Internet Entertainment Portal
If you hold a position as the head of IT for an organization you can surely relate to the requests for advice concerning technology trends that come from your friends and coworkers. In the past it might have been; should I upgrade to the next version of Windows, or go with DSL or cable modems. Recently more questions arise about digital entertain and should I switch to the latest greatest broadband driven provider. Instead of offering advice I thought I would offer speculation. It seems to me that it is time for the next killer digital application that I will refer to as the Video Entertainment Portal. I define that as a digital aggregator for all video entertainment accessible via the Internet.
Here are the factors that I believe drive this opportunity. First Cable TV is obsolete and over priced. They will not be able to adapt to the transition of entertainment on demand. Second DVR has got to be getting the attention of the commercial advertising market. I will intentionally go perform some household chore for 15 minutes and then start watching a TV show so that I can skip the commercials thanks to the DVR. Third, most everything you want to watch is available somewhere on the Internet. Fourth, video on demand is more affordable. Netflix iTunes continues to pioneer this.
So what is this Digital Entertainment Portal? It is hardware and software. It is hardware in the form of Apple’s iTV except open. It is software in the tradition of any good Internet Portal except that it is integrated with a remote control device as in the tradition of the TV remote. What it does is allow you to aggregate all of the possible sources for Internet Video. It handles issues of subscriptions so NetFlix and iTunes can expand their reach. And it acts as a DVR for the remaining live TV shows. But most of all it guarantees some level of advertising eye contact. This ensures that the content producers still have a way to generate revenue. The trade off is that we still have to sit through commercials, but not as many, but the return for the advertiser is a higher qualified viewing hit rate.
So when do we see this product and what will it look like. Today it could be a new Apple Mini with someone creating this super Internet Portal Package. Or it could be a black box computer running Linux with a portal package. Outside shots could make it an Xbox or PlayStation, but that market doesn’t want to promote other forms of entertainment. What do you think it will be? I just know that I am ready to invest in a computer that I believe has the greatest opportunity to become that device. And you know what, it may also have a HD DVD or Blu Ray player, but it does not have to.