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Why TV Lost 576

Posted by timothy
from the l-for-love dept.
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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Why TV Lost

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 07, 2009 @06:38PM (#27107691)
    Rumors about my death have been greatly exaggerated. tv
    • Digital broadcast (Score:5, Insightful)

      by goombah99 (560566) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:08PM (#27107921)

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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 prac

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mysidia (191772)

          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.

        • I heard you on the wireless back in Fifty Two
          Lying awake intent at tuning in on you.
          If I was young it didn't stop you coming through.

          They took the credit for your second symphony.
          Rewritten by machine and new technology,
          and now I understand the problems you can see.

        • Re:Digital broadcast (Score:5, Informative)

          by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot@NospAm.davidgerard.co.uk> on Saturday March 07, 2009 @08:20PM (#27108475) Homepage

          It works really well in Britain - digital is just superior in every way, and set-top boxes [wikipedia.org] are more or less free with cereal - but Britain is rather more densely populated than the US. Even then, the BBC has had to start doing Freesat [wikipedia.org] to fulfil its universal service obligations to areas that can't get a good terrestrial signal. In the US, I expect they're reluctant to compel TV stations to provide universal service at all.

        • Re:Digital broadcast (Score:5, Informative)

          by porcupine8 (816071) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @09:35PM (#27109001) Journal
          Most stations are doubling (or more) the power of their digital signal once they drop the analog signal - but of course, thanks to Congress, in many places that won't happen for a while. But once it does this should at least be less of a problem for most people. I can't get digital CBS right now, despite living right within the Chicago city limits. They admit right on their webpage that most people won't be able to get it without an outdoor antenna til June.
        • Re:Digital broadcast (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Firethorn (177587) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @10:41PM (#27109403) Homepage Journal

          I LIVE in a 'snowy broadcast' area. My new LCD TV has the digital channels perfectly clear, while the analog channels show lots of artifacts. I'd even rate one of the stations that did a flash-cut as 'unwatchable' before the transition, is now perfectly clear at 1080i.

          Are you sure that you're not comparing the lower power temporary digital channels against the old full power analog? Many stations are transmitting both, but the digital station at a tenth or less of the power.

          When they finally turn off the analog stations, most are going to put their digital broadcast on the original station at the old power.

        • by westlake (615356) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @02:13AM (#27110301)
          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.

          Anyone who grew up with analog TV knows better.

          You lost sound.

          You lost horizontal and vertical sync. You had snow and you had ghosts. Color introduced you to whole new levels of pain.

          The solution to bad reception was a good antenna.

          Dad brought out the forty foot ladder to mount a big Winegard on the roof. You watched him drive a ground stake in with a sledge until his face turned purple.

          Your neighbor who clung to his rabbit ears as "good enough" was full of it then - and he is full of it now.

          However, the programs still suck

          The Boston Symphony in live performance New Year's Eve does not suck. The Leafs and Sabres in overtime - also broadcast in 1080i - does not suck.

          This is the experience YouTube can't deliver.

      • Re:Digital broadcast (Score:5, Informative)

        by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:48PM (#27108235) Homepage Journal

        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.

      • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot@NospAm.davidgerard.co.uk> on Saturday March 07, 2009 @08:15PM (#27108443) Homepage

        It's like the Internet ... except shit!

        I work in media. The future of television is YouTube or similar. We know this. It'll take a few years before the Internet is a better television than television, i.e. when your connection is a better delivery mechanism than DVB-T over the air. OTOH, convenience beats quality every time.

        • Re:Digital broadcast (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @10:37PM (#27109373) Homepage

          I work in media and the future is in real HD content in RSS streams that can be subscribed to NOT the utter crap that is Youtube or anything like that.

          Automatic subscription to my content that my equipment can collect. and I can view at my leisure. Every person I show that model WANTS that model and not the sift through garbage to find what I want model that is Youtube or the other current systems.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cjb658 (1235986)

          At least real TV is, for the time being, DRM-free.

          Yes, CableCARD has a bunch of BS DRM, but you can get a component video capture card and hook up a cable box to it with an IR blaster and record anything you want, probably even PPV.

      • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @11:06PM (#27109525) Homepage Journal

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

        No way! The summary says that "Facebook killed TV", and I have to agree.

        Sitting there staring at my screen for hours waiting for my friends to update is a hundred times more preferable to watching Sister, Sister or 90210.

    • by murdocj (543661) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:41PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mdwh2 (535323)

        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?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by forkazoo (138186)

        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.

        Rule of thumb: The Internet never has enough bandwidth for everybody to do what the power users are currently

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        What, exactly, is stopping you from plugging a computer into your nice big TV surrounded by couches? Other than a complete and utter lack of imagination?

        For the price of a decent 5.1 sound system you can buy a nice computer to plug into that TV and do all your streaming in the "correct" room. Plus with another $50 you can add in a HDTV antenna and have a complete solution. Vista even comes with the software, Media Center, that takes care of most of it for you for free.

        That would be why computers won. I have

    • by dov_0 (1438253) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @09:19PM (#27108869)

      When the PC boots up in 3 seconds, has a monitor at least 24" or more across, is placed in the most comfortable room in the house (after the bedroom), has no associations with work, requires ZERO brain effort, switches channels at the touch of one button and can be operated with one hand via a small remote control while the other hand holds a beer or fishes in a packet of Salt'n'Vinegar crisps for the last crumbs...

      Then the PC will win. Don't see it happening though.

      • Re:I'm not dead yet (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Rennt (582550) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:21AM (#27110519)

        The "TV is dead" line is all about broadcast technology, not the display device itself. People are already using various boxes to watch Internet content on their living room TV's. All you need to kill TV completely is to sell a tuner-free display which plugs directly into your home network.

        Most (ALL?) new TVs are embedded computers. My reasonably affordable 32" LCD TV runs linux, has all the features you listed, and updates its firmware over TCP/IP

        We are already there in terms of technology. The only ongoing challenge is the content owners who use legal structures to resist change.

  • Neither "won" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 07, 2009 @06:45PM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zoney_ie (740061)

      I agree somewhat with that view, but I think it's jumping too far ahead (and introducing uncertainty as to how things will evolve) to say we'll end up with a hybrid.

      I think TVs (the device) will stay a TV (even with a tuner, albeit DTT). However, set-top boxes will become ubiquitous and rather than the current programmatic content, there will be the "appearance" of a pull system (you decide what you want to watch). The broadcast system will merely be used to stream new content to set-top boxes, where it wil

  • I Want My iTV (Score:5, Interesting)

    by presidenteloco (659168) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @06:47PM (#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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      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

  • VOD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Karganeth (1017580) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @06:48PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:02PM (#27107873) Homepage Journal

      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fyoder (857358) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:03PM (#27107883) Homepage Journal

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pyrbrand (939860)
        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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by houghi (78078) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:38PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)

        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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hhr (909621) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @09:18PM (#27108857)
        Yes. It is strange that people consider it normal for their show to be interrupted by attempts to sell crap. The internet shows us a better way-- attempts to sell us crap should happen on a banner down the side the show, or be integrated into the show, or as a pop-up over the show, or at the beginning of the show, or the end, or your show should be broken up into segments each with their own ads that force you to click 'next' before moving on, or via a voice over, or.... Thanks Internet!
  • Piracy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @06:49PM (#27107763) Journal

    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:14PM (#27107963) Homepage

      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.

  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Saturday March 07, 2009 @06:49PM (#27107769) Journal

    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.

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:40PM (#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.

      • by spasm (79260) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @08:09PM (#27108385) Homepage

        You could have said the same thing about the web in 1995 - I was 'technical elite'; my parents saw no point whatsoever in paying for modem dialup for that interweb thing. 10 years later, my parents see always-on broadband as a basic essential of life just as I do.

        Right now, I'm (allegedly) the 'technical elite' in that I watch what little TV programming I watch online without ads and can't remember the last time I bought a physical music CD; my parents don't see the point of internet-delivered TV and still feel the need to 'own' a physical CD when they buy music. In ten years..

  • Different markets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by clang_jangle (975789) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @06:49PM (#27107771) Journal
    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.
    • 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 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by metlin (258108) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @06:51PM (#27107789) Journal

    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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101&gmail,com> on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:03PM (#27107885) Homepage Journal

      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.

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        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

      • Re:One word - ads (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:38PM (#27108155) Journal

        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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dintlu (1171159)

        But you are shelling out real money to watch TV.

        18 minutes of your time for every hour of television you watch. When you consider that the average American watches 28 hours of TV weekly, you're looking at 8.4 hours of your time wasted every week. 436 hours a year. 11.3 workplace-years (2080h/yr) of you life, wasted watching advertisement.

        In terms of income, a median American earner will pay $363,000 in lost opportunity cost over 65 years of television viewing.

        One way or another you *are* paying for your

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cliffiecee (136220)

      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pizzach (1011925)

        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.

  • Exagerrated (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anenome (1250374) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @06:53PM (#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.

  • Facebook?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lucas_picador (862520) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @06:55PM (#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.

  • Poor reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @06:59PM (#27107845) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • 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 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hadlock (143607) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:36PM (#27108131) Homepage Journal

      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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by David Gerard (12369)
      People were buying computers in the late 1990s specifically to access eBay.
  • 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.

    • 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 arg
  • Computers + TV (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rotide (1015173) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:02PM (#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.

  • "Piracy" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:04PM (#27107887) Homepage

    "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.

  • by jdgeorge (18767) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:06PM (#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".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Keen Anthony (762006)

      The Internet calls television inane and tripe. :D

      Call me a luddite, I really want to keep computing divorced from television viewing. TV is passive spectator sport. I shouldn't be encouraged to click around. I rue the day when popup interstitials during the actual show aren't the most annoying thing in my TV viewing, but on-screen hyperlinks, encouraging me to press a button on my remote to immediately pause the show and launch a browser window so that I can instantly buy an item worn by my show's protagoni

  • 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

    • 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 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.

  • by b4upoo (166390)

    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.

  • by argent (18001) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['nga' in gap]> on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:21PM (#27108003) Homepage Journal

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

  • 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!

  • by Anna Merikin (529843) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:28PM (#27108067) Journal

    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.

  • by Doug52392 (1094585) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:28PM (#27108069)
    ... Reality TV.
  • "Software evolves faster and cheaper than hardware."

  • 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.

  • ...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 c

  • 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...
  • Sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarr&hotmail,com> on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:34PM (#27108113) Homepage

    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.

  • by Brett Buck (811747) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:53PM (#27108271)

    I actually RTFA (I know, I just don't fit in here...) but it's nonsense. It may be accurate in some tiny subculture, but it's so far off the beam for the general public, I really don't even know how to address it. I am reasonably up-to-speed, tech-wise, and my buddies and I all live right here in good old Santa Clara county, Silicon valley defined. But I don't know many people that actually have abandoned TV for a fucking computer. There are far more posers "stating" that they don't watch TV any more, as if that makes them somehow superior, but that is a tiny minority of the tiny minority (and most are just lying about it).

          For the general American public, virtually *no one* has replaced their TV with a computer. The Facebook argument is nonsensical because the majority of people don't even know what the hell it is aside from buzzword/fad at 14 minutes, 55 seconds, and counting. The article sounds as if it was written from the perspective of a bunch of geeks huddling in their mom's basement arguing over who is watching TV the least between downloading Natalie Portman pictures. It may be true in that crowd, it may be highly represented on slashdot clientele, but it's so far off for normal people (you know, those who admit they watch TV, and are making Simon Cowell a billionaire) it's frightening.

                Brett

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @08:20PM (#27108477) Homepage
    I more or less agree with the summary up until it claimed Facebook killed TV. Of all the reasons I don't watch TV, face book isn't on that list and I suspect that's the case for most.

    I would agree with the idea that piracy did a lot more to kill TV but it's also people's lack of care about quality. I think both digital audio and video has been a bit of a step backwards in quality (for the most part) and that's a shame.

    I'm sure companies like that because they can offer the same music in a better bit-rate later and people will buy the music again and not realise the quality may still be inferior to the CD they could have bought instead and they could have created their own DRM free mp3s. The same goes for video.
    • by SkOink (212592) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @10:08PM (#27109209) Homepage
      Uhh... what? You think that digital audio and video is a step back in quality from analog? Perhaps you would like to compare and contrast VHS with DVD. Or perhaps records versus CDs (the kind from the 80's when they first came out, not the heavily compressed and mastered kind that is produced today). Digital distribution is definitely the way to go. Perhaps you are actually frustrated over the bit rate of internet-distributed media, not the inherent fact that it's a digital medium.
  • Oh, come on..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stanislav_J (947290) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @07:16AM (#27111279)

    We have reached new heights of ridiculous, premature geek hyperbole. TV is nowhere near dead. Go to any random neighborhood, of any income level, and poll the residents. How many of the households use their computers for their primary (an important distinction) means of receiving and watching video content versus how many are getting it on a dedicated receiver via cable, satellite, or OTA? TV as a distinct medium is alive and well, and isn't going away anytime soon. TV programming delivered online is certainly becoming another choice, among many, to get our daily dose of information and escapism. But it has hardly become anywhere near the conventional, common, default option. Come talk to me in about 20 years and maybe we will be having a different conversation.

    This is so typical of the demographic that tends to be attracted to sites like Slashdot. Younger, better educated, technically savvy, etc. A small subset of the citizenry that tends to be automatically and passionately enamored of anything new, different, and "cool." Hardly descriptive of the U.S. population as a whole. Networks and cable channels are still viable business entities, advertisers and content providers still make money hand over fist, and TV sets are still flying off store shelves every day. Guys, I hate to burst your bubble, but you are in the minority here -- you are the unconventional freaks and not in any way representative of the typical American.

    Right now, this is not about obsolescence or a wholesale quantum shift in the way we do things -- it is about having different options for achieving the same goal, and about expanding choices, not locking everybody into some new paradigm. TV via the Web is just another available option, among many. It is an excellent choice for people who spend much of their lives in front of their computers anyway. Most people -- most normal people don't use their computers as a 24/7 umbilical cord. Sure, they surf the Web, and maybe even watch some videos there (especially unusual, quirky, or amateur content that is not available through conventional TV). They also watch TV, listen to the radio, listen to ipods, read books, go to the theater (cinema or stage), attend live concerts, take long walks, play with their kids, indulge in a hobby, screw their significant others, and have pleasant conversations with their friends and loved ones (whether by phone or -- horror -- face to face), and more. All of these activities are still regarded as rather distinct entities, all are important to a well-rounded life, and they do not have to be all combined, integrated, and streamlined into a single delivery source in one magic box.

    This thread reminds me of that guy a few weeks back who was beside himself figuring out how to set up a computer to provide live, streaming video of the Inauguration to his students via the Web, when the simplest, most practical and effective solution was to simply drag a TV into the classroom and turn it on. Folks, everything doesn't have to be accomplished in some new, flashy, and high tech manner -- sometimes, perhaps most of the time, the tried and true solutions still work best for most of us.

  • by Zobeid (314469) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:17PM (#27114601)

    From the article, "The second is Moore's Law, which has worked its usual magic on Internet bandwidth. "

    From where I sit, that sounds like a cruel joke, particularly when juxtaposed with news stories about how far behind the USA is in broadband penetration.

    I've been on Wi-Fi for I forget how many years now (a decade at least?), during which time my computer has gone through a couple of replacement cycles and is now several times as fast. During that same time my internet bandwidth has increased not at all. (I tried DSL at one point, but it was no better.) So where is Moore's Law for bandwidth? I don't see it here.

    I can't even watch a YouTube video without having to pause for buffering every once in a while. Is this supposed to be the replacement for my satellite TV? I have Dish Network with a tivo-like recorder and HD now, so it has arguably improved more during the last decade than anything on my computer.

    Nor is there any immediate prospect for improvement on the computer side. I talked to my ISP about this. A couple of years ago the CEO was talking about going to Wi-Max, but wanted to wait until the technology was more standardized and proven. Now he's saying it's unaffordable, and it wouldn't help anyhow because the real bottleneck is his connection to the next regional hub.

    The other thing to remember. . . For what it does -- distributing the same information to a large number of people -- broadcasting is several orders of magnitude more efficient than the internet can be, by the very nature of its design. It may have a smaller role, but broadcasting isn't going to disappear anytime soon.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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