Got television? Of course you do. TV is everywhere. Our American species has gone from a handful of channels that provided free access to a limited number of shows, to cable television which offered higher quality and more shows, to streaming video which offers, well, millions of shows in even higher quality (sometimes).
The future of television as we knew it and know it today is dead. TV of the future is an entirely different animal. Gone are the days of scheduled viewing. On demand rules; whether streaming to an iPhone or watching traditional TV from the cable company’s DVR.
How is TV dead? Who killed it? Apple.
What? What did Apple do that caused such a drastic change from traditional television to a future where TV– videos of anything and everything available everywhere and all the time– is different and ubiquitous.
Let’s call it the iPhone revolution; handheld devices that deliver a growing number of visual experiences. I grew up in Southern California, in an era where we watched TV from less than half a dozen stations. OTA. Over the air. Free. Buy a TV with an antenna and the world was visible from a box in the living room.
Those days are gone. Video streaming is the new TV. TV’s future– traditional TV– is dead on arrival. Cable TV companies scramble to hold onto a viewing audience that has move away from a traditional television to viewing more programming from more devices; available anywhere, all the time, on any device.
How did Apple cause that revolution?
The iPhone became the icon for mobile viewing. Sure, there are more Android-based smartphones, but that revolution was started by Apple. Couple the 21st centuries’ most iconic device to the wireless interwebs and the future was sealed. TV is dead. Or, perhaps dying. Streaming video is not just the future, but here now and destined to rule.
Yet, what iPhone hath wrought is an amazing inefficiency in content.
From my parent’s antenna-based television with about six channels, to millions of videos available with a couple of touches, we’ve gone from a single broadcast signal that could cover a market of millions of people, to millions of wired connections to match many millions of users who can select millions of videos to stream and view.
Interestingly, television of the future still mirrors TV of the past. How so?
Every TV show, movie, or video, whether streamed from Disney or YouTube or YouTube TV or from anywhere else, is a video that tells a story.
Stories will not die.