Steven's Notebook

Look Ma - No Hands!

TV – My Schedule’s Better than “Live”

The TWIM guys, when they say that “[Internet-delivered] video rises above novelty” repeatedly say that TV doesn’t have to be live “except for sports and news.” I’d put forth that more and more of us every day aren’t even watching sports and news “live.”

Sure, I may start watching a game – like today’s Seahawks/Bears game – when it’s broadcast begins (and there’s no guarantee that it’s really “live” anyway, there’s at least a few second delay due to network latency and FCC regulations). Once we’re through the first few commercial sets, though, it’s a different tory. The commercials begin, I hit ‘pause’ on the DVR and go get a drink. I return, skip past the commercials and continue watching the game, but I may be behind the broadcast by at least a few minutes. I don’t care – I get the game and all it’s excitement as though it’s live, because it is live for me. My “live” just doesn’t correspond with the rest of the nation’s.

As for news, heck there’s nothing really live there anyway. (Nothing worth watching either, but that’s another story.) “Action News at 5” or 6, 10 or 11 certainly isn’t; the closest you can get is CNN Headline news or the copies by MSNBC and FOX, and even those are mostly repeats of the same stories, rehashed every half hour.

What they’re really talking about anyway is the flexibility and freedom that are available to us now.

One of the comments left at the TWIM site says “how many people do you know that get excited on Monday because the next new episode of HEROS [sic] is that night?… If it’s not live, it loses a LOT of that excitement.”

I disagree – if my family wants to watch Heroes, we can be just as excited about watching it together as a regular family evening event. We just don’t have to have our lives scheduled by some unknown person at NBC. We can plan to watch it when we want. We might even “schedule” it for the same night it’s broadcast, but that’s our choice. We can stay at a school event or dinner with friends without having to check our watches and rush to get home by 9pm.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about TiVo or my cable company’s poor excuse for a DVR, the iTunes Store or Xbox Live Video Marketplace or some other solution. What matters is the option to select the shows I want to watch, have them delivered and waiting for me when I’m ready.

It’s all about the freedom and flexibility to watch what I want, when I want, and optimally where I want. Design an easy-to-understand, easy-to-use system to deliver that and you’ll have earned my business.

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