These are exciting times for online video, with the combined targets of the living room and mobile devices signaling the start of something huge. Viva la revolution, as someone may have once said.
The Revolution Begins
In terms of the Web being accessed by computers, online video has made its mark. The likes of YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and the iPlayer have all been massive hits and proved beyond any doubt that the consumption of digital media is the future.
So it’s now time to ramp the effort up, with the living room the next big target. The ultimate goal must surely be to disable the big TV and movie studios’ abilities to control the marketplace.
Rose Loves Apple iTV
If the rumors are to be believed, Apple is preparing to relaunch Apple TV as iTV, turning Steve Jobs’ hobby project into a mainstream, highly-affordable piece of kit designed to revolutionize people’s viewing habits.
Kevin Rose, the founder and CEO of Digg, believes iTV will “change everything.”
His reasons for thinking this include iTV apps, similar to the one for the iPhone and iPod Touch, a la carte TV stations, video sharing between family and friends, and the integration of Apple’s existing mobile devices, including the iPad.
I agree with Rose that should iTV succeed, then it will be an important part of the living room revolution. But Google TV and video games consoles also have a part to play.
Google TV & Games Consoles
Google TV is set to launch before the year is out, and the interface is so far looking great. The one problem Google appears to be facing is convincing content partners to sign up. Mainly because while Apple is happy to charge end users for services, Google prefers free, open-source products. And studios and networks will balk at giving much away for nothing.
Then there are games consoles such as the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii. They have already proved their worth to the online video sector by offering a means of reaching living room audiences thanks to their in-built broadband connectivity. If anything, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will likely fight for more partners as online video options give their console the edge over the competition.
Put these three products together – all of which are affordable and appealing to the mainstream – and you have a seemingly magic combinations.
2011 could be an important year for online video making the move to the living room, whether the current owners of the space support the revolution or not.