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Technology & Innovation

The Boob Tube Is Here to Stay

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A weekly collection of thought-provoking articles on tech, innovation, and long-term investing from Nightview Capital’s Eric Markowitz.

While people wonder daily about the future of the newspaper, music and publishing industries, the television business seems to be surviving on its own terms. Sure it has lost revenue to the crisis and to the Internet, but its fundamental qualities combined with some late innovation have given the boob tube unusual stability in our time of unprecedented media change.

For all the appeal of interactive technologies, sometimes a more passive form of entertainment is desirable and this is just what TV offers. After a long day, whether it is at the cannery or the conservatory, a little effortless entertainment may just hit the spot. Another new media value, choice, is a virtue TV only partially shares. Entertainment on the Net is on-demand, but beyond the choice of TV channels, shows are broadcast when television studios want to broadcast them rather than when you want to watch them. Until TiVo, if you had to work at eleven in the morning, tough, but you’re going to miss The Price is Right.

But TiVo is an example of an industry innovation that made watching TV more attractive. Yesterday’s innovation was high-definition TV; today’s is three-dimensional TV. Though not all the kinks have been ironed out yet, 3-D viewing promises to be a major revolution in entertainment.

Other innovations have been pragmatic steps to accept the Internet and its ability to enhance TV watching. One way many would like to enhance their experience is by not paying cable companies extortionist monthly fees. Fancast uses Hulu to make many TV series available on-demand and for free! And keep an eye on Whitehatt, an Internet TV platform that aims to compete with monthly cable providers and satellite networks, which will debut in September of this year.


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