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Why TV Lost

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the l-for-love dept.

Television 576

theodp writes "Over the past 20 years, there's been much speculation about what the convergence of computers and TV would ultimately look like. Paul Graham says that we now know the answer: computers. 'Convergence' is turning out to essentially be 'replacement.' Why did TV lose? Graham identifies four forces: 1. The Internet's open platform fosters innovation at hacker speeds instead of big company speeds. 2. Moore's Law worked its magic on Internet bandwidth. 3. Piracy taught a new generation of users it's more convenient to watch shows on a computer screen. 4. Social applications made everybody from grandmas to 14-year-old girls want computers — in a three-word-nutshell, Facebook killed TV."

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576 comments

I'm not dead yet (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107691)

Rumors about my death have been greatly exaggerated. tv

Digital broadcast (4, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107921)

I suspect digital broadcast TV is going to swing the pendulum back a bit.

Re:Digital broadcast (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27108013)

Digital broadcast TV is a huge disappointment in my book. With analog TV, bad reception results in some snow on the screen. Programs are still perfectly viewable because there are no frame dropouts, and the audio is still there. Digital TV's failure mode is generally catastrophic, with no audio, shredding of the image akin to a half-received jpeg file; it's basically unwatchable with even the slightest bad reception where you would barely notice a problem with analog.

If the degradation in quality of practical viewing had been accompanied by an increase in the quality of television programs offered, then it would be tolerable. However, the programs still suck, so I tend to spend my viewing time surfing youtube rather than surfing channels that keep cutting out.

Re:Digital broadcast (3, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108179)

The signal bandwidth of digital TV is much narrower than traditional analog broadcast, so much less actually has to be received to successfully construct the stream.

The extra bandwidth can be used to instead transmit redundant information and error correction codes, to make the signal much more reliable than it ever was with analog TV, and potentially multiple different streams over the same channel.

The failure mode is more catastrophic, but digital technology should also be much less likely to fail.

Re:Digital broadcast (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108235)

I suspect digital broadcast TV is going to swing the pendulum back a bit.

Not if people who used to rely on an analog broadcast signal can't get a DTV signal with the same antenna. This is reportedly a problem for people who live in the country between towns: a fuzzy analog signal could reach, but there isn't enough SNR for a digital tuner to sync to the carrier. Even in cities, all isn't perfect: I can get the FOX affiliate station in Fort Wayne, Indiana, fine over analog but not at all over digital.

Re:I'm not dead yet (1)

Frankenshteen (1355339) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108063)

"I don't want to go on the cart." - TV Fixed that for you.

Re:I'm not dead yet (2, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108115)

What is this 'Facebook' that you speak of?

Re:I'm not dead yet (4, Insightful)

murdocj (543661) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108175)

If the article literally means that we're all going to be crowded around computer screens to watch entertainment instead of sitting comfortably on our couches in the living room, then yeah, it's wrong. My wife and I probably spend way too much time on our computers (we're WoW addicts). But when we want to watch a "TV show" (usually a DVD of a TV show) we go into the living room. It's just way more pleasant and better set up.

If you're talking about the delivery mechanism, then yeah, it may work out that broadcasting the same signal to everyone is going away. Although even that I question. I'm wondering if the Internet infrastructure really has the bandwidth to support everyone (not just a minority of people) all doing real time streaming. I'm thinking we're at least one generation of the Internet away from such capacity.

Re:I'm not dead yet (3, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108253)

If the article literally means that we're all going to be crowded around computer screens to watch entertainment instead of sitting comfortably on our couches in the living room, then yeah, it's wrong. My wife and I probably spend way too much time on our computers (we're WoW addicts). But when we want to watch a "TV show" (usually a DVD of a TV show) we go into the living room.

What's stopping you having a computer in the living room hooked up to the TV, or sitting comfortably on your couch with a laptop? Admittedly, I agree we're a way off for this being commonplace for everyone, but we've moved on from the days when "PC" meant a single computer in the household, that wasn't in the living room, hooked up to a small CRT. HDTV means that most TVs will accept a computer input; computers are cheap and commonplace; and laptops are outselling desktops. I agree that for this to be mainstream, it needs to be packaged in something more userfriendly, but I bet it'll basically be a computer with an Internet connection.

Neither "won" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107725)

Both computers and TV are still "alive".

TV's are becoming more computer-like though. With digital guides, PVR's and whatnot. Eventually it'll all be a hybrid. Do computer stuff on your TV, do TV stuff on your computer.

I Want My iTV (4, Interesting)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107737)

In Wired in 1998, I ranted as follows:

(Microsoft VP) Craig Mundie's statement that "we view the Internet as one of the 'features' of digital TV services" demonstrates the same lack of vision that caused Microsoft to miss the start of the Internet phenomenon. As communications technologies converge, TV will be one of the services of the Internet, not the other way around.

Not to say ITYS but ITYS.

Couldn't part of the reason for this win be that people over the age of two don't actually like being spoonfed their entertainment, their desires (mu-u-u-st SHOP!), and their political opinions?

On the Internet, I can not only drive, but plan out the whole route, if I want. Heck, I can build my own railway for other people to ride. Much more engaging than TV.

Re:I Want My iTV (-1, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107801)

On the Internet, I can not only drive, but plan out the whole route, if I want.

Please give tell me the make and model of your car as well as your plate number so I can stay the hell away from you if I see you on the road!

Attention Mods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27108041)

This guy has been posting inane or trolling comments for a couple of hours that immediately get modded up, pushing him to +3 (links below). I am fairly certain that this is sock-puppetry and would like to kindly request that some of you take corrective action.

Thank you.

Other examples:
http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1152795&cid=27106721 [slashdot.org]
http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1152795&cid=27106911 [slashdot.org]

Re:I Want My iTV (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107933)

Huh? How is the Internet not a digital TV service? Follow my logic here:

Today, I can build or purchase a PVR/Media Center box (what they used to call a 'settop box') and stream video-on-demand purchased from Netflix or a competing service. I can also purchase digital copies of movies and videos using iTunes and/or Apple TV. I can download pirated movies and play them on my media center. I can rip movies I already own, record them from cable, etc.

But, it's also the other way around: I can watch "TV" and movies on my PC.

IOW, the TV has become just another Internet-connected device, unless I have cable or satellite.

But cable and satellite still haven't gone away. How many people on here still watch TV? There's a number of MythBusters fans, for example. I'll wager most of you do. Just remember that if you don't, that's still an anecdote, and the plural of anecdote is not data.

Oh, and one more thing: I get my TV and Internet from the same provider. I'll wager that's true for most of the rest of you, too.

Yes, yes, all true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107749)

But it does not mitigate the fact that Paul Graham is a tedious windbag.

Somebody had to say it.

VOD (5, Insightful)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107757)

The article fails to mention video on demand (other than in the notes). 30 years from now, people will think how stupid it was that you had to wait for your favorite TV show to come on at a specific time, rather than watching it whenever you wanted.

Re:VOD (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107873)

30 years from now, people will think how stupid it was that you had to wait for your favorite TV show to come on at a specific time.

I think it is stupid now, and I grew up watching TV.

Re:VOD (5, Insightful)

fyoder (857358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107883)

30 years from now, people will think how stupid it was that you had to wait for your favorite TV show to come on at a specific time, rather than watching it whenever you wanted.

Also very strange, people considered it normal for their show to be interrupted periodically by attempts to sell you crap. After watching shows downloaded, going back to regular television is strange and depressing. Ads can spoil the best of programs. Yet I grew up with television and ads and it all seemed perfectly normal for years and years. Interesting how little time it takes viewing stuff without ads for it to become completely unacceptable.

Re:VOD (1)

Dark X Dragon (1242620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107955)

Also very strange, people considered it normal for their show to be interrupted periodically by attempts to sell you crap. After watching shows downloaded, going back to regular television is strange and depressing. Ads can spoil the best of programs. Yet I grew up with television and ads and it all seemed perfectly normal for years and years. Interesting how little time it takes viewing stuff without ads for it to become completely unacceptable.

I agree. I think I didn't watch any TV for about 3 months and very seldom before that; now I can't stand ads.

Re:VOD (3, Insightful)

pyrbrand (939860) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108147)

The question is what the funding model will become. Because of the ability to skip ads, either the prevalence of for pay service will increase, or the ads will be incorporated into the content via product placement as we already see. Alternately services like Hulu will rise where their convenience outweighs individual's motivation to find alternate streams sans-ads.

Re:VOD (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108151)

Interesting how little time it takes viewing stuff without ads for it to become completely unacceptable.

Even more so now that most commercials are scams trying to rip people off.

I remember when commercials were entertaining and were trying to sell a real product.

Re:VOD (4, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108153)

TV is not there to entertain you. It is there to sell advertisement. At least the majority of TV is. You are not the customer, you are the product.

Re:VOD (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108241)

30 years from now, people will think how stupid it was that you had to wait for your favorite TV show to come on at a specific time, rather than watching it whenever you wanted.

Also very strange, people considered it normal for their show to be interrupted periodically by attempts to sell you crap.

It funny. We got our first TV in the early 1970s. Within a week of watching it my dad had improvised a remote control to mute the ads. I think we started the decline of TV advertising revenue but standard wireless remote controls certainly played their part.

Re:VOD (1)

ickpoo (454860) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107931)

My daughter is so used to on demand / dvds that she will ask to pause normal cable channels.

Re:VOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27108081)

That concept will survive, simply because shows are released on a schedule. You don't have to watch them when they become available, but the episodes will still have an "on the air time" and fans will watch them as soon as possible, just like quite a few people like to watch movies on opening night.

OnDemand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107759)

Cable TV is becoming more computer-like. They give you a "cable box" (which is really a locked-down PC) and you can select from a small offering of shows and movies which will start streaming when you want to start watching them.

Piracy? (5, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107763)

Yes, I download. But I pay £140 a year in TV licence fees that goes to the BBC, and about £125 in cable TV fees. The material I download is either produced by the BBC, or material that's showing on the stations that I'm paying for anyway.

Now yes, from a strict legal point of view, I've no doubt that still counts of piracy. But I'm not doing it because it's cheaper - I'm still paying £265 a year to the TV industry, and if I wanted to be unethical, I could stop paying, and just download. I do it because even though I'm happy to pay for it, it's much more convenient to watch TV when I want, and not when the TV company decides to put it on.

Not that I'm disagreeing with the article really - the fact that the TV companies were so inept to adapt to new technology shows why they are losing. They should just be glad that some of us are still willing to pay for them anyway.

Not piracy (5, Insightful)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107963)

Now yes, from a strict legal point of view, I've no doubt that still counts of piracy.

IANAL, but I believe that unless it happens on the high seas and involves forcefully robbing or commandeering a vessel, from a strict legal point of view it is not piracy.

Re:Piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107987)

Same here. I'd even watch a copy with advertisements in it as long as it had no DRM embedded in it. Advertisements rarely affect any of my behaviour (occasionally reminding me of needing an item, or that a movie is released soon or such), and DRM-less would mean they're muteable or skippable much in the same way a normal TV/PVR setup was.

I rarely download things I don't have normal access to - the only major exception being BBC programs like Doctor Who or some US programs from the Sci-Fi channel that don't air in Canada (or air months or years later).

I even watch normal TV with family or friends when there's something good on, and the time is convenient.

Re:Piracy? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27108229)

But I pay £140 a year

Ok in all honesty where in your mind does £140 even begin to cover the literally thousands of hours of production? Do you think that covers even a SINGLE employee for a SINGLE episode? THIS people is the problem with the whole "I'm a noble pirate" bs that flies around on Slashdot. The mechanisms are in no way economically sustainable.

It was obvious 10 years ago (4, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107769)

Even 10 years ago, it was pretty evident that it was only a matter of time before TV became obsolete. Once you could inexpensively publish online, and once a PC could do full motion video, it was only a matter of time.

TV will hang on for a while yet, as will newspapers, and as will the odd brick and mortar game or music store, but the end is nigh for all of these things.

You Got Your Blinders On (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108169)

TV will hang on for a while yet, as will newspapers, and as will the odd brick and mortar game or music store, but the end is nigh for all of these things.

The problem here is that we are the technical elete, and many of us have blinders on that prevent us from seeing the significant number of people who do not have these types of computer based solutions, nor want them. As long as they exist and keep sending money to Jesus and buying things as seen on TV, TV the way we know it now will continue to exist. Too much money in it.

Re:It was obvious 10 years ago (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108173)

actually I think brick and mortar stores will evolve a bit. some games, dvd's and tv shows will still be sold in stores(and online mail order). Simply so one will have archive storage that hard drives don't easily duplicate.

Different markets (4, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107771)

While there is obviously plenty of overlap, there will always be those of us who prefer the control we get with computers, and others who want an idiot-proof story telling box. It's two separate but overlapping markets.

Re:Different markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107871)

While there is obviously plenty of overlap, there will always be those of us who prefer the control we get with computers, and others who want an idiot-proof story telling box.

Mac users?

Re:Different markets (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107927)

Unfortunately, television isn't that idiot-proof story telling box. Lots of idiots break their TVs, and don't even get me started on the whole Wii crowd. I have a Wii, and folks: It's called a 'wrist strap' for a reason, and it's not made of steel cabling.

One word - ads (4, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107789)

I stopped watching TV about 6 years ago. My biggest reason?

Even the paid channels that were supposedly "ad free" started having ads. I wouldn't mind paying a premium for a channel that had absolutely no ads whatsoever, and had uninterrupted programming. I can never relate to the whole, "ooh-shiny" mode of programming that's prevalent today. If anything, I wouldn't be surprised if this were causing an increase in ADDs.

With a computer, I can pretty much download and watch what I want at my convenience, without ads.

Today, I do own a TV (which I bought a a few months ago at the behest of the girlfriend) - but no cable. We use it to watch DVDs and play videogames, and that's about it.

So, yes. Give me programs that are longer and uninterrupted (and good quality) and I will watch them. I am willing to spend 4 hours watching an uninterrupted show with a good story arc, rather than something that is half hour long, with interruptions ever 4 minutes in this age of instant gratification. And having to watch it again the next week at the exact time, which would be programming my life around the show and not the other way around.

Re:One word - ads (5, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107885)

I like ads. Let me repeat that... I like ads. If it comes down to a choice between having to shell out real money for entertainment (or more money, in case of certain entertainment types) and viewing ads, I'll take viewing a few ads every time. Somebody has to pay the bills, and I'd rather have that somebody be a company hawking their product.

Re:One word - ads (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108075)

Ads might be a neccessary evil, but once you've "unplugged" from mainstream advertising, if you go to someone's house and watch something live, like say the Superbowl, ads (even amazing ads like superbowl ads) seem obnoxiously obtrusive. You might not mind ads simply because you've always been exposed to them, the same way a 4th grader doesn't think he needs glasses simply because he's always gotten along without them just fine. Once you get used to glasses you wonder how the rest of the world got along for thousands of years without them.

Re:One word - ads (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108155)

If it comes down to a choice between having to shell out real money for entertainment (or more money, in case of certain entertainment types) and viewing ads, I'll take viewing a few ads every time.

Well, the main problem is, you still get the ads even when you are shelling out real money -- as in, satellite, cable, etc. And I'm not talking about commercial breaks -- those I can stand, within reason, although I do appreciate being able to fast-forward through them sometimes.

No, it's two things that bug me: They're the same ads every time, so even one worth watching is boring by the time the show's over and I've seen it five or ten times. And they're now to the point where ads actually slide onto the bottom quarter or third of the screen, with audio, basically trashing the show -- and of course, with no reduction in the number of ads shown during commercial breaks.

It's not much better online -- Hulu not only has an ad every 15 minutes, but an ad every seek. No, really -- you can't easily fastforward through the show to find where you left off, because every time you seek, they'll cut to a 15 second ad.

I don't mind ads -- sometimes they're even informative, and sometimes I do end up buying a product that way. However, when I see an ad actually preventing me from enjoying the real content I wanted to consume, I make a mental note not to buy that product.

I mean, hell, I like the idea of Hulu. I would love to watch old shows like Firefly online, on demand, streamed, yet in a way that compensates the original creators. But they've managed to perfectly replicate the amount of ads that ruined TV for me, so fuck 'em, I'll get it off The Pirate Bay.

Re:One word - ads (2, Insightful)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107965)

Hell, I can deal with the commercials; they've been there as long as I can remember.

But these days, while you're watching the show there's stuff swooping across the bottom or top third of the screen- sometimes both! Or my personal favorite- they shove the show to one side of the screen to make room for the ads. If they don't respect their own programming, why should I watch it?

Thanks but no thanks.

Re:One word - ads (2, Insightful)

pyrbrand (939860) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108223)

This type of advertising is a direct result of TiVo and folks downloading stuff to skip the advertising. If the trend continues, marketers will continue to find ways to make ads unskippable (for instance, by incorporating them into the plot).

Re:One word - ads (1)

JoshHeitzman (1122379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108265)

If that happens I'll get rid of the Tivo and just wait for it to come out on DVD.

Re:One word - ads (2, Interesting)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108261)

Or my personal favorite- they shove the show to one side of the screen to make room for the ads. If they don't respect their own programming, why should I watch it?

I agree with you there. When I started getting interested in reading credits at the end of a program, that was exactly when cable companies started squishing the picture for advertisements. The credits aren't even readable on an SD set. Now I can't easily see if I was right on guessing the voice actor in this cartoon or try to remember the name of the cute blond on that beach without running to a computer.

One name says it all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107795)

Cesar Millan

Exagerrated (5, Insightful)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107797)

This is like saying that verbal storytelling lost to books, or that books lost to radio, or radio lost to movies.

The internet, by virtue of interactivity, is far better for certain kinds of entertainment, sure, it has a competitive advantage. But sometimes you just want to sit down and receive and not interact, and that functionality will always be there, even if it's now the computer that will produce it in the future.

And there will always be demand for that sort of one way entertainment.

mythtv killed TV (0, Offtopic)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107807)

comercials? what are those? oooh right those things that my mythTV box automatically skips over

TV what's that? a large low resolution for it's size monitor(1280x720 for mine)
Shaping my schedule to the TV shows? nooop... 1TB of storage + record when they show + watch when i want

Re:mythtv killed TV (1, Informative)

NineNine (235196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107899)

I sincerely doubt that a few hundred (thousand?) geeks using Myth TV has anything to do with the downfall of TV. If you want to argue that DVR's had an impact, maybe, but not MythTV. It's not that widely used.

Besides, MythTV users still buy cable/satellite. A bigger impact is the people (like me and my friends) that don't buy or consume any TV at all, and hasn't for years.

Re:mythtv killed TV (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107947)

A bigger impact is the people (like me and my friends) that don't buy or consume any TV at all, and hasn't for years.

Its hard to analyse because we are all changing, getting older and losing our spare time. TV may well be undergoing a race to the bottom as their best customers go to other media, they lose advertisers, pay less for content and lose more customers.

Some of it (kids TV) seems exactly the same now, but my son gets that on youtube as well. The repetition may be getting to us. Most of the content is rehashed year after year. Maybe TV has been done.

Laptops and wifi killed TV (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107903)

My wife wanted a TV antenna point in the bedroom. Once she found youtube she stopped asking.

Back when I was very young some people I knew had a TV room (a home theatre, how about that!). The TV room had specials rules about not talking and keeping the lights out. With a laptop you can watch your stuff in the bathroom or the garage.

Re:mythtv killed TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27108219)

lol I don't know anyone who uses MythTV

Facebook?! (4, Insightful)

lucas_picador (862520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107813)

Social applications made everybody from grandmas to 14-year-old girls want computers â" in a three-word-nutshell, Facebook killed TV.

I'll take any odds that the saturation of the PC market graphed against the rise of Facebook (in, what, 2004?) shows absolutely no support for this absurd statement. I strongly suspect that PC sales more or less level off before Facebook even gains any real traction; to support this statement (that Facebook "made everybody... want computers"), you'd need to show exactly the opposite. Seriously, this is just a silly claim.

Re:Facebook?! (2, Insightful)

lucas_picador (862520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107839)

That being said, it may well be the case that "social applications" -- email, instant messaging, and so on -- expanded the PC market significantly. I suppose the only absurdity, then, is to equate Facebook with "social applications" (which had their biggest effect about ten years before Facebook showed up).

Re:Facebook?! (5, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107855)

Facebook is a symptom, not a cause.

Re:Facebook?! (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107889)

This is a good point. The concept of home computers was established way back in the 80s, and whilst their uses were more limited, I don't think they were written off as just being for geeks or gamers. Certainly the Internet helped the dominance of PCs in the home, but this occurred in the mid to late 90s, and as you say, way before Facebook came around.

I'd even argue it was the other way round. Facebook's popularity is now possible because just about everyone has Internet access; it wasn't that Facebook made computers or the Internet more popular.

Re:Facebook?! (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107919)

Applications like facebook may be the bridge between easy to use TV and hard to use online video.

Poor reasons (5, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107845)

Wow, reasons 3 & 4 really miss the mark.

3. Piracy taught a new generation of users it's more convenient to watch shows on a computer screen.

How is it more convenient to watch video on a computer screen, than in a living room designed specifically around a television set with a large screen? This is why I own a DivX DVD player with a USB port, and why things like MythTV and Media PCs exist - so people can watch video in the optimum environment, which is not a computer or laptop sitting on a desk.

4. Social applications made everybody from grandmas to 14-year-old girls want computers â" in a three-word-nutshell, Facebook killed TV.

I don't know of a single person that bought a computer or got internet connectivity because of Facebook - or any single site for that matter. Claiming that the internet is popular because of Facebook is patently absurd. Not even Google can make such a claim.

Re:Poor reasons (1)

tshetter (854143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107925)

Its more concenient because you dont need a "DivX DVD player with a USB port" or "MythTV and Media PCs." Download, watch. That is why its so convenient for people to watch content on their computer. Add to that that people spend a ton of time in front of a computer anyway, and It is just as easy.

My 23" from 3ft away is about as good as my 47" from 10ft away. Feel free to break out a Resolution/Distance chart and prove me wrong. =)

Torrents and Netflix helped to kill TV, not facebook Id have to add.

parent and grandparent poster both don't get it (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107989)

DVI-to-HDMI cable from computer to TV: $15

Not needing a separate room to use your computer: Priceless (and helps heat bills if you have zoned heat).

Not needing to purchase, maintain, pay electricity for, and replace a separate dedicated player: Priceless.

Double clicking a file you just (legally) downloaded and watching it in 1080p even though you don't have HDCP: Priceless.

[note: when I say Priceless, I'm joking. I know there's a measurable price to all of these things. Buy a Kill-A-Watt unit and measure for yourself.]

Slashdot at 52 inches diagonal: Priceless.

COmputer Desktop able to display 400 randomly generated photos from your collection changing every 2 minutes: Priceless.

Observe. This is how it's done: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clintjcl/3253972437/ [flickr.com] .

Additional cost past tv and computer most of us already own: $15.

Re:Poor reasons (1)

JoshHeitzman (1122379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108015)

It's not just about the screen looks from the vantage point of one person. My recliner is a lot more suited to TV watching them my office chair is and when we have more then two people watching the sectional couch allows 5 people to comfortably view the TV. My Roku just lets me watch whatever I've got in my Netflix online queue.

Re:Poor reasons (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107969)

I actually miss reason 5
99% of the tv shows are crap, not worth your time or money.

Internet doesnt help improve the quality of the shows but at least you can pick whatever you want when you want for a very reasonable price.

Re:Poor reasons (3, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108131)

3. Piracy taught a new generation of users it's more convenient to watch shows on a computer screen.
 
How is it more convenient to watch video on a computer screen, than in a living room designed specifically around a television set with a large screen?

It's more convenient to watch them on your computer screen when you only spend a small fraction (45 minutes a day typically) watching videos. Keep in mind the living room has been designed around the TV only for the last 50 years or so. If he only watches an hour a day of video his viewpoints are going to be drastically different from someone who spends the majority of their leisure time watching ad-funded TV on the sofa.
 
For example I only have a TV so that my friends don't think it's odd, or so they have something to watch while eating.

You need new friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27108257)

if your friends would rather watch TV when they visit you than talk to you. Especially if they are eating your food.

i just got off the toilet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107853)

i shit out an obama.

plop!

Welcome to the Brave New World (1, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107857)

Not TV, media companies lost. The future came and they weren't prepared.

I'd be willing to bet that in ten years we won't have phones or TV sets, just digital boxes with broadband internet. Small boxes to carry in your pocket, big boxes at home.

Game consoles, computers, phones, they will all merge. Perhaps we will have some boxes more specialized than others, but inside they will all be the same. A computer with a display and some form of input device, communicating over a wireless link to the internet.

Re:Welcome to the Brave New World (1)

JoshHeitzman (1122379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107961)

Game consoles and computers (i.e. desktops and laptops) seem unlikely to merge, except by hacking the game console so it can be used as a computer. Game console manufactures are willing take a loss on the hardware because of the control it gives them, and game publishers prefer to publish for consoles because they are closed devices that make pirating their software more difficult and because they are fixed hardware target (although this doesn't necessary mean development is easier; it would be hard to argue that developing PS3 game is easier then developing a PC game). Computers can already run games just fine, but they don't provide control to the manufactures or the publishers. The same thing is true with phones as well. They are locked down to give the operators control.

Computers + TV (4, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107881)

While I realize the internet will be a conduit for TV, sooner rather than later, nothing will get me to watch tv and/or movies in my computer chair when I have nice leather couch to sit on in front of my 46" LCD.

I also realize that it will probably become easier to integrate our computers with our entertainment centers, nothing, at least at this point, makes me want to sit in front of the TV on my leather couch to surf/write emails/program/etc.

I really don't care how nicely the 2 will end up playing together. In the end, it's two seperate things that I use. Sometimes I want to sit upright in an office chair and get some work done, some playing done, or just some random stuff done. Other times I want to throw a blanket on my lap with a drink and veg to a movie.

I just don't see them mixing perfectly. I can't see them replacing either one. We will just simply have the need for both.

Re:Computers + TV (0, Offtopic)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108001)

An LCD screen that size most likely will accept VGA or digital input from your computer without complaint. Just load up the video file and put the player into fullscreen mode.

Re:Computers + TV (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108025)

I often connect my eeepc to my LCD TV. But the PC is so cheap there is no reason why it can't be part of the TV.

"Piracy" (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107887)

"Piracy" really does deliver the best convenience money can't buy.

Here is a list of crap that I won't put up with:
Unskippable DVD menus.
Region locks.
Content that expires before I'm ready to let it go.
Waiting a week longer than American audiences (BBC iplayer)
Commercials.
Ghetto satellite dish on my house.
Somebody else's schedule.
Inability to pause.
Driving to rent/buy physical media.
The redundant TV screen itself.

Yep, TV lost.

Are those points accurate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107897)

1.) Hacker speeds? So did their speed at ripping shows and placing them on the internet make it better(?), leading to your point three. Yeah yeah, we have Hulu, Boxee and the likes now but it's still not quite there.

2.) Moores law is a joke for the U.S. network speeds. Look at Japan.

3.) Piracy (while i don't care if people rip shows and place them on the net.) led to poorly named file names of the shows, leaving one to wonder if what your downloading is the same thing you'll be watching in the next 30 minutes. Is it the HighDef version the Standard Def version or some crappy copy? Who nows.

4.) Since when did Facebook have anything to do with TV? As far as I know it's just a place for people to communicate with their BFF every ten minutes. (Disclaimer, I don't use social networks.)

IMO, the networks are doing a better job at getting the content online for the shows they choose to put online. I can easily watch a show in HighDef when I want. Sure, some of the networks still don't get it when it comes to linux and you still get a few commercials. But hell, it's far less commercials versus the local broadcast and most ad blockers can get rid of the ones they do insert anyway.

Same reason blogs lost? (3, Insightful)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107901)

Perhaps TV has lost for the same reason blogs have lost. Nobody wants to read/watch inane crap that somebody just pulled out of his ass in order to attract advertising attention.

What, people actually read this tripe? Nevermind; I recant. TV has a bright future.

The day "computers" are good for an evening of video entertainment with a significant other, the word will be spelled "television".

TV is losing because it no longer works for us... (1)

FFCecil (623749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107929)

I don't know exactly when it happened, but over the last few years "TV" stopped working for us and we started working for "TV". Do you notice how your favourite programs (if you still watch TV) randomly move around? They are constantly jumping timeslots, days, and taking random holidays. What's that about? Now I have to actively hunt down my favourite shows each time I want to watch them... and having to continually rearrange my evenings certainly doesn't endear the format in my eyes.

This lack of respect for the viewer seems minor when compared to the larger issue of the big companies/stations randomly interfering with and even canceling shows for no _good_ reason. Firefly comes to mind. So does Family Guy. And Global Frequency - a FULLY complete pilot for a new Sci-Fi show that never even aired! (You can find copies of it online, and I found it well worth the download.)

Basically I see it coming down to this: there's an odd mentality in TV-Land (whatever that even is) that the viewers' opinions -- the reason TV exists in the first place -- are no longer important compared to what the big stations and companies want. Anyway, that's why I think TV is in the process of losing. It's no longer there for us -- we're here for it. And WTF is that?

yeah right. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107939)

worst post ever. like i enjoy watching shows on my 17" lcd over my 70" hdtv. they serve a totally difference post and there's a ton of gadgets to link the 2 anyway.

And DTV (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107951)

I'll bet that when the final history of TV is written, people will point to the time of the switchover from analog to digital TV as a watershed moment. In one fell swoop it'll kick off a whole bunch of mostly-older folks who don't have the interest/capacity in getting the digital converter setup. (A year or two ago I assumed that would be me, until my TV died early and my girlfriend & I discovered we preferred watching shows on the computer anyway as a stopgap.)

Not that it's causative. There are in fact all these other forces pressing on TV, encouraging a switchover to internet viewing. But it will be seen as significant that all this stuff just happened to occur around the same time as the DTV switchover. Someday some analyst will be kicking DTV as the idea that caused the death of TV.

Re:And DTV (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108061)

Remember that new type of film we were all going to put in our cameras? It had digital data on it for some reason. I think it was called APS or something. It didn't kill film. CCDs and flash RAM killed film.

And yeah TV is toast. Nice bit of bandwidth you have there...

It's simpler than that (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107971)

It's because computers do digital better than TV does analog.

In this case better means cheaper, more flexible and easier to distribute. Once content became digital, as opposed to only existing on videotape, and computers got connected - which is what made digital better than broadcast, the rest was inevitable.

PC monitor and TV set merging (1)

miniskunk (1116621) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107993)

I believe the the point when the convergence began is when TV monitors and PC monitors were increasingly designed to be compatible with both types of video signals. Last year I merged my entertainment center with my PC using a 52" HDTV monitor/receiver. I have found that I now spend even more time online for my video entertainment and little to none watching non interactive television. As predicted not too long ago, the PC and TV have become one.

It's The Blinking Ads (1, Informative)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107999)

Ronald Reagan drove the nail in the coffin lid of television. He passed legislation that allowed far more ads to be run every hour of the day. That killed conventional TV. Cable was also shot in the rump as without over the air competition the cable companies purchased far too little entertainment.
            Worse yet regulations were relaxed or at least no enforced which allowed shockingly loud ads which got to the point that some channels were impossible to watch.

The real problem... (4, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108003)

"Television? The word is half Greek and half Latin. No good will come of this device." - Charles Prestwich Scott, 1936.

New Title (1)

jasongates (800911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108005)

Should this not be titled: Why TV is "Losing"?

Horse pucky (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108011)

Isuggest the author of the story leave the house at least once per month.
There is a world out there.

TV hasn't lost yet! (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108053)

TV is certainly on the ropes but I reckon its way too soon to call it.

All TV shows are broadcast first. The bulk of the money is made through traditional broadcast advertising. Most people who aren't Slashdot users will watch shows when broadcast.

And internet TV shows need to make money. At the moment you can get a few on a reasonable budget because of the novelty. You can either sell the DVDs or have a single sponsor who knows that it's worth being linked directly to something with enough mindshare.

Engagement (1)

skribe (26534) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108065)

The reason that TV lost is because people choose to be actively involved in how they spend their entertainment and downtime, rather than being spoon-fed what someone else wants you to watch. Piracy is popular because while people like the shows they want to watch them how and when they want them (sans interruptions like ads). Gaming is popular because you're the hero rather than watching some overpaid action doll doing all the fun stuff. TV is passive. The internet is active. Come get some!

Not right in soooo many ways (2, Insightful)

Anna Merikin (529843) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108067)

Computers have not won...yet. And their eventual triumph is doubtful. "Convergence" hasn't really happened yet, although it is unfolding; its future configuration will be shaped by how long and how widespread the economic downturn becomes. Much of the computer hardware we are used to is finding its way into TVs; HDTV needs processing power and graphics rendering of high orders. OTOH, computer CPU power is not increasing at is old-time rate.

But more important is that the article ignores the insights of Marshall McLuhan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_medium_is_the_message [wikipedia.org] . TV was a 'cool' medium, meaning we had to put its picture together in our heads. To prove that point, look at any paper Newsweek or Time cover picture of an event on a TV screen. Why does their picture look so much poorer than our TV at home? The answer is from McLuhan through psychology: the electrons (of a CRT) go through the glass and into our bodies.

His theories predicted the popularity of the Simpsons, North Beach, adult swim and countless other animated shows and series. It predicted tribalism, and TV, being real-time, is tribal by its very scheduled nature: you can watch TV with your friends at precisely the same time even if you are not together.

Computers are a very different medium. They have the potential to be very, very hot: good audio, great video; but they are not. A truly hot medium is immediate. It does not have to boot for a minute or two. It does not wait fifteen seconds for a show to load. Hot is IN YOUR FACE rightnowmutherflicker! Computers have not yet achieved that level of hotness. But random-access helps. That we can watch whenever we like a youtube video we missed and everyone else saw is much hotter than having missed a network TV show that can't be seen again until the series goes into reruns.

No, I doubt TV has lost. It has gone HD and over cable. The cable providers will be using computer-like interfaces and our home computers will gain HDTV tuners. The media they create/disseminate will be the true convergence.

Re:Not right in soooo many ways (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108259)

It predicted tribalism

I'm pretty sure that tribalism existed for a long time before either McLuhan or TV did.

Re:Not right in soooo many ways (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108267)

It does not have to boot for a minute or two.

Mine boots in 20 seconds, and I tend to leave it on all day.

It does not wait fifteen seconds for a show to load.

On fiber, I don't -- shows load instantly.

More importantly, I choose what's next. Or, if I want better quality, I can start up a torrent -- it'll be ready in an hour. Or I download for a few days, maybe a week, and I have a month's worth of a show, on my hard drive, ready to watch whenever I want.

our home computers will gain HDTV tuners.

But why bother?

Let me put it another way: I can get a fiber plan that includes both Internet and TV. Separate cables within the house, I believe, but both connect to the same fiber line in the basement. I could always run the HDMI cable from the TV set-top box to my monitor.

But why would I bother? I've already got several hundred hours of movies and TV which I can load with a single command, and I can download more, likely at a higher quality (and without all the ads) over my Internet connection, pretty much whenever I want.

Odd... I always thought the reason TV lost was... (3, Informative)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108069)

... Reality TV.

Nope. I can tell you why TV lost in 7 words. (1)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108079)

"Software evolves faster and cheaper than hardware."

TV vs monitor (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108087)

On a sort of related note, I'm confused as to why TVs haven't completely merged with computer monitors. They're similar enough now that they should be one and the same - they do pretty much the same thing - that's for sure.

Re:TV vs monitor (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108157)

On a sort of related note, I'm confused as to why TVs haven't completely merged with computer monitors. They're similar enough now that they should be one and the same - they do pretty much the same thing - that's for sure.

The TV use case is sitting down with the family to watch a much loved DVD (my wife wants to sit at the kitchen table and play tetris on her laptop while browsing for cheap flights to malaysia).

The computer use case is when my wife watches chinese language movies in bed and wants me to watch with her but the colors look funny at a wide angle and I have to lean over which kills my back. And I am more likely to be on /. or reading a PDF ebook in bed anyway.

I must have missed the memo... (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108099)

...about TV dying a sad death. Because TV is alive and well at my house. Mythtv has been a godsend with regards to being able to focus on content rather than (as pointed out by another observant poster) being continually interrupted by sales pitches.

Not that there is much content on TV worth watching. That's OK; my Netflix account keeps me loaded up with just about any movie I choose to watch (I prefer foreign movies). Why would I even think about watching a movie on a screen that's 17" from corner to corner?

Maybe I'm just an outlier. But for some reasons, I couldn't help but think of Chicken Little when I RTFA.

what i have (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108105)

i recently bought a 20 inch LCD HDTV that has a VGA & HDMI ports in the back, it basically turned the PC in to just another channel on television. i really dont want much TV and spend more of my free time on the PC, i do watch a few shows with it and it makes going to the computer to the television show more convenient for me...

Agreed (1)

Banichi (1255242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108111)

I would ditch my Satellite TV service before I would ditch my 'net connection.

With things like Hulu popping up (and how little I watch the "idiot box"), I may cancel my TV service within the next month or two.

If I can find a clearer guide to making a DIY HTPC in the next week or so, it may happen even sooner.

Sigh (3, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108113)

Oh my! How clever and powerful, three words that explain the death of TV! BRILLIANT! /sarcasm Well I have three words in return: "You are wrong."

I'll agree with this when I can only get my favorite shows through Facebook, and when if I want to sit down and casually surf the channels I have to do more than press a single button.

Nothing compares to being able to flop onto the couch, press the "On" button on a television remote, and immediately have my regularly scheduled prime time show on the screen.

Show me any computer setup that can have my show on the screen in the time it takes for me to get home tired from work, toss my shoes off, plop on the couch and just press "on" one time to be where I want to be.

Some of you resourceful nerds out there probably have such a setup, but I will offer two things preemptively to respond to that:

1) You are not nearly the norm, most people don't want the hassle of setting something like that up, and,
2) Even if they did, what does this have to do with Facebook again?

Please excuse my french, but seriously, the statement "Facebook killed TV" is just fucking stupid.

Pfft... (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108137)

Facebook? Come on now..

TV Loss = Huge Loss for Rural Communities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27108209)

The second point on Moore's Law and bandwidth does not seem to apply to rural communities. Options are still very limited, the available bandwidth is slow, and none of the heralded 3G networks will ever cover our communities.

I don't ever see this situation changing since the profits available in rural areas are slim compared to those in urban centers.

It is more than just TV (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108237)

The convergence on computers is more than just broadcast TV, it's telephony with full video, music, sharing, social nets, etc.

An interesting statistic emerged recently with the switchover to HDTV (Or ATSC). It turns out that in my region, only about one quarter of folks get the stations over the air.

This gives me an idea though, something that would compete with the cable companies. Hmmm. I should develop the business plan and see if I can get a few investors.

Not a winner, the board goes back. (1)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108247)

Because Paul Graham assumed a result and did <AIRQUOTES>research</AIRQUOTES> that backs up his assumption. TV is still winning by a factor of thousands. Even when I watch TV on anything other than a TV, it's been pulled off my Tivo. Even for the most tech savvy people, cable/sat/OTA is still the most convenient TV delivery method.

5 - The most important reason (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27108269)

Content. Or rather lack of. TV has become mostly a waste of time and more commercial then valuable content.

TV committed suicide.

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