Television is changing way … too … slowly … for at least one noted tech writer. In a column today on Recode, Walt Mossberg, executive editor of The Verge and editor at large for Recode, expresses frustration at the pace of innovation.
“A huge number of households in the U.S. — over 90 million — are still stubbornly sticking to buying big bundles of mostly unwatched networks, with shows primarily presented in linear fashion and interrupted by interstitial ads, even if they also use the newer devices and services,” Mossberg writes. “Their numbers are declining, but not yet collapsing. For these viewers, it might as well be 20 years ago.”
Mossberg notes that “the upending of traditional TV” was a hot topic at the recent Code Media conference in Dana Point, Calif. “I came away from the event convinced that more change is coming, but impatient that a fundamental reworking of TV looks like a slow process.”
The column goes on to offer a rundown of just what’s holding up the process, offering observations from Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue and tech analyst Ben Thompson, along with a look at Caavo, which Mossberg describes as “a cool new universal set-top box.”
Thompson, Mossberg notes, foresees “a future where Amazon and Netflix could be ‘giants’ in most genres of TV, and cable one day may consist mainly of live sports at a stiff price.”
Mossberg cites Caavo, co-created by Blake Krekorian, who also co-created Slingbox, as “a workaround to the systemic problems of reinventing TV. It physically links together everything plugged into your TV — cable boxes, streaming boxes, game consoles — and presents all their contents in one interface with both visual and voice control, down to the individual show level.”
But Mossberg adds: “It says a lot about the state of TV that the most promising near-term path to the solution is a clever hack that sits on top of everything else, not a tightly integrated new product.”
We encourage readers to click on the link to Recode near the top of this story to read Mossberg’s full analysis.