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Five Reasons You Aren’t Watching Internet Video On Your TV… Yet

The Wall Street Journal came up with five reasons that nobody is watching internet video on their TV’s.

Read this chart. Nuff said?

Don’t confuse this. People ARE watching online videos, just not on their TV sets.

In August, Internet users in the U.S. viewed 9.13 billion online videos, up 26% from 7.24 billion in January, estimates research firm comScore Inc.

Here are the five reasons they give.

THE PROBLEM: Too Many Boxes

Let’s start with one of the most basic problems: clutter. Consumers simply don’t want to add a new box to their home-entertainment centers. Consumers made exceptions, of course, for DVD players and VCRs. But the benefits of stand-alone Internet video players have been too weak to make people clear space in their homes.

Agreed. I’m out of space, and I only have the bare essentials. Even my DVD player is a combo VCR/DVD unit.

THE PROBLEM: Too Complicated

Besides the hassles of getting Internet video players hooked up to television sets, most of them also need to be configured to connect to the Internet over a wired or wireless home network. And that process can be daunting.

Couldn’t agree more, and I’m really good at this stuff. I can’t put drywall up or fix my garbage disposal, but for some reason I’m really apt at working with the cables behind my entertainment system. And sometimes even I get confused. Can’t imagine how a person who has no clue feels.

THE PROBLEM: Sticker Shock

Compared with other methods of getting entertainment, Internet video devices are often pricey. The movie box from Vudu Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., costs $399 and Apple TV starts at $299, hundreds of dollars more than a DVD player. TiVos sell for as low as $100, but users must subscribe to a service that costs between $8.31 and $12.95 a month, plus rental or purchase fees for downloading videos from Amazon.

Steve and I talked about this today on the Video Ninjas radio show. Steve was echoing the thoughts that Tivo priced themselves out of a market share. I agree.

THE PROBLEM: Limited Selection

Today, most Internet video players are tightly linked with the hardware makers’ own online video service or those they’ve cut deals with. Selection isn’t comprehensive on most of these services, limiting their appeal. Often, the services don’t have deals with all the Hollywood studios and television producers, don’t get the best mainstream titles fast enough, or don’t offer YouTube and other sources of user-generated video.

Not much to say except yeah, I agree. The content needs to be there. Right now it’s not, by far.

THE PROBLEM: Slow Downloads

Watching a television show or movie through some Internet video players can be an exercise in delayed gratification. Some boxes, like the Xbox 360, can begin playing videos purchased or rented online after only a few minutes, depending on the speed of a user’s broadband connection. In other cases, users often have to wait hours to watch a movie until it has fully downloaded, as with videos purchased from Amazon through TiVo’s older digital video recorders. (Newer TiVo boxes let users watch videos as they’re downloading.)

Answer this honestly. Would you wait the same amount of time you wait online if you were staring at your TV? I would not.

What are your thoughts on this topic? How long will it be before the world is watching YouTube on their TV sets in mass?

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3 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Chris Sanderson
    December 12, 2007 at 11:45 am #

    I must admit I am a HUGE Apple TV fan. I have three choices when it comes to getting the latest US TV Shows

    - Wait for it to arrive locally on TV…. and you think downloads are slow…
    - Grab it from a Bit Torrent Site and watch it on my laptop
    - Subscribe to the show at iTunes and stream it to my Plasma to watch at my leisure.

    Sure it takes a while to download from iTunes but there’s plenty to do in the mean time.. :-)

    Watching YouTube on the Apple TV is another matter though, very choppy… not great at all.

  2. Tony Pannone
    December 14, 2007 at 3:11 pm #

    Ok I agree with all that has been stated. Let’s look at the technology and where it is going. Think wireless, I will tie it all in at the end.
    In the US we use two different technologies for our wireless providers, CDMA and GSM. Both with the right equipment can blow DSL speeds out of the water and rival most cable providers. Using their EVDO and HSDPA/CDMA2000 (3G networks). There is already technology to acheive 280Mbs in bandwidth speeds. It’s called Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB). Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_Mobile_Broadband
    It is the combination of both technologies at their best.
    Remember this….when the FM radio was invented, it got locked away for 20 years! Why? Because there was still a ton money left to be made on AM radio. What! They held out on new technology just so they could make a few more pennies? Want more proof? Why does the US come in 12th for Internet speeds? Yes because it is bigger and in some cases Dial-up/Satellite are the only options. Cell phone coverage does not quite reach everybody and may never. However our major cities don’t compete either. Do a Google search for world Internet speeds. You’ll see.
    What does wireless have to do with the story? Why would we ever need Internet speeds of 280Mbs? Well faster Internet of course. But what you can do with faster other than view more pages? With those speeds you could download a movie in less than one minute (HD programs are about 15-20 times in size). What would happen if your cable companies merge with your wireless carriers? And they had the ability to put cell phone type modems in side your TVs? Cable lines would no longer need to exsist. On demand TV Internet! Space still a problem?
    My only coral with story is that it is compared with current technology. It’s technology don’t be “out dated”. Any time you have an “awe ha” technology is usually involved. Current status que will always win when compared to new technology for the first time. Look at TV’s and cell phones.
    Ever said “I am not going to get one” and did?
    Plus you don’t get much of a choice if that is what they are selling.

  3. John Cannava
    December 29, 2007 at 4:07 pm #

    Great comments above. One point that hasn’t been made is the nature of the question. The question is based on the premise that as a consumer, the purchase of hardware would be required to view an undefined internet television product. Had the question been phrased as, “How much would you pay to watch your favorite television shows, movies, internet shows whenever you wanted at a per-view download rate?” I believe the results would be more encouraging. Even more, to tap/generate a market for such services, consumers need to be provided with a vision of the value proposition such technology provides. The average person doesn’t buy hardware, they buy entertainment. If content providers have learned anything from the music industry, they’ll view the impending marriage of television and the internet as a new business model from which profits can be made rather than a threat to their current advertising-based business.