One thing that is almost never spelled out in articles about OTT TV sites is, a PC can reach any of them, can easily access any new sites that pop up, and will support any and all streaming protocols used by these sites, including Flash, which iToys and now even Android won't support.
Furthermore, PCs now provide HDMI outputs, and newer TV sets typically offer 2 to 4 HDMI inputs, so such hookups are fairly trivial for anyone.
One does not need to rely on any special boxes from Netflix or anyone else. Ideally, smart TVs would be able to achieve this same goal without having to add any external PC or any other box. For instance, by embedding a "thin client," i.e. one or more standard browsers. Too bad that instead, they are incompehensibly limited, to a handful of for-pay-only Internet TV sites.
And, the UI offered by the OTT sites to regular PCs is just fine as is. I'm not sure why use of OTT sites is made out to be so problematic.
The PC is the ideal device for accessing over the top media. It can access content that is completely unavailable on Smart TVs or OTT set top boxes. However, there is a completely different mindset associated with television viewing--a completely passive activity for the greatest percent of the population--and viewing television content on a PC--a highly interactive device that requires lots of interaction from the user to find content he/she wants to watch. Passsive TV viewing is changing thanks to social media which allows millenials to social network while watching the latest episode of "Ghost Adventures" or some other popular program. The mentality of viewers watching TV is to pick up a remote and find frequently watched channels and the idea of running a HDTV cable from the PC to the TV just takes too much effort for someone wanting to have his brainwaves massaged.
However, there is a completely different mindset associated with television viewing--a completely passive activity for the greatest percent of the population--and viewing television content on a PC--a highly interactive device that requires lots of interaction from the user to find content he/she wants to watch.
I call this "different mindset" phenomenon "cognitive dissonance." It's almost like people cannot fathom the concept that TV programming is streaming on THE internet. You know, like everything else that's on THE Internet. The mindset is almost like TV on the Internet is exclusive to certain boxes only, for some odd reason, with very few sites available, all for pay (like Netflix or Hulu Plus).
When watching TV on a PC, or better on a PC connected to the TV set as if it were a set-top box, the TV viewing experience is just as passive, just as non-interactive, as when watching TV the old fashioned way. Quite literally, the ONLY difference is that instead of holding a traditional TV remote in your hand, you're moving a wireless mouse on the couch, next to you. The extent of interactivity is clicking on the show you want to watch.
I'm one of those "cable nevers." These days, I use either over the air TV, pretty much exclusively for news programs, or a PC for everything else. You set up your bookmarks initially, and from then on you simply use the mouse. Go to any of the networks' web sites, or any of the other OTT sites around the world, find the full length episodes, set a bookmark for that site. From that point on, only the mouse is needed.
Most of these sites already have well designed, intuitive UIs. It's very simple, or it certainly should be for the "connected generation."
As people are getting so busy that they hardly have time to sit in one place and watch a movie. If they start seeing on their conventional STB or any box they should be able to continue in their cars or even when they step out of home. Is Apple TV having a good market??
Using a PC as a set-top box is a non-starter for the vast majority of consumers. OTT boxes like Roku & Apple TV and "smart" TV apps for the most popular OTT services fare slightly better, but still don't quite measure up for the preferred TV viewing interface of the masses.
I agree. The PC and TV serve two different functions. I suspect that the TV will morph into the home viewing screen that will simply display whatever the viewer wants regardless of who supplies the content. The trick for the hardware and software guys is how to make displaying that content as easy as "channel surfing" with a remote is today.
If the 18 to 34 year olds are watching most of their TV on tablets, then it seems to me that they have already understood how to watch TV without using a 3-digit channel number. If the TV screen in your home is to become a generic display for anything, which I can also agree to, then it seems to me that again, whatever appears on that screen will not be assumed to be the result of dialing a 3-digit number.
The 18 to 34 year olds are showing an increased tendency to be "cable nevers." Not the majority yet, perhaps, but a substantial percentage. So I don't see how we can have preconceived notions that they will associate a TV program strictly with a 3-digit channel number.
Things change. TV distribution historically used to be confined to a dedicated medium, using either 2-digit numbers for over the air channels, or 3-digit numbers for cable or satellite channels. We're beyond that now. When you put TV on the web, as opposed to an isolated TV-only medium, you will naturally have to use web browsing tools, as those who use tablets must have figured out.
Any resistance to this change, seems to me, can't be anything but transitional.
Connecting a PC to the TV is merely the easiest way to make the TV do what it should be expected to do, in the Internet TV era, until the CE vendors figure out how to build this into their "smart TVs." As of today, these smart TVs and other Internet TV boxes are incomprehensibly limited, considering how adept many have become to browsing the web on any device.
To the comment on changing patterns in TV viewing, I point you to the following web page http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/television/are-young-people-watching-less-tv-24817/
It confirms the opinion that TV viewing is largely an older generation passtime. However, the data on viewing habis of 18-24 year olds still shows them as TV viewers though the amount of time has been declining in recent quarters, it appears to have stabilized.
This is the problem that Pay TV guys face. They're seeing a dwindling interest in network programming and a slow exodus to over the top viewing. They're last great hope is sport programming that continues to be a blessing and a curse. See the story in the NYTimes "Rising TV Fees Mean All Viewers Pay to Keep Sports Fans Happy" http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/business/media/all-viewers-pay-to-keep-tv-sports-fans-happy.html?_r=0
We have Comcast cable here and pay $90 a month for what's calle d"expanded basic." My wife and daughter watch several shows and we often record then to watch later. For recording network shows, we don't use cable at all but use an antenna. Why? because the antenna goes to a DVD recorder with a tuner and we can program it for the whole week and ti will change channels. Once you connect a cable box you have to change the channel manually between recordings. For recording cable-only shows, we use a cable box and VHS tape.
On top of all that, we subscribe to both Netflix and Hulu for old shows. You need both because shows are never all on one service. It's a conspiracy to get you to subscribe to both.
As for sports, OK I do watch some, but just local teams. Most of the time, I just listen on the raido while doing something else--usually working. You can;t even get MLB audio online without paying, but you can get all video of all games online if you pay. So if you're a huge baseball fan, who needs cable?
I discovered that during the NHL playoffs, you can get straming audio for free. I used the Tune In radio app on my phone to listen to games. But now the Bruins are finished and that ended that.
I keep up with MLB scores using the Yahoo sports app. You get pitch-by-ptch info and if there's someting worh seeing, you cna see a replay.
The ideal solution is video on demand. Turn the set on and select the program that either you download from the cloud or you're recorded locally. This was the vision that early proponents of the Internet promoted. Implementing this solution is the sausage making exercise that content providers--NBC, TBS, Sony..., access providers Comcast, Verizon, DirecTV..., and content aggregators, Netflix, Hulu... are going through now. They're each tying to determine what business model will allow them to get an unfair share of the money subscribers currently pay to view programming. At the same time, subscribers fed up with being forced to pay for content they never use are trying to play one giant against another in an attempt to pay less.