Are we on the Cusp of a Revolutionary Shift in Television?
In July Apple quietly added new Apple TV channels like CNBC and Fox Now and there's likely more to follow in the weeks and months ahead. In September, Apple's CEO Tim Cook talked up Apple TV and once again with Charlie Rose and kept talking about how today's television-experience is stuck in a bygone era. Today, out of nowhere, two possible major television properties are saying that they're getting ready to offer online programming away from the cable subscription model that's been holding back a la carte programming choices for consumers. It seems like we're on the cusp of a revolutionary shift, even though we can't fully see it yet.
Today, CBS's Showtime, the premium cable network that carries one of my favorite shows "Homeland," is considering following rival HBO in offering its programs online to viewers who aren't Pay-TV customers.
In an email statement to Bloomberg, a representative for Showtime stated that "We are always looking at ways of expanding our audience and it is certainly something that we have been examining for some time."
Earlier today HBO, owned by Time Warner roiled the industry by saying it plans to offer a Web-based service in the U.S. next year that won't require a cable or satellite TV subscription.
In the larger picture, news out Dubai today revealed how 4.5G technology, a precursor to 5G, is going to usher in ultra-high definition displays, 3D and possibly holographic videos and so much more.
It was also reported today that Facebook, the new owners of Oculus VR headset met with Samsung to take this product to the next level. With 4.5G just two years out, the Oculus may be able to take advantage of delivering 3D movies, Games and TV in a new way like never before.
The technology behind 4.5G is expected to be commercialized in 2016. Huawei's 4.5G research starts by looking at the ongoing 3G Partnership Project (3GPP) releases for LTE and LTE-Advanced. The 4.5G standardization forms a part of this and is expected to be completed in 3GPP releases 13/14.
It just feels like Apple, content creators and suppliers are preparing for televisions leap into the future which will completely change our experiences as we know them today. One example of what we could expect from future HDTV's is a High Definition Video conferencing experience that will be commonplace over the next five years if 4.5G can deliver on its promises.
As far back as 2004 Apple was working on a "display that could be combined with digital cameras in order to facilitate two-way communication." Instead of looking at the iSight camera and getting distracted, you'll be able to naturally look at your TV screen and have virtual eye-to-eye conversations with your phone guests as natural as if they were with you in your living room or office. The future of TV is going to be very, very exciting with converged experiences.
Last week Carl Icahn called for an Ultra-HD Apple TV set in 2016. The timing of that forecast just happens to fall in line with the debut of the 4.5G standard's target timeframe to market. Even if it's a little delayed, the Apple HDTV that we've all been dreaming of just might be ready.
While one can feel the pieces of the puzzle coming together from various new bits, it's still just out of our reach so that we can make sense of it all at this time. But as I've said in the past, when you see Tim Cook's beaming face talking about Apple TV, he's not talking about a TV set-top-box. No one would get that excited and push this theme as hard as Cook has with NBC's Brian Williams and Charlie Rose without it being a real market changing product in the making. This is a face that has seen the future.
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