Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Beyond the world of HD and DTV

So many announcements by cable, telco, and satellite touting all their HD programming. Fios TV adds A&E HD and Fox Business HD, Cablevision and others are adding TBS HD, AT&T U-Verse is offering over 30 HD channels, and now in print ads, Direct TV is boasting more than 70 HD channels. As the holidays approach, more and more people, myself included, will be shopping for the next generation HD screen, 1080p, to enjoy all this programming.

But as I have come to learn, it is more than just having the TV set. Your converter box must be HD ready, the channel you are watching must be HD, the programming on that channel has to be HD. So many consumers today are watching HD sets, but not truly watching HD TV. There is an education process to inform the viewer what truly is HD. And with any technological transition, this too will pass, as every channel finally goes HD 24/7 and non HD viewing is a thing of the pass.

And then what else is on the horizon. As the crystal ball heats up, I am interested what will TV viewing look like 20 years from today. The black & white to color TV transition is foreign to most younger audiences; others still fondly recall getting their first color TV in the house. So in 20+ years, what is next for enjoying our entertainment at home. Size of screen continues to grow and some might speculate that video walls are destined to be next. Just look at an HD control room and imagine the ability to customize a wall in your home with 1 screen or multiple screens; shots of sporting events or of the outside of your house. Others speak of the Star Trek approach. We've watched ST communicators, an imagination of Gene Roddenberry become today's mobile phone. Could the holodeck, and 3-D and interactive be a possibility?

But getting back to today, In the competitive world of cable, HD is being touted as the big fight. Which provider offers the most HD channels. But perhaps for marketing purposes, the real message should remain service. Which provider will do the best job to install, maintain, and satisfy the expectations of their customers and keep them loyal as the quantity message continues to blast us for attention.