It’s official: digital TV has taken over the world. Competing technologies are in their last throes as I write, sinking beneath the onslaught of a form of television consumption that puts the user at the heart of programming. Advertisers are running scared (well OK, they’re not – they’re just having to scramble to think of new ways to get their message across to viewers who have realized they don’t need to sit through ads anymore) and viewers are running to the stores to get their brand new cable and digital TV.
So what’s so special about digital television? Why has it ousted all competition with such vigor?
The answer, basically, is “The Internet”. The web, which has been the driving force behind the way we think about consuming entertainment, has long been a threat to normal TV consumption because it allows users to watch what they want, when they want, no matter where they are. They don’t even have to be anywhere near a television.
Digital television has done two things – it’s started to use the same connectivity model as the Internet, taking more powerful, faster signals that can carry huge amounts of data with pinpoint accuracy; and it has paid attention to the cross-platform usage capabilities that the net supplies. When you subscribe to any of such digital television providers, for example, you can do much more than just watch TV – you can record digitally and watch at your leisure; you can set up parental controls so your kids only watch what you want them to; and you can create favorites for easy return. Sound familiar? It should, to anyone who has ever used a popular web browser.
Currently, the most successful digital television providers are doing more than simply piping strong, clear signals into your television. They’ve realized that the Internet and cable TV services are a match made in cyber heaven, and have started to combine the two services (often also offering a digital telephone switchboard, or VoIP, into the bargain). The result is internet that you can receive on your TV; net use that supports multiple wireless devices all running at the same time; and a digital TV system receiving hundreds of HDTV stations round the clock.
So, again, we’re looking at the internet to explain the now total dominance of digital TV as the way that we consume programming. Companies like Time Warner cable, which make the TV and net experience part of a seamless package, are blurring the boundaries between one and the other. That’s the way of the future for sure. With internet TV as popular as regular programming (how many of your friends use iPlayer? Most, I bet) and delineations between rights areas falling apart, the home user expects huge amounts of media, consumable on multiple devices whenever he or she feels like watching.
Digital television is not yet a completely on demand model – advertising considerations ensure that programming schedules still exist – but the amount of stuff you can now watch whenever and however you like is growing. It’s the versatility, power and picture quality of the medium that has allowed it to stand head and shoulders above analog – but it will be its compatibility with an increasingly net-like usage that will assure its survival.
About the Author:
Shannen Doherty is a technical content writer associated with the broadbandexpert group. She likes to writes on various topic related with cutting edge technology like: internet, mobile broadband, Internet providers, time warner cable etc. She is keen to help people to know more about updated technology.