Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Comcast Says Future Of TV Is X1

Great read in Business Insider called  "How the battle for TV's future could take over your whole house".  Matt Strauss, EVP of Comcast Video Services, sees TV evolving in a new way.  The TV continues to be the centerpiece of the house and that smarter features out of the X1 cable box offers the user more control.  "X1 is a cross between an advanced TV guide and a virtual assistant, and Comcast thinks it will compete with the likes of Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo and Apple's Siri-powered Apple TV."  With a touch of the microphone button on the remote, the X1 box can find channels, shows, answer simple questions, and possibly more.

Strauss believes that the X1 box can be the "hub" for which the home can likely get smarter.  As we tend to have TVs in almost every room, attaching an X1 box to each TV that all communicate up to the cloud and share back info, creates a unified smart home experience.  And while we may not always want the TV screen to be on, the X1 box is always on.  That opens itself up to a larger future.

From my own experience with X1 so far, I see the potential.  The next generation of boxes will need to work on voice command without remote button push, like the Amazon Echo.  One could say, "X1, what is the weather today",  just as we ask Alexa.  It could potentially then answer back rather than put answer on screen.  Than we could say, "X1 turn TV on or off", again without a remote button push.  The future possibilities are endless.  Perhaps a partnership for Comcast and Apple Siri to explore.

As to the Comcast plan, As Business Insider suggests, "So for Comcast, winning the future of TV could mean winning the entire house in the process."  I agree.

Facebook To Stop Ad Blockers From Working

As much as we all seem to hate ads, they are the lifeblood, the revenue, that drives the growth off many media businesses.  But too many, too cluttered, too irrelevant, and they make the experience of watching or reading content less enjoyable.  In the digital world, ads also tend to slow down the streaming process, as they attempt to figure out which ad to present and run on site.  As a result, many users have installed ad blockers to quicken the web load refresh process and let users enjoy only the content. 

Facebook says they have figured out how to "block the blockers" to help them assure that ads are seen and their revenue grows.  But in an attempt to aid the user, Facebook is also offering more control on what ads to see and what ads to hide.  How much more control remains to be seen and whether it is more useful to the viewing experience. 

While some use ad blockers to improve the page load, others use ad blockers to improve personal privacy and protection from possible malware.  Many want to be anonymous in their viewing process and do not want to be tracked.  While my biggest gripe is how ads slow down the page from loading, I also believe that a number of the ads presented are simply not relevant to me.  That Facebook wants to improve that experience is helpful, but more importantly, they need to improve the load refresh of the page.