Looking into the crystal iBall at the Future of Television

The following is a guest post from Trevor Doerksen, CEO of Calgary’s Mobovivo – a digital media company focused on the challenges Broadcast and Media companies face in marketing and delivering premium content to audiences on alternative platforms.

The demise of television has been discussed at length – video killed the radio star remember. Well of course that didn’t happen and neither is television at much risk of being killed by new media, games or apps. However, I have looked into the flat multi-touch screen of the iPad and seen the future. The future has no room for Channel 13 or 29 or even Channel 3.

The companies that control the Channels – cable providers, may have no future in delivering the system we all know today. The ability for the cable provider to manage and control Channels will fade to black. The bundled Channel approach, whereby subscribers purchase bundles of Channels from the cable company has little future.

There is no doubt room for channels to exist. The Weather Channel, ABC, CBC, Showcase, HBO and so on. All these channels and many, many more have a bright future – as Apps.

The new TV Channels are Apps. They don’t require the cable provider. The just need an app and their users an Internet connection. Look no further than apps like the ABC iPad App which after about 1 week streamed some 650,000 episodes to a few hundred thousand iPad users.

And apps won’t stop with devices that you can hold in your hands. The FCC in the US is even wading into this area as part of their National Broadband Plan. They are looking for a new digital TV standard that would open up the Internet on televisions. Having a browser in the living room has been possible for some time and it is not that compelling. However, apps in the living room are very compelling, especially apps that provide access to television programming and advanced features like social networking and screen shifting from a television to a mobile phone to your iPad and computer.

Switching channels becomes launching apps. If you have done both, you will no doubt prefer the latter. And if your television operating system allows multi-tasking, picture in picture features will be supported. Speaking of operating systems on a television, Google has already released Android, its mobile phone operating system, to television set manufacturers. The first will be a 42″ screen available this summer from Lava.

The TV app has the potential to replace the Channel within a couple of years. This could mean that changing from Channel 3 to 49 and rotten video on demand menus could soon be a thing of the past. Perhaps bundled Channel business models could soon be gone too.