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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TV Everywhere!

By Edgar Villapando - SVP Marketing/Active Video Networks

Perhaps it’s just my post-holiday pre-CES mood, but something has me thinking that somewhere along the line we’ve lost the true message of TV Everywhere.
It’s not as strange as it seems — or maybe it is, who am I to judge? — but the combination of a holiday filled with home electronics and big screen TVs and an upcoming trade show that is founded on the concept of highlighting what’s coming next in the wide world of consumer electronics lead me down the path that TV is the center of the universe.
At least when it comes to home electronics.
Yeah, there are computers, computer games, computer games on TV, PDAs and what used to be PDAs now called MP3 players, or, to breach the dreaded brand name space, iPods and iPhones. And there are DVRs and TiVos (again, breaching into the brand name space) and video-on-demand and pay-per-view. There are smartphones and hardly any dumb phones other than the ones that are still tethered to your walls. And there are home entertainment centers into which any and all of the aforementioned devices and applications can be plugged but which ultimately have one centerpiece: that’s right, the television.
So while the idea of taking television and putting it on any of those new devices is fun and something you definitely want to do when you leave the home entertainment cocoon, the reality is that when you’re in that cocoon you want TV that provides you with the same functionality as those outside devices. Why only have the latest TV applications on devices that aren’t TVs? Why only have access to Web video on your cell phone or computer when the best screen in your house is your TV?
The reason this freight train of thought is driving through my mind these days is that a collision, of sorts, is on the horizon. The CE manufacturers and cable TV service providers, seemingly forever at odds, are moving closer to each other in a friendly manner. TVs are becoming acclimated to cable and cable is becoming less hostile to TV. TV has the screen and the capabilities to deliver a variety of what cable does best: programming. Cable has that programming and the delivery method to get it to the TV.
What once seemed like an inevitable derailment caused by the collision between two forces moving purposefully and speedily on the same tracks in different directions now looks to be an opportunity to couple two powerful trains and move in the same direction. Again, it’s the holidays so toy trains are on my mind.
The coupler that puts this all together is ActiveVideo. We bring the Internet content — and the myriad media types that exist there — from the Internet via the network cloud to any set-top box allowing subscribers to have TV Everywhere on the screen where it matters the most: the TV.
But it’s not just about bringing Web video to the TV. Just as important as a piece of media is the ability to infuse TV with the same constantly evolving innovation that happens on the Web. ActiveVideo not only brings you online media, but by supporting Web functionality it brings the infinite possibilities of connecting and integrating that media into your digital lifestyle.
As I say, TV Everywhere, while seemingly a concept that drags consumers off the television and into the realm of other Web-enabled devices, is actually the magnet that can draw them back to the place where they are most comfortable; the home entertainment center. Sure, take as much content as you can and spread it to as many devices as you like, but don’t forget the centerpiece. It is, after all is said and done, TV Everywhere; let’s keep the TV at the forefront of the experience.

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