am bemoaning the loss of the plasma screen, I still think it has the best blacks, but still.

    Of course my eyes are getting worse too..but I don't understand why so many folks seem to be, as this article posits, to be watching everything from a damned cell phone or tablet.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Cell phones and tablets are cool when you are on the road. This is especially true if you have a less lame device and you can store stuff on the device and not be dependent on slow and unreliable networks.

      At home, the bigger the better.

      The first month that the original iPad was out I figured out how to stream video to it (around the house) and quickly got bored with that idea.

      Give my my 120inch screen. The display device doesn't need intelligence. It's actually better if it has none since external boxes are

      • by steveg ( 55825 )

        Except it's getting really hard to find a "dumb TV." Most of the people that *I've* talked to don't want a smart TV, but fewer and fewer companies making TVs are willing to make TVs without including "smart" features.

        Paradoxically, if you want a reasonable number of HDMI ports (so you can attach your own devices) you have to get a smart TV.

        • Paradoxically, if you want a reasonable number of HDMI ports (so you can attach your own devices) you have to get a smart TV.

          Or a dumb TV and an external HDMI switch. You need an external switch anyway if you have a lot of legacy devices with composite, S-Video, or component outputs, such as retro video game consoles or a VHS player for those movies that haven't yet been rereleased on Blu-ray.

        • Except it's getting really hard to find a "dumb TV." Most of the people that *I've* talked to don't want a smart TV, but fewer and fewer companies making TVs are willing to make TVs without including "smart" features.

          Paradoxically, if you want a reasonable number of HDMI ports (so you can attach your own devices) you have to get a smart TV.

          Well, it is only smart IF, you connect it to your network. Just leave it disconnected from your network and the internet, and it stays "dumb".

          ;)

          • Just leave it disconnected from your network and the internet, and it stays "dumb".

            I seem to remember reading somewhere that some models of "smart" TV will freeze on a "Please connect to the Internet to activate this TV" screen.

            • by steveg ( 55825 )

              Don't know about the TV, but I have a "smart" BluRay player. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever seen a "non-smart" one. In any case, it doesn't know my WiFi key, and as long as I don't accidentally trigger its setup mode it works just fine. If I do, switching back to "play" has been no problem.

              I don't know if that's going to bite me some day when it wants to check its DRM database with the mother ship.

          • by steveg ( 55825 )

            But you do pay more for the non-optional "option" of having the smart features. On the order of $100+ more, based on side-by-side comparisons of smart and non-smart TVs from the same vendors from previous years.

    • Yes, I am bemoaning the loss of the plasma screen, I still think it has the best blacks, but still.

      LG is shipping OLED TVs, the first vendor to break from the pack. The largest sizes are fantastically expensive, but they have plasma-quality black/contrast ratio, and for the same reason. One supposes they will hold the price up for a while, since they have zero competition, but they're available.

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      Yes, I am bemoaning the loss of the plasma screen, I still think it has the best blacks, but still.

      I bought a 60" plasma screen last year. It has terrific blacks, from the panel itself, to a special non-glare coating, to a "round down" function to handle the case where the HDMI stream ends up encoding black as "almost black", and forcing it back to black.

      Plasma TVs vanished from the bottom-end, but they still exist. OLED might genuinely replace plasma, though.

  • by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @12:59PM (#51002193) Homepage

    The problem is that the screen itself is a large, beautiful, and relatively expensive piece compared to everything that puts content on it. The price point makes it impractical to upgrade and replace on the same cycle as an XBox, Playstation, Roku, Apple TV, etc. Personally, I replace the screen every 7-10 years, and the connected devices every 3-5 years. Until the screens drop sufficiently in price to be replaceable in sync with the content devices, it makes exactly zero sense to cram more stuff into them. Especially when you consider the security issues.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Something else that you can do with a cheap set top box is have a single unified user interface imposed upon all of your displays without the need to restrict yourself to a single display vendor.

      The premium for the smart parts of my first smart TV was 3x the cost of one of these little boxes. Simply not worth it for embedded functionality that will quickly be desupported.

      It's much easier to replace an external box and keep the nice expensive display.

      There is simply no need to replace displays on the schedul

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I think there are still improvements that could be made to TVs that would probably tempt me to upgrade a little earlier.

      Remote controls still suck. I connect a Raspberry Pi to my TV and it gets input from the TV's remote via the HDMI cable and CDC protocol. The remote is not very responsive and far from ideal for controlling XBMC, or even smart TV apps for that matter.

      Better sound would be nice too. I have a sound bar and sub, but most of the time I'd be happy with TV sound if it was as good as my old CRTs.

      • If you can wait a few years, your eyes might just downgrade in synch so you won't notice the difference.

        There are advantages of getting older.

      • . Maybe if someone can create an LED TV that is as good I'd be interested, but for the moment I'm worried that when my current plasma dies I'll be forced to downgrade.

        LG is shipping AMOLED TVs, at long last, the first vendor to break from the pack and do it. They have true black, just like plasmas. The largest sizes are still fantastically expensive, but they are available, and they're UltraHD.

    • by rsborg ( 111459 )

      The problem is that the screen itself is a large, beautiful, and relatively expensive piece compared to everything that puts content on it. The price point makes it impractical to upgrade and replace on the same cycle as an XBox, Playstation, Roku, Apple TV, etc. Personally, I replace the screen every 7-10 years, and the connected devices every 3-5 years. Until the screens drop sufficiently in price to be replaceable in sync with the content devices, it makes exactly zero sense to cram more stuff into them. Especially when you consider the security issues.

      At some point, when more money is made from the connective devices and services than the TV itself, there will be one or more players (perhaps including Apple) who merges the set-top box into the TV while keeping upgradability separate.

      One way this might come about while keeping the existing ecosystem intact might be to have a "made for AppleTV" or "made for Roku" type licensing scheme so TV features like video cams (e.g. FaceTime for TV) or 3D support or basics like screen size/refresh, etc may be bundled

  • by TigerPlish ( 174064 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:01PM (#51002205)

    Just give me enough dumb screen to give me a 47 degree field of view from my chair, and I'm happy. What I plug into that screen could be anything. It could even be a cable box, thus turning into a "television."

  • by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:02PM (#51002227)

    Ow My Balls!

  • by hwstar ( 35834 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:03PM (#51002235)

    The future of television is on-demand and not scheduled programming with the option to pay subscription fees to kill all advertising. This means no cable TV as we currently see it. All TV programming will be sent over IP networks. Over the air local TV stations will start offering TV streaming to smart TV's, and will retire their transmitters. The spectrum will be freed up for other uses.

    My take on Advertising: Advertising is a scourge which causes weak minded people to go into debt wasting money purchasing things they don't need. Think of it as the 20th/21st century Jedi Mind Trick.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I disagree. I was an early adopter of online streaming. Ditched cable long before Netflix. But over time I got tired of "looking for things to watch" - it's more time consuming and tedious that flipping channels. About a year ago I had a digital antenna installed. I have 30+ channels and the content is decent. I've found that I rarely stream anything anymore. What was once novel and cutting edge now seemed to be a huge pain in the ass. To be honest the TV is on more for background noise than anything else,

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        Antenna TV really only works if you really really REALLY don't care about the crap you're watching. Otherwise, it's painful and confusing and you quickly realize that you would be better off with your own DVDs.

        Broadcast TV mutilates content. It even mutilates stuff originally made for broadcast.

        • Antenna TV really only works if you really really REALLY don't care about the crap you're watching.

          There are plenty of people in Slashdot's home country who care about the national championships of the country's major professional sport leagues: the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, and the World [sic] Series.

    • The future of television is on-demand and not scheduled programming

      Good luck getting the sport leagues to play matches when you want to watch them.

      • But I really don't like watching ports on TV. Never have.

        Live sports are occasionally nice, but usually overpriced. I especially hate when there is a mysterious stop, only to realize it is for a commercial break. WTF? Why not time shift the TV watchers and catch up the 1-2 minutes of lag during real timeouts or halftime?

        Besides, watching sports live at home just means you cannot skip the annoying commercials. DVR the sucker and skip the commercials and inane commentary for the bloated nostalgia panel d

      • by rsborg ( 111459 )

        The future of television is on-demand and not scheduled programming

        Good luck getting the sport leagues to play matches when you want to watch them.

        Many people years ago recorded matches for watching later. TiVo/DVR culture has long ago hit mainstream. It's not like VCRs couldn't do this - most 25 years ago could record on a schedule - just a PITA to set it.

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
      This is a very bleak future if you are correct. Advertising generates a lot of money. More importantly it generates a lot of money up front. If you take this away from the network they are going to start doing what we are currently seeing in the film industry: They are going to stop taking any chances and only put out shows that they know will sell.

      Now, you are probably thinking "That's exactly what I want, good TV! No more crap!"

      Have you ever asked yourself why there are so many shows you don't lik
      • by hwstar ( 35834 )

        That future would not be bleak. Yes, there would be a period of retrenchment as the economy reconfigures itself, but it would eventually end up being a better
        environment to live in once the reconfiguration is complete.

        Once the reconfiguration is complete, a lot more people would be financially independent as well as happier. Debt is slavery, and advertising is an enabler which sells people into debt slavery.

        Once a person's basic needs are met, then a lot of problems in society go away. Advertising is all

    • the ISP's that own cable tv / other systems will lower caps to push people to get there cap free TV.

      • by hwstar ( 35834 )

        The opposite has been happening in my area. Caps are increasing and pricing is flexible in that you can call, threaten to cancel, and keep your subcription rate stable for 1-2 years (At least with Cox Internet).

    • The future of television is on-demand and not scheduled programming with the option to pay subscription fees to kill all advertising. This means no cable TV as we currently see it. All TV programming will be sent over IP networks. Over the air local TV stations will start offering TV streaming to smart TV's, and will retire their transmitters. The spectrum will be freed up for other uses.

      Well, that last one won't happen until cellular Internet becomes ubiquitous (so broadband speeds are available everywher

    • The future of television is on-demand and not scheduled programming with the option to pay subscription fees to kill all advertising. This means no cable TV as we currently see it.

      The wide world of sports begs to differ.

  • If you still define a TV as something with both a display and a tuner/channel selector, then yes, it's dead and covered with larvae.

    If you separate the display from whatever collection of boxes you use to generate a video (and audio) stream, then large displays will always be desirable.

    If you get literal, translating "tele - vision" as "distant seeing," then any streaming source to the monitor counts as TV. It's just OTA sources that will go away -- unless you count cellular video streaming to your pho

    • If you still define a TV as something with both a display and a tuner/channel selector, then yes, it's dead and covered with larvae.

      I'm pretty sure my TV hasn't had any role in volume, channel selection, or anything but which input it is displaying in well over a decade.

      Unless you need a touch screen, pretty much any display device is just a passive monitor.

      Between DVD players and cable boxes, TVs have been excluded from that functionality for a VERY long time.

    • It's just OTA sources that will go away -- unless you count cellular video streaming to your phone followed by Chromecasting to the monitor

      I'll count that once advertisers pay for all the data that such streaming uses.

      • by rsborg ( 111459 )

        It's just OTA sources that will go away -- unless you count cellular video streaming to your phone followed by Chromecasting to the monitor

        I'll count that once advertisers pay for all the data that such streaming uses.

        Don't give them any ideas. Zero-rating ads seems like a very plausible move in the war for your eyeballs.

  • Hello.. don't multiple people watch TV together any more? It is a pain when my wife and I watch 'content' and have to use a laptop. Occasionally the family gets together for a move. TVs are still required. In fact, I have computers on all my TVs because sometimes it's nice to browse while sitting back on the couch.
    • IF anything, I would think the convergence of HDMI woudl make a computer monitor will become obsolete, because you can get a far bigger TV for a lesser price. Do they even sell monitors any more? My old VGA ones are still working so it's been awhile since I have had to shop for one.
    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
      "Occasionally the family gets together for a move."

      I sure hope you get together when moving! I'd hate to be the one who got left behind!
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Now I know why grown children stay in mom's basement longer: she'd "hate to be the one who got left behind".

  • What TV needs to become is what it once was, a big dumb box that displays what you tell it to display. By trying to turn TVs into Smart TVs, all we do is put crappy, malware-friendly software onto our TV which can turn it into an expensive brick even though all of the actual display components are still working. Putting software on an appliance is just dumb.
  • An important aspect of the big screen TV is the social aspect.
    Watching a movie or sports together, playing a multiplayer single-screen game like Smash Bros, this is better done with a big screen in the middle of the living room.

  • by MagickalMyst ( 1003128 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:10PM (#51002303)
    I don't know about everyone else but I haven't owned a TV in at least 10 years. I've never been a big TV person.

    That said, I did buy a small projector that I use for watching movies and documentaries on Netflix.

    It is low power, very portable and displays in HD (720p). It will literally fit into a large coat pocket.

    Details here [dell.com].

    I'm not a big fan of Dell, but I highly recommend this device if you are in the market for a projector/TV.
    • Re:Projectors? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:17PM (#51002391) Homepage

      - Projectors cast shadows when you walk in front of them.
      - They generally get duller or break more than a TV over time.
      - They are just as - if not more - expensive as a TV over time.
      - They get hot, and can be noisy, and sound often sucks compared to an equivalent TV (granted, some people have separate audio systems).
      - As you said, you can get 720p. I had that on a monitor back in the 1990's. In fact, I'm pretty sure I beat that quite handsomely. HD is a downgrade for anyone that was used to the first wave of 22" LCD monitors. 720p barely cuts it on a large projected screen (and I'm one of those people who doesn't see the need for HD even!). TV's are going into 4k as we speak, and that means huge res at huge size where you CAN utilise all that resolution.
      - You've got to go some to pull a 65" TV off the wall. Projectors can be pulled from even ceiling mounts and put under a coat (trust me, I've filled out the insurance forms for work).

      I work in schools. We have DOZENS of projectors on site. Even in a massive industry like education, we're all moving to large-screen touch TV's for the above reasons. Even fancy short-throws mounted above the boards are no longer in vogue.

      Projectors have a lot of problems that TV's don't have. The only advantage is (sort of) portability, but for any serious setup, you wouldn't be able to move it around anyway.

      • Re:Projectors? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MagickalMyst ( 1003128 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:51PM (#51002739)
        Some very interesting points! I agree with most of them. However:

        "- They are just as - if not more - expensive as a TV over time."

        I paid about $600 for mine, brand new. And because it uses LED instead of a regular bulb it does not get hot like a traditional projector. Nor do I need to replace the bulb ($300) every 3000 hours or so. LED bulb (non-replaceable) on this projector is supposed to last approximately 20,000 hours. So about the same price as a basic TV.

        "- They generally get duller or break more than a TV over time."

        Mine still works perfectly after 4 years. No degraded picture or problems.

        "- ... can be noisy, and sound often sucks compared to an equivalent TV (granted, some people have separate audio systems)."

        The fan can be a little annoying, depending on where the device is situated. Sound goes to the stereo so audio isn't an issue.

        "but for any serious setup, you wouldn't be able to move it around anyway."

        The tripod stand is also quite portable. Seriously.

        "I work in schools. We have DOZENS of projectors on site."

        Projectors may not be the best solution in your case - schools. However, the article specifically mentioned "invading the living room". I normally use my projector in the living room.

        "Projectors have a lot of problems that TV's don't have."

        That's kind of a moot point. TV's have a lot of problems that projectors don't have.

        The biggest reason that I went for a projector as opposed to a TV is a large, portable display. That, and there's nothing like helping friends and relatives move and lugging around some behemoth 50lb+ 52 inch TV, up and down stairs and trying not to scratch the walls or damage the TV. My projector is about as big and heavy as a home DSL router.

        Projectors may not be for everyone but they are certainly worth looking into.
    • I've been doing projectors since the mid 1990's after I saw one in the Smithsonian showing the asteroid scene from Empire and was wowed by the scale of the image. The quality (NTSC) wasn't so great but there were ways even then to improve it with line doublers and scalers plus using LaserDisc instead of VHS.

      The cost of projection has come down and the quality has gone up over time and I'm now on my fourth projector. They've all been DLP and I typically run them at 100" or bigger. My current one (Optoma HD50

    • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @11:10PM (#51006301)

      An atheist, a vegan, and a guy who doesn't own a TV walk into a bar. I only know because they told everyone within 2 minutes.

  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:13PM (#51002347)

    Big screen size is being positioned as somehow opposed to the concept of 'openness' of web. It's one of a few jumbled concepts in here..

    -No, big screens aren't going away, still as popular as ever. Other screens may also be popular as people watch things in a car, at lunch, etc, but big screens are still the go to in the home.
    -Linear television content's days are numbered, which should be apparent to anyone paying attention since the days of the VCR's popularity. People want the content on their terms and time, and time shifting linear delivery is the workaround to use broadcast technologies. Advanced networks mean the need to broadcast is more and more limited. Business and legal wrangling of licensing terms will keep broadcast television around longer than it should be, but it will happen. Programming
    -Game consoles are in no way threatened right now. They are massively popular streaming platforms, and Valve's streaming device isn't even on the radar for most folks. Sales of consoles are higher than ever.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:14PM (#51002359) Homepage

    It raises an intriguing question: where is the television headed? What uses and functions does one giant screen serve that can't be cleverly redistributed to smaller screens?

    What the hell do you think people do with TVs?

    That's right, we watch them ... TV, movies, maybe video games.

    I don't want my big TV replaced with anything which is "cleverly redistributed to smaller screens".

    I have never used my TV as anything but a dumb screen for content from other sources. Most other people probably won't either.

    People keep telling me what my TV will be in the future, and like so many people telling us what "the future" will hold for us, they're not actually listening to what anybody wants.

    So, the next time I'm sitting and watching a movie in my living room in my comfy sofa ... I sure as hell won't be asking the not-so-very-intriguing question of What uses and functions does one giant screen serve that can't be cleverly redistributed to smaller screens?.

    A TV is a display device, for one or more other devices, all of which are infinitely more suited to retrieving and rendering content than my TV.

    Oddly enough, the monitors on my computer are also just dumb displays.

    • That's right, we watch them ... TV, movies, maybe video games.

      I don't want my big TV replaced with anything which is "cleverly redistributed to smaller screens".

      So do you want to make it that much easier to give away your position in a first-person shooter to your screen-peeking competitors?

      • So do you want to make it that much easier to give away your position in a first-person shooter to your screen-peeking competitors?

        Yeah ... about that ... that's not an actual use-case for me, because I don't play them, or any other form of online game.

        I strongly suspect it's also not an issue for most people either.

        The needs of geeks and gamers have nothing to do with how the rest of the world uses technology, and are pretty useless in determining what people actually want and need.

  • in the future. like: tomorrow morning.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:17PM (#51002389) Homepage

    I think the TV as such is mostly going to go away, at least the form with a tuner. Here in Norway the mean broadband connection is 33 Mbit/s, the median 24 Mbit/s and 90%+ have 4+ Mbit/s. In say ten more years of fiber rollout "everybody" will have enough bandwidth to watch whatever they want, whenever they want it. That doesn't mean I think TV as such will go away, but the big screen in the living room will just be one of many where you can watch it. As for "smart" TVs, well they don't cost more than a cell phone less screen, camera and radio/wireless so why not throw it in there even if 95% don't use it.

  • "Even game consoles are starting to see their market eroded by boxes like the Steam Link, which acts as a pipe for a game being played elsewhere on a PC."

    Unless you can provide some very surprising evidence backing this claim, I'm going to have to call bullshit. Sales of console and handheld games and hardware have been steadily, reliably increasing since the 1990s, and the industry's rate of growth has started to increase exponentially over the past few years (source here).

    Not only that, but Steam Link

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:31PM (#51002513) Journal
    I think there should be advances in OTA broadcast technology.
    Several years ago I decided that I was tired of paying $50 a month to Comcast for a whole slew of channels I never ever watched, a handful I did, and all the shitty extra re-compression they were doing to jam all the crap channels I never watched into the same size pipe, and got an antenna on the roof and started watching local broadcast stations instead, and never looked back once. Best decision I ever made. I've got more stuff on my DVR than I have time to watch, typically, it cost me nothing other than a one-time expense for the antenna, and the picture quality is about as high as it can be. Updating of OTA broadcast, I think, will find more people turning to it and away from shitty cable and satellite, which is already a trend. Streaming over the Internet, I think, is just another 'pay TV' trap like cable and satellite, and as a matter of fact if you think for a moment, how is it really any different than cable or satellite directly connected to your TV? Worse in some ways, you're paying for the connectivity and paying for the content! Get Netflix or something like it for the things you can't get OTA (newer movies, specific content) but OTA makes so much sense.
  • With camera-enabled smart TV's this cheesy slashdot joke is coming back to haunt us, expect more usage of the camera by TV channels to give you better targeted advertising and make sure you watch it. They'll have a nice 100-page privacy policy which basically entails a live videostream going to their HQ and them agreeing not to have real people watching it.

    The usual "but you'd have to pay so much more for the quality programming you're getting" argument will be trotted out to anyone who dares to critici
  • This was before smartphones, youtube, mandatory HDTV broadcast TV and G3. Icould see hints in video podcasts and plasma wall screens. Now that we have video screens everywhere ranging from watches to jumbotrons, the hardware dream has been fully realised. Content distribution still has to catch up. Cable monopoly bundles still dominate. But that is fading.
  • by xiando ( 770382 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:41PM (#51002631) Homepage Journal
    I do not have a television but I do have a computer with a 3 monitor PC setup (24" 27" 24") and a good surround setup. I would by a "TV" if I could get a big basic screen with a decent resolution - but they simply don't sell those. 40" with supposed "HD" which is really 720p half-HD? This the dark ages? Am I to be impressed with a resolution lower than the average cellphone?

    I also do NOT want a "smart" screen ("TV") with some ultra lame SOC which will be outdated in a month running some garbage OS with a lot of bugs and no chance of future updates. These "Android on a stick" type things are likely selling because you can simply replace them with newer models when you feel like it without buying a brand new screen.

    I also do NOT want to pay for a garbage tin-can sounding "stereo" when I buy a SCREEN ("TV"). That joke of an amplifier combined with poor quality stereo speakers they include in TVs have no place anywhere near my living-room.

    I personally don't even want that "TV decoder" part of a TV, it's not like any of the channels offered are worth wasting time on anyway. The supposed "news" the "mainstream media" offer is nothing but fascist propaganda mixed with entertainment and watching TV shows with commercial breaks it out of the question.

    In short: I personally HOPE that the answer to "What is the future of Television" is nothing, I hope it dies and like the telegraph. If someone were to offer a big screen with an acceptable resolution with nothing but inputs and outputs on the back then I would probably buy that. As it stands right now I don't have a television and I do not want one and I would not accept one if I got one for free.
    • by steveg ( 55825 )

      Um. I'm not sure where you've been looking at flat screen TVs, but 1080p has been available on 40" TVs for years. There are even some 4K TVs in that size range, although not very many.

        Dumb TVs have been available for some time, but *those* seem to be fading away.

    • In short: I personally HOPE that the answer to "What is the future of Television" is nothing, I hope it dies and like the telegraph. If someone were to offer a big screen with an acceptable resolution with nothing but inputs and outputs on the back then I would probably buy that. As it stands right now I don't have a television and I do not want one and I would not accept one if I got one for free.

      But, I don't know about you, but I also need a Remote with Power, volume, Sleep, mute and Change input buttons for my dumb panel.

    • by TheSync ( 5291 )

      40" with supposed "HD" which is really 720p half-HD? This the dark ages? Am I to be impressed with a resolution lower than the average cellphone?

      At a typical TV viewing distance of 2.6m, you can only see the resolution of 720p with a 45" set or larger. For 1080p resolution, you would need a set of 68" or larger. For 2160p resolution, you need a set of 148" or larger.

  • TV=they decide when & what I WATCH.
    Internet=I decide when & what I DO.
    Television as a concept is not even the slightest bit interesting to me. Let it die, or are the masses so dull, moronic ans stupid they are pleading with "Them" to drip-feed them the bread and circuses on "their" timetable and "their" content.
  • Apps as a new way to stream on TV is not that interesting and will not really do anything much to increase traditional TV watching.

    What will be much larger is the potential for apps on TV to add lots of context around what we are watching, which will mostly occur by linking mobile apps to TV apps driving the display. Then you can have more of a shared experience, or direct feedback related to the video which the video producer could also use live...

  • Answer that, then go from there. The TV world got turned upside down with the advent of digital cable. When TV networks started getting real feedback of who's actually watching and how long, instead of the WAG Nielsen ratings, that caused a panic among the TV and advertising industries. That's about the time reality TV and their lower production costs started really taking over, because you couldn't count on the same amount of advertising sponsorship to fund the higher production cost series.

    I don't real

  • by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:43PM (#51002661)

    It finally is feeling like there is a snowball starting to roll towards buying a few specific subscriptions to stuff you like instead of a smorgasbord of crap you have to sift through. I have not watched "live" TV in my house in probably 4 years.

    ESPN, QVC, and their ilk will hopefully be left high and dry with not enough folks willing to pay for them to keep them alive. ESPN in particular is the poster child of what I hate about cable. I don't want it, but must still fork over ~$8 a month in dues so the masses can cheer on their adopted tribal warriors and feel better through the accomplishments or failures of folks they have likely never even met. My guess is that on the open market ESPN will find itself in a death spiral where the current costs of operation cannot actually be supported by the few folks willing to fork over for monthly access. More than the money, I hate that I was supporting what i view as a negative influence on the country.

    So in the future I can see us with a lot fewer options, but with a lot of the absolute crap gone. I am heartened by Hulu finally offering an option to be (mostly) ad-free. Netflix was already ad-free.

    But on the whole the prevalence of tablets for easy internet browsing has filled a lot of the idiot box utility. Why watch the news when I can read what I want and skip around the fluff on Apple or Google news? Why watch the financial shows when I can look at the plots myself and read only the advisors i trust, not the wackos and cranks that CNBC is rife with?

  • Another use case (Score:4, Informative)

    by spaceman375 ( 780812 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @01:53PM (#51002747)
    I'm getting older. I don't need glasses yet, but after many hours of looking at a nearby screen my vision gets blurry. Looking at something far away keeps my eyes happier. So now I use a bluetooth mouse & keyboard, plug my box into my big screen, and browse/read/CLI/program from the couch. Television means distant seeing; just what I need.
  • the internet becomes like cable bundles where you are forced to buy lot's of stuff that you don't need or want to get online.

  • Instead of a 'smart' tv how about one with an api that would let you control the TV from a connected device?

    • You can already get cell phone apps that control your smart TV via WiFi... if you're talking about opening up the APIs used to third-party developers, that might cause more problems than it solves. The IR interface appears to be fairly open now, anybody can make a universal remote and cellphone apps to do it are ubiquitous. We probably need to wait for the WiFi interface to stabilize more before they open it up.
  • 4k just starting to stream, 8k on the horizon and most content compressed so much it does not matter.

    Were at the saturation point for flat panels so they are struggling to try and keep the market up.

    Now that's not to say they do not need work.

    CEC needs to work far better.
    TV's need wifi and ethernet so they can be controlled/automated/integrated.
    TV's need sensors, motion, camera, mic, and lux at least. They need to be exposed in a standard way.

    • 4K was the point of diminishing returns, human perception isn't capable of distinguishing anything more than 4000 divisions across in their field of vision. Higher resolution than that is only useful if you're going to be blowing the image up or just looking at a small section of the image, which by definition is NOT the video-watching audience. Also, eventually people will realize that pushing 4 times as many bits down the pipe costs 4 times as much. Flat panels will transition from LED to OLED as the yiel
  • by Lost Race ( 681080 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @03:00PM (#51003389)

    Somebody wrote a book about the future of television, among other things. It's called "1984".

    In corporatist 21st century, television watches you!

  • This is Max Headroom, coming to you live and direct on Network 23...Edison, take it away!

  • What uses and functions does one giant screen serve that can't be cleverly redistributed to smaller screens?

    Um, you can actually clearly see what you're watching?

  • "I like to watch." (Score:5, Interesting)

    by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock@poe[ ].com ['tic' in gap]> on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @04:17PM (#51004057)

    "I like to watch." - Quote from Chauncy Gardener (Peter Sellers) in the movie 'Being There'.

    Many people leave the TV on all day, some all night. Some have multiple TVs on in different rooms. These people tend to be home alone and their television is a 'companion'. They like the stream of voices, especially happy voices like from game shows. They usually don't actually watch a show, almost never from beginning to end. They get sound bites, they see an occasional pleasant scene as they vacuum the floor or wash dishes or talk on the phone.

    Clearly these are not /. people, but they vastly outnumber us. They are the demographic that advertisers want to reach. TV ads slip in to the distracted mind unnoticed where they can have maximum impact on the subconscious.

    The future of television for the masses of dull ignorant people is exactly what we have. What we have had since B&W Jackie Gleason shows. Lots of easily accessible mindless entertainment for mindless people. Thank goodness for some new producers who offer more stimulating fare.

    • /. people: they leave the tv on because it drowns out the sound of their mom yelling at them from upstairs!
  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @04:49PM (#51004337)
    How did they manage to develop a 4K television standard that still kept the old 50Hz/60Hz dichotomy? Could we please just pick one universal framerate? Tying the screen refresh rate to the power line frequency is sort of silly at this point, isn't it? (Yes, I'm also upset the "4K television" and "4K movie" are two completely different resolutions)
  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2015 @08:42PM (#51005727)

    Recent efforts like the Amazon Original Series "The Man in the High Castle" (based on the Philip K Dick book of the same name) show that the future of TV should be companies making programming based on what people want to watch (and are willing to pay for) rather than on what the companies convince advertisers to support.

    But as long as dinosaur last-century media companies like Comcast, Time Warner, CBS corporation, Fox, Disney, Viacom and others continue to do everything they can to preserve their status as gatekeepers dictating what content people get to see, the future of TV will be people paying ever-increasing subscription fees for overpriced pay TV products that force them to pay for 500 channels they dont want just to get the 5 channels showing content they are actually interested in.

    Disney is by far the worst offender here where they force anyone who wants ANY of the vast portfolio of Disney content (including rebroadcasts of their local ABC affiliate) has to pay money for ESPN even if they dont want it, dont like it and never watch sports at all. Should ESPN go away? No, plenty of people DO like what they air. But Disney should stop forcing ESPN (probably one of the more expensive channels when it comes to how much the TV companies pay to get it on their platform) on people who dont want it and will never watch it.

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