Top 15 Reasons Why Interactive TV Will Be the Next Big Thing

 
 
By eweek  |  Posted 2001-04-02
 
 
 

  1. TV is already interactive. And its getting more so every day. Liberty Media Chairman John Malone makes a compelling argument that the TV remote control is the most interactive device ever invented.
  2. Instant gratification. When you see that ad for the SaladShooter, no longer will you have to race for pen and paper to frantically jot down the phone number or rely on a faulty memory. Just click on the icon, place the order and youll be cranking cole slaw in no time.
  3. Can we talk? When it comes to anonymous conversation, no venue has ever created as much buzz as America Onlines chat rooms. Interactive TV will give chatters a whole new world to talk about.
  4. Have it your way. Dont like watching a National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing race from the press box perspective? No problem. With interactivity, you can ride shotgun with any driver on the track or jump from the cheap seats to the pits. Advertisers will be able to customize their pitches, sparing you the spot for hemorrhoid ointment when youre in the market for lip balm.
  5. Convergence. PCs and TVs are already roommates, so why not let them converge? More than 44 million PCs share a room with a TV in the U.S., and three of every five online users say they watch TV and go online at the same time, according to the America Online/Roper Starch Cyberstudy.
  6. Easy-breezy navigation. One of interactive TVs most daunting prospects is the challenge of navigating thousands of channels and Web pages. Not to worry. Companies such as Canal+ and Liberate Technologies have developed navigation systems that put Internet search engines to shame.
  7. Generation T. The remote has been passed to a new generation, the most interactive in history. Watching young people surf through 150 channels is enough to make you seasick, but short attention spans definitely work in interactive TVs favor. Driven by new technologies and increased income, media usage spiked 3.8 percent, to 3,399 hours per person in 1999. By 2004, the figure is expected to reach 3,786 hours per person or 10 hours per day, according to Veronis Suhlers Communications Industry Forecast. American teens are the main source of the surging media usage, playing video games and listening to recorded music.
  8. Give my regards to broadband. Making TV interactive is a two-way street, and that street is now paved with high-speed cable and DSL. An estimated 10.6 million homes now subscribe to digital services, a number expected to grow to 42.1 million in 2006.
  9. The problem is not with your set-top box. Certainly, there have been setbacks in set-top boxes. Microsoft appears to be all thumbs in shifting its PC expertise to TV. But the OpenCable platform is coming and, until then, interactive TV set-tops from major players abound.
  10. Walled gardens. "Seen on TV" still confers status. When was the last time you heard someone say: "I saw you on my PC last night?" A higher barrier to entry means the products, people and services that come across your TV carry more clout than the ephemera of the Internet. In the interactive arena, "walled gardens" will keep the Net riffraff out, while permitting your prescreened guests to arrive in style.
  11. Numbers count. While people spend 1.2 billion hours per week in front of their PCs, they invest nearly three times that much time watching TV.
  12. Pause, rewind and slo-mo. The personal video recorder is here now, but imagine what it can do with interactive TV. You can pause the Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins game you are watching live and switch over to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. You wont miss a thing.
  13. Home shopping is here to stay. In just one day, the Home Shopping Network sold out of its supply of 14-karat tanzanite rings, valued at $1.6 million. While Net commerce is growing, experts say buying on TV is a more rewarding experience for most shoppers because it is a "warmer" medium than a PC.
  14. The new U. Online education is a growing phenomenon, but experience has shown that TV is the Cadillac of distance learning, despite its lack of interactivity. On the PC, you can interact, but the quality of streaming media, if it exists at all, is pathetic. Bring these two venues together in interactive TV, and you have a powerful new classroom experience.
  15. The La-Z-Boy way to pay bills. Who says you wont want to pay a bill during a commercial? With interactive TV, you can access your services from the comfort of your recliner. The dog wont even have to get off your lap.

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