Monday, March 12, 2007

TRENDING: Apple TV and Absence Makes the Heart...

...grow fonder.

A part of my job at the TV show I work on is to keep ahead of the proverbial digital curve. I read all sorts of geek magazines, newsletters, and websites, and a few times a year I attend national conferences on digital entertainment technology and gadgetry. (I know, it sounds totally dorky, but hey, what do you expect?) Basically, I have to keep an eye out for the future. This is what I call TRENDING, and it will be a recurring feature here on this blog. Whenever I have something to tell you all that I think is going to be the next big thing, the wave of the future, the next hot new type of gadget, etc., I will post a blog alerting you to the fad so that you can be as up-to-date as I am (or at least try to be!). And now, I present to you, the first installment of:

Today I want to talk about something that I've known about for a while, and now it is really hitting the mainstream, though I think that it will take a while for people to actually start using it and having a use for it. The TREND that I am talking about is watching content from your computer on your television set, and vice-versa.

This type of entertainment takes on all sorts of forms, such as Internet Television, or IPTV, Slingboxing and AppleTV. The most common type of content on the web seems to be User-Generated content, or sites such as YouTube or MySpace, where people can upload videos and share, comment on them and search them. My theory, from observing the evolution of entertainment in the last few years that began with Reality Television, is that people like to see candid, real moments from normal people, and thus User-Generated content has recently been king. (a close second are original web-exclusive, bite-sized bits of entertainment, but we'll save that for another entry because it deserves one all it's own).

With the growth of people viewing video on the internet, and the demand to share it, mobile phone video providers and portable media-players such as iPods have grown much more robust in their ability to view and share content.

And then, a funny thing happened. People started wanting, naturally, to be able to have the content that they have recorded on their TiVo's or DVR's somehow transferred onto such mobile devices. Since they were already paying for their cable and TiVo subscriptions, they had already payed for that episode of Lost that they just payed for AGAIN on iTunes or Amazon or Google Video in order to be able to watch it on their laptops and media players.

Enter Slingboxing.

Sling Media is a company that created a trapezoid-shaped box that could virtually transmit the content you recorded from your TV to any wireless-enabled device (including your computer). Now, not only could people download their fave TV shows from iTunes if they missed them, they could record them at home and bypass having to pay for them again at all. Though this is somewhat of a band-aid for the problem for the time being, it works.

And then, another funny thing happened. Content from the internet became REALLY popular. People still watch their network dramas and comedies, but they value short-form entertainment almost, if not equally, as much. So now, not only do people want to watch their TV content on-the-go, they wanted to bring the content they found on-the-go (whether it be movies, music, or pictures) back into their living rooms and onto their TV's.

Enter AppleTV, which just released today.
AppleTV takes everything from your computer in terms of media, and it beams it back to your TV. And it's wireless. The best of both worlds.

Ok, so maybe you are not running out to buy one. I'm not either. That's why we're talking stuff that's AHEAD OF THE CURVE. I personally think (and I don't think that I am in the minority) that the future will consist of one box in your living rooms that is going to control everything - your TV, Internet, lighting, phone, doorbell, alarm, etc. A fully-integrated system and only one, neat little box with only a few cables. Say goodbye to the jungle of wires behind your entertainment center and computer station. Well, not quite yet, but it's coming.


Geek Girl

Thanks for all of your questions!! If you have questions, email me at
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Anonymous said...

Hi "Geek Girl!"

My bro-in-law has a Slingbox and we watched his t.v. on our computer....he lives about 60 miles away. LOL They're pretty cool, but I don't know when/what I'd use it for. :)

I'm married to a Network Admin., so he (and I, purely by conversation) are usually up on the latest geek toys out there. And if he hasn't read about it, then his brother (who is a programmer) has passed the word along. LOL!!!

I'm so glad to see a WOMAN in the geek world! You go!

(Kandle Freak)

GeekGirl said...

Thanks Linda! Holla to woman geeks! We are indeed a minority, but i think that only makes us all that more special. And good for you for actually having seen the technology in use! I've only seen it at Consumer electronics shows...but it's still pretty cool.

Keep checking back every week for more and feel free to ask questions!


Geek Girl

Anonymous said...

I have a slingbox, and love it! I know a lot of people are scared of the new technology but keep spreading the word geekgirl. It really does enhance your entertainment life.


Poz Mikey said...

Slingbox looks awesome.


Poz Mikey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Voice For My Random Thoughts said...

The only thing that keeps me away from these new advances in technology is money. Having been on the computer for probably 25 years the advances amaze me. My first computer had 16k of memory, now my cell phone has so much more...I look forward to the advances, and you keeping us up to date....JACNY

for_the_lonely said... has indeed come such a long way! I remember having cable when I was little, and we had to manually change the channels for cable by punching the numbers on an adjacent box. Here we are now, where we can tivo shows and zoom them to our telephones. Crazy! This was a fun read...I wonder what else lies beyond the door to the future?

Hugs to you,