Thursday, January 5, 2012

Watch Media on Computers, Tablets, Smartphones, and TV's Too!

The most interesting trend in technology this year will be how to watch TV shows, movies, news, sports, and videos other than on television in real time.

It can mean watching on a TV set, sure, but via a different delivery system than in the past. It also means watching content on computers, tablets and smartphones too.

Scheduling, content selection, and minimal advertising are all motivators for an audience to gravitate to these alternatives.

Google calculates that there are 5 billion (yes, with a “B”) people worldwide watching 5 hours of content per day. That’s a huge audience with a huge potential.


First, I’m challenged to commit myself to a network’s schedule because a show I like is on when I have other plans. I’d rather watch TV when I want to watch it than when I have to.

For example, this past weekend PBS re-ran all the episodes from season 1 of a series that I like, this in anticipation of season 2 starting next week; a way for new viewers to be brought up to speed and old viewers to revisit the show. But I didn’t want to sit in front of my TV all day. So instead, I watched the series on Netflix via streaming. I could watch for a couple of hours, do something else, come back, watch some more, pause to refresh my glass of whatever, etc. Grateful as I was for the reruns, I had cut the tether from the network and lived my life on my schedule, not theirs.

Secondly, the announcer’s statement, “The following is brought to you with limited commercial interruption,” is music to my ears. Why? Because the average 60 minute television show contains 15 minutes of commercials; that’s 25% of an hour spent watching commercials in just one show. Multiply that by two or three one hour shows in an evening, and I’d have spent an entire hour watching commercials, many of them repeats. I have better things to do with an hour of my time than watch commercials!

25% of a 1 hour TV show is commercials!
Now that I have alternatives that include fewer commercials, why should I watch the same show with more of them?

Cable TV providers, network web sites, applications, and software give the erstwhile TV viewer alternatives for watching their favorite shows and movies on their own schedule with the ability to pause, stop and otherwise live one’s life in one’s own “real” time, not on the schedule of the networks and, coincidentally, their advertisers (but that’s another subject entirely).

These alternatives include but are not limited to YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, VuduTiVo, Slingbox, Xbox, Wii, PlayStation, (Update: Aug, 2012, and now included, Amazon) and cable system providers like Comcast / XFinity, satellite company Dish network, and many hardware manufacturers who make multiple function devices like DVR’s that connect to your cable provider so you can record and watch later, and BluRay players that network into your WiFi sytem so you can stream content and watch at your convenience.

Most networks have apps so you can watch their shows on your devices
and web sites to watch on your computer.
They have all have given us the freedom to watch movies and TV shows on our television sets on our own schedules. And now dozens of apps exist so we can also watch them on tablets, and smartphones when we’re away from home or not in the same room as the TV with this capability.

The next big thing from Google (owner of YouTube), Apple, and numerous hardware manufacturers and software developers is that they are all vying to create the best delivery system for content and to lock up that content to ensure that viewers watch via them.

I’m also looking forward to the day when it won’t require six remote controls to switch from one type of viewing to another (yes, I know about Universal remote controls, but have you ever tried to configure one?), and where all the TV’s in the house function the same way.

True, we’ve had recording devices for years that have given us freedom from commercials and network schedules, but there’s some very exciting stuff in development.

The real challenge for individuals, no matter what the delivery system, is to find the time to watch content and simultaneously live life somewhere other than on the couch in front of a screen. Do I see jogger’s glasses with a built-in movie viewing capability in our future? 

Jogging glasses, anyone?

Why not? We already have cars with screens built into the front seat head rests so passengers in the back seats can watch movies instead of the scenery. Sigh….

As the saying from TV’s golden era goes, “stay tuned to this channel.” I'll bring you more information about these innovations as they emerge in the near future.

UPDATE: Oct 22, 2012
Last night I missed a TV show that isn't available to watch OnDemand, so I streamed it from my iPhone on Safari from its web site, and watched it on the television via Apple TV. Great image quality and no commercials. Yes, it's another solution that's going to play a bigger part in how media is delivered in the future, starting now! 

The information contained herein is for guideline purposes only, is not intended as an endorsement of any product, and is no guarantee of the results.

Images courtesy of Outdoor Sports Channel,,, 

Copyright © The B. Hammil Company 2012


  1. I agree with you so much, that when I want to watch TV, minus sports, I like watching it on my time table. Nearly everything I watch is recorded and I watch it later, usually the only exception to this is the daily news and sporting events, everything else is watched when I want to and have the time to watch. I still don’t think that I will go without have a pay TV provider though, there is just too much content lacking when it comes to options like Netflix and Hulu, I’d just lose way too much for me to consider it. So I will stick with my DISH, especially since I can watch their programming anywhere and anytime. I’m referring to the DISH Remote Access app that they have out for iOS, Android and Blackberry. I can stream any and all of my channels, not to mention I have full access to the DVR. All of this works outside of the home network, and working for DISH I know that you can even schedule and manage your recordings from this app.

  2. Thanks for your comment about the Dish Network, HanSolo2469. I've added it to the text so others will see this service sooner. The one caveat about Dish is that your home has to have an unobstructed view of a certain part of the sky, and mine doesn't. Tall trees prevent me from having this service, otherwise I probably would.

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  4. You are right. The DVR from Dish Network is all about choice and convenience! Besides enabling you to record up to six HD channels at the same time, the DVR feature also incorporates a massive 2 TB hard drive that can store 250 hours of HD programming and hundreds of On Demand titles. Its all about the freedom that we get in making our own TV schedule without worrying about the actual TV schedule. Good post and keep discussing.

  5. Thanks Mark; Yes, lots of storage space for one's favorite programs. The challenge is in finding the time to watch them all and still have a life! And I appreciate the compliment.

  6. It is right. Dish TV provides unlimited services like more than 100 HD channels and awesome DVR systems.


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