Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cable Providers Seeking to Pile on the Features

Somewhat interesting and more than a little telling is that there's a lot of movement among cable TV providers lately to add more and more features to their set top boxes. Internet connectivity, DVR's, apps, and even integration with iPads and other hand held devices are all coming soon.

This is an attempt to stem the ever increasing tide of 'new distractions' that are available to people the world over. Coming home and flicking the TV on might still be a pretty attractive thing after a long day at work, but more and more folks are turning away from traditional pastimes like Television and looking to games, 'net based attractions, social networking, and more to distract from the daily grind.

What takes up the majority of your entertainment time? For me it's probably a mix of gaming and reading through web sites- but I know plenty of folks for who it's music, reading (on their Kindles, nooks, iPads- or paper), Blu Ray movies, or even poking around on Facebook (for hours... and hours).

As the entertainment industry changes in this new millennium, the days when you just had to get home to watch the new episode of the X-Files or Seinfeld seem to be long gone. Even if you do have a favorite show, chances are that you can find a way to watch it online. Hulu, YouTube, and even some network's home sites, all stream content that was only found on television in years past. As Cable companies careen towards irrelevance, they're doing their best to make sure that you stick with them for the foreseeable future. Even if it means teaming up with their competition and crossing over into the iPads of the world with additional content and control to supplement your set top.

Currently, there are quite a few apps floating around that allow you to control your DVR from your iDevice- there's lots more to come as well. Giving users a new toy or control ability might work in the short term, providing a relatively new experience, but in the grand scheme of things- it's still just TV.

We'll see if that means all that much in the years to come.