iPod: TV’s Odyssey: The Next Trend May Be Very PC

Oct 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The staid old personal computer may be the next iPod.

After Apple’s launch of the video iPod last year, television executives began to ask which gadget was next in line.

The PC’s connection to the Web gives it potential to take up the mantle worn by the iPod.

The Internet’s ability to store, organize and deliver information- in this case TV shows-makes it a threat. Companies including TiVo, Intel, Apple and Microsoft already are introducing technology that let the PC and television talk, giving the Web a place on the 40-inch flat-screen hanging on the living room wall.

“There is no new `killer app’ on the horizon,” said Kaan Yigit, an analyst with Solutions Research Group. “That said, the `new broadband’ is making entertainment accessible on the Web on a mass scale.”

That shift may prove less disruptive than some think, with expanded opportunities for the professionals who have worked for years on producing slick, satisfying shows.

“Content owners will also do well if they continue to explore ways in which to monetize and distribute content throughout the Internet,” said Jennifer Feikin, director of Google Video.

Also, the Web expands audiences for TV shows, said Michael Dowling, CEO of new media research firm Interpret.

A swarm of handheld devices are buzzing around the market dominated by the iPod, including mobile phones and Microsoft’s Zune portable media player, slated for a fall rollout.

The issue for Microsoft and other companies will be to offer enough compelling content in an intuitive, easy-to-use interface to draw people away from the ease of Apple Computer’s iTunes, Mr. Dowling said.

Networks are also betting on video fare for mobile phones, but consumer interest in watching TV on cellphones so far is low. Mobile video accounts for less than 1 percent of traffic to the big four cellular carriers’ Web sites, according to market research firm Compete.