June 10, 2015

How TV Needs To Change

I’ve often spoken about my dislike of the present state of TV programming and how it needs to evolve. Please note: I’m not talking the shows themselves, but in how they ‘brought’ to us.

Home phone. Cursive writing. “TV” [not the display unit itself but TV via satellite, cable etc.]. these are all things that are either not being used on a wide basis, or phasing out.

So what’s wrong with TV providers? They don’t change or offer any incentive to stay.

With the debut, and success, of streaming services (Apple TV, Netflix…) watching shows/movies has seen a great window of opportunity, as well as the next phase in how we watch things as well. Some providers have taken a few steps in that direction with ‘On Demand’.

Without ranting, complaining or telling you about ‘the wave of the future’ or other long windedness, I’m going to propose my ideal out-come for ‘the future of TV’.

When you load up Apple TV, Netflix, etc…you get to choose WHAT you want to watch, as opposed to WHEN. There’s categories: Movies, TV Shows, etc.  In those categories, you get to see which films and TV shows are offered. Best yet, if you want to find something, you can also search. So for starters, it’s primarily the interface I would change. Scrap ‘channels’, and have all your stuff laid in a format based on or similar to this.

Next thing that needs to change is ‘airing’. Unless it’s a sporting or live event (which is totally streamable, seeing as Apple TV has sports), a TV ‘schedule’ needs to die. If it’s uploaded to your on demand or streaming method, it’s there until the provider decides to pull it. Let’s take a look at one of the more popular shows, The Big Bang Theory. This show, like many others, runs from Sept – May, typically. Well, instead of ‘day X at Y:YY’, upload episodes each day, on day X [assuming of course they don’t do the Netflix House of Cards method and post the ENTIRE SEASON AT ONCE. Which is the way to go way to. Waiting one week for one episode is stupid. Anyway….] Keep all the episodes uploaded until at the very least, the day before the next season gets uploaded the following September. Having the entire show archived would definitely be ideal, and entire seasons uploaded at once even more so.

Also, commercials. This is a big reason for cable-cutters. If you pay for something, it should be ad free. YouTube is thinking of (or will do?) a premium subscription to eliminate (most?) of the ads. If you have rabbit-ear antennas, and you pick up stuff for free, by all means – load that up with ads, as getting the content is free.

Finally, the ‘package system’ needs to die. Try getting all the nature, or nature related shows and you’ll see what I mean. How about science? History? Sports? You don’t pick and choose channels (or shows) you choose sets of channels pre-assembled by some big-wig to get more of your dollars.

As you can see, I think very highly of the method in which Netflix and Apple TV (and others I do not know of) deliver their streaming content. If TV providers were to offer a similar approach, they will be fine in the long run; because I don’t see TV as is lasting another five years. Some people I know don’t even have Neflix – their TV is used as a large display for video games and popping in blu-rays.

So, now comes my ‘anarchist’ rallying call – HOW do we go about bringing this change sooner, sending them a message, etc? There are two ways:

1) Contact them. Write letters, fill out surveys, call them even. Let them know how dissatisfied you are with their service, or offer ways (some of my own or yours) to improve it. Because that’s all I’m really asking: is for them to change.

2) My favourite: if you have a bundle deal with one of them (let’s use Bell for example), compare the TV packages with the internet ones. If it’s financially feasible, and you live in an area that is able to support current internet, considering doing this: get rid of your TV package completely and utterly, but increase your monthly internet usage. Why? Because, Netflix, Apple TV, etc uses your internet. So, by upping your usage, you will be able to use it a lot more, or in the cases of those that have a TV package but no Netflix account, the opportunity to sign up for an account (the first month of Netflix is free, by the way.) Doing this, all the financial and statistical stuff will show that a lot more people prefer to use the internet (to perhaps watch shows) than selecting TV packages.

So, in a nutshell – remove your TV package, and increase your internet to allow for streaming of your choice. If enough people do this, the providers will take notice, and hopefully evolve their rapidly aging format.

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