During a recent trip to the Digital Hollywood conference, I found a town desperately searching for the next big thing.
Meanwhile the tech world is gaga over wireless and the Web, distribution channels poorly suited to premium video, Setos added. “Wireless is too expensive to handle large objects like movies and TV shows well [and] TCP/IP is not well suited to truly popular audio-visual content, either,” Setos said.
The trouble for Hollywood is that consumers seem content to stream movies and TV shows. They don’t want to shell out the money to buy them.
There’s some hope that could change. Kaleidescape (Sunnyvale, Calif.), for example, could use the cool user interface for its media server to make it fun to have a digital movie library, said Hunt. Studios and online retailers could hammer out deals to create disk-to-digital services that help consumers kickstart their collections, he added.
But there’s heavy lifting here solving the old digital rights issues. The Ultraviolet initiative of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem is plugging away at the problems, and there are plenty of them.
Studios need to start publishing movies in the Common File Format to enable digital-rights transactions under the Ultraviolet approach. TV makers and apps developers need to create UV players. And everybody needs to do a whole lot of interoperability testing.
“In 2013 we will see how aggressive studios get to launch movie ownership again,” said Hunt who works with the folks at Ultraviolet.
I’m not holding my breath. Digital Hollywood continues to be a fascinating place, but not one that I hold any great expectations for in the near term.
The problem with TV in my opinion is lack of decent things to watch and the content being dispersed across thousands of channels so it is taking lots of time to chase whatever is worthwhile to watch...more pixels is not going to fix that problem
And I also disagree on the 4K TV point. Of course, it would also be "potentially a race to the bottom." I'd go so far as to take "potentially" out of that sentence. This is consumer electronics we're talking about. It's always a race to the bottom. All a manufacturer can hope for is to buy a few years of high profits, then very low profits but lots of volume.
For the consumer, though, it means constant and affordable improvements. Or we would still be watching black and white TVs on 16" screens with rounded sides, right? Or better yet, most of us would still be listening to radio dramas rather than own an expensive, high-profit TV.
When HDTV was being considered, I heard some of these same arguments. A standard question was, "What's in it for broadcasters?" The answer is, "survival." You either upgrade, or you watch your competition take away your loyal viewers. HDTV was ALWAYS intended to be a mass-market medium. So is UHDTV. The alternative is failure of the medium.
Well, the movie theaters we frequent on most Saturday nights have recently converted to the Sony Cinema 4K standard. That's something. Must save the studios a ton of money, not to have to distribute those bulky movie platters (or whatever they're called), no?
I found the comment "TCP/IP is not well suited to truly popular audio-visual content, either" to be surprisingly wrong. It may not have been when few households had broadband access, and ISPs were still operating slow core networks. But those realities are quickly becoming yesterday's realities, certainly for the wired Internet. TCP/IP and UDP/IP also used to be poorly suited for voice telephony. But that too is ancient history. It's the same progression going on here.
Assuming we always need this "next big thing," it should be proper Internet distribution of TV and movies. With intelligently designed connected TVs out on store shelves. And by the way, we're essentially there already. Only no one seems to get this.
I was amazed, for example, to see someone on the cbs.com site ask whether CBS would re-air the episode of "Elementary" which followed the Superbowl yesterday, sometime during the week. Egad, people. CBS had that episode available online almost immediately, and I watched it comfortably on my TV set. So could even the tech-illiterates, if only the CE companies would sell intelligently designed connected TVs!
Make that this "next big thing," if you need one.