Last month, the Wall St. Journal validated our our Cutting the Cable prediction. This week, the New York Times climbed on board. Nick Bilton’s Disruptions: TV Makers Ignore Apps at Their Own Peril makes the point that he prefers watching programs on his iPhone or iPad because:
“The idea of turning it on, powering up the external speakers, starting the Apple TV or Xbox, telling the TV which input does what, or flicking through some traditional TV channels, makes me anxious. It’s the same feeling I get when I think about sifting through a pile of bills.”
So what does Bilton see as the problem?
What is broken is the entire television experience. I have two remote controls for the TV and speakers with more than 40 buttons each. (I don’t have cable or TiVo; if I did, I’d have even more buttons to worry about.)
Instead, Bilton prefers his iPhone over his TV because of the way it allows him to consume content — and because he can also create content, post information and comments and share content all on the same device.
He’s really talking about cutting the cable. We think people will want to access movies at home on big screens — so that the whole family can watch. But we also continue to believe that people will want to watch wherever they are and on whatever device they have. That means watching video on a smartphone while standing in the security line at the airport; watching on a tablet when they get a seat at the gate or when they’re actually on the plane; and watching when they get home or to the hotel room — each time, picking up where they left off. The device doesn’t matter, really. We just want optimized access wherever, whenever.
Cable, as it currently operates, doesn’t make sense in that context. They need to find a way to stream the content we each want to all our devices — and I know there are technical, licensing and security issues to be solved. But that is the future, and by 2022, the concept of cable will seem as remote as dial-up does to my kids.