2009…The year of total digital integration?

Hmmmm not possible…such a convergence is not! Is what a Yoda type digital marketer would have written 4-5 years ago. Only two years ago do I remember reading with interest (and seeing the ‘tellyvision’ ads) from Virgin advertising their new Lobster 700 TV phone. It was the first handset in the UK to offer such a feature without users having to incur data costs.”(Pocket Lint).

Gosh, I thought, wouldn’t that be amazing? I can watch TV where ever I want, when ever I want on my mobile phone! It didn’t catch on though or take off and the likely, most contributory factor to this failure may be sited (well i’m siting it!) as… on demand internet TV. That and the fact that it weighed 140 grams and was named after a crustacian.

Now here we are 2009, the year of integration. All of the major television providers in the UK provide some form of ‘watch again’ or ‘on demand’ television service. BBC (i player), ITV (ITV player), Channel 4 (4OD) and Sky (Sky Player – subscibers only). I can sit here in my lunch break and watch Eastenders that I missed last night…should I wish to. If I have a 3G mobile such as an Apple i-Phone I can watch these digitally streamed programmes at my leisure. Obviously I can’t watch live TV only repeats but does this matter (although ITV does stream almost live TV)? Not to me it doesn’t. If I want to watch my favourite programme it doesn’t matter where on when I watch it, just so long as I can, in fact, watch it.

So where are we headed?

The final destination is centred around a single entertainment centre can can allow the user to view digital television, play music or even order their shopping. Myspace (an internet company) have just signalled their intention to launch ‘Widget TV‘. This will allow viewers to interact with their Myspce accounts through their television. One suspects that had they held back a year or so then the majority of televisions would be able to browse the internet anyway, thus doing away with the need for a seperate TV channel.

The second series/programme of Rude Tube was shown recently on Channel 4. This again flips it around and has the internet providing the content for a mainstream, terrestrial TV show. and just the other day I was walking around Tescos only to come across a TV with an integrated (there’s that word again!) ipod dock for playing music/tv shows/films straight from you ipod.

Next they’ll be telling me I can make a phone call on a portable telephone?! Crazy.
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