Broadcast TV will never die, ever

While there’s certainly no doubt that the future of TV is about to change more drastically then it ever has in the past 80 or so years, one thing that won’t change is the need to broadcast programming to millions of viewers at the same time. Lets stop there for a second though and clarify exactly what the word broadcast really means in the context of this post; to send media to many people at the exact same time. Think; major sporting events, breaking world impacting news or even the latest episode of the hottest reality TV show. Sure some would rather watch everything on their schedule, but most seem to prefer to watch certain events “as they happen.” So as long as millions prefer to watch some programming at the same time, there will be a need for broadcast TV, because even if the technology to send millions of individual streams existed, it wouldn’t make economical sense.

So when Microsoft shares its vision of the future of TV on its official blog and completely neglects to mention the most popular way to enjoy content today, it just really makes me wonder what they are smoking. Sure “All the entertainment you want, with the people you care about, made easy” sounds great, but without the Superbowl and other live events, it won’t ever be “all the entertainment” anyone wants.

I do believe that the Xbox Dashboard is closer to the future of TV than anything Comcast, Verizon or DirecTV is showing, but have to question any solution that doesn’t include broadcast TV. And I’m not saying that Media Center is the solution either, because as much as I love it, I know it isn’t for everyone. And of course it doesn’t deliver all the content I want either, but at least it includes the most important content.

2 Responses to “Broadcast TV will never die, ever”

  1. DWAnderson says:

    Mark Cuban made the same point about broadcast TV a while ago. It remains just as true today.

  2. dmccall says:

    You are right, Ben. I really think Microsoft was on the cusp of something big 2 years ago, and chickened out. A Home Server with CableCARD feeding tiny settop boxes all over the house could have delivered an integrated home experience. Zune Pass playable from an extender or PlayTo a stereo from a phone, a phone that reads your GPS and changes the outdoor lighting before your get home, refreshes licensed music/podcasts/RecordedTV/Movie Downloads on your “SYNC”‘s car system and phone…. it all could have been theirs.

    You are right. As long as Microsoft or anyone else makes a play for the living room that doesn’t include streaming TV will ALWAYS be fighting for market share in a fringe pond and never be the big dog. Had they integrated InternetTV on Media Center into a reliable closed box, they could have had it all. Instead they probably forfeited a solution to someone else and delayed the whole thing at least a decade.