Surfing the World Wide Waves (WWW)

The future of Television Viewing

Sitting at home alone when the snow is building up there's nothing better than staying in the house, flicking through the channels and looking at television progams we could watch. Of course this flicking through the television programs is of a different nature. What I was doing was looking at the electronic programme guide, a place where all programs are scheduled according to channel and program type.

Over time the selection was complete and the portable video recorder (digital satelite receiver) was ready for the task I had set it. Over the next few hours whilst I was downstairs the machine recorded all the listed programs onto the hard disk giving me a choice of many programs to watch at a slightly later time of the day. No longer was aI chained to the television and the program schedule, rather I was tasting the future of television.

For years the idea of video on demand has been discussed and the possibility of having hundreds of channels has also been the dream of many people. Over the past few months and especially over the past week I have been taking full advantage of this technology, recording films for later viewing, watching documentaries and more. All these videos were watchable on demand.

It's an interesting environment where we have the freedom to create our own television schedule. If we want to watch a little frasier, followed by documentaries on aviation followed by a wide diversity of programs we control our entire viewing experience, even to the extent of skipping through boring adverts, but occasionaly letting those adverts we have not seen yet play out.

This is the futrue of television, far more interactive, and with a lot of progress to be made. As the hard disks become larger and more programing can be stored more and more people will take advantage to tailor their viewing experience. Not only are we coming to a time of narrow casting but we are also coming to the age of television personalisation.

This is a necessity in today's world, after all why would we want to have to wait till 6pm for a program to start when we arrive home at 7pm? Who wants to sit through adverts when with dvd and broadband you may interact with the media you are consuming? The death of the couch potato is coming as the ability to control when to watch programs becomes more flexible.


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