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May 14, 2007

Fast Forwarding Reality

From an article in today’s New York Times:  “..more viewers [than in the past] are watching shows delayed rather than live, using TiVo and other DVRs. Research indicates those viewers are more likely to fast-forward through spots than those who watch live TV.”

Gee, that’s sort of strange.  I’d much rather fast-forward live TV than my DVR.  Fast-forwarding live TV gets you to the future.  You can fast-forward Bloomberg, for example, and know what stock prices are gonna be an hour from now.  Fast-forward ESPN to the end of the race and then call your bookie.

Lobbyists and PACs can fast-forward to November, 2008 and target their contributions only to the winners-to-be.  We can fast-forward CNN and find out what milestones the Iraqi government will meet.  We can find out which movies to see by fast-forwarding to next year’s Oscars.  We could also fast-forward some reality shows but we’d see the same stupid things then that we see now.  Same problem with fast-forwarding The Donald and most celebrities.

Back in the present, it’s pretty clear that pre-recorded programs are worth more than live ones most of the time because you can watch when you want and because you CAN fast-forward past the commercials and dull spots (full disclosure: I don’t always watch when the bad guys have the ball or are at bat.  I skip all celebrity news.).

So let’s fast-forward the technology news into the future.  Streaming (real time) video is a solution looking for a problem.  What we really want to do is download stuff fast and then view it at our own pace.  The interesting thing is that a straight forward evolution of today’s Internet gets us to faster and faster downloads while streaming is problematical. Expensive technologies like Verizon’s FiOS are designed to support the streaming we don’t really want.  Hmmm….

Related posts:

Who Needs Streaming Video?

Television and the Internet

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