Regular readers of the HDTV Almanac know that I’m a big proponent of what the Internet will do for video entertainment. The ability to watch what you want, where you want, when you want is a powerful development that will change everything. It’s easy to suppose such a position in theory, but it’s even better when you can cite some statistics that point in that direction.
Last week, Ensequence came out with results of a consumer survey about interactive television. Nearly three quarters responded that they use their TV’s remote control to access an on-screen schedule or interact with a video recorder. The only surprise there might be that the number wasn’t 100%. What is more interesting, however, is the fact that there is strong demand for more advanced features. 72% want to interact with the reality shows that they are watching, while 65% want to interact with sporting event programming. And even in this age of commercial skipping, two out of three consumers responded that they wanted to interact with the ads on their televisions!
I think back to the days when the now lowly VCR was just beginning to make its impact on the home television viewing market. The idea that you could record a show and watch it again at a different time was an exciting and liberating discovery. TiVo and other digital video recording devices and services are the logical outgrowth of the VCR’s original mission. Broadband access to the Internet makes it practical to watch just about any content you want, any time you want. It’s not as easy yet as watching the programming on a major network, but that’s changing rapidly. Expect to have more control over your television than ever before in the coming years.