Apps Are the New Channels

As I have mentioned before, most of the Movies and TV programmes we watch at home are in one way or another, obtained over the internet. This is the new frontier of living room entertainment and while life on the cutting edge of technology can have it's ups and downs, using the right products and services can make all the difference, especially for the less tech-savvy family members.

Here are 2 benchmarks that I use:

  1. if my seven year old daughter can't get the show she wants to watch playing on the TV without my help, it's too hard.
  2. If we aren't using a product or service regularly, as cool as it seems, it's also too hard.

With that in mind, here is how cartoons are watched in my house:

Having three kids, there seems to be an endless stream of cartoons flowing over WI-Fi to at least one TV in the house. Most of these cartoons are watched via the Netflix App on an Apple TV, but as awesome as the service is, it doesn't have everything they want and isn't up-to-the-minute with what's broadcast on TV. For that we have ABC's iView App.

So how does it work?

Like most kids, my kids have iPods. With iView installed, they can find the programs they want to watch on their iPod and play them instantly on the TV over AirPlay. This is a far better option than trying to capture all of these 5 or 10 minute shows (with their constantly changing schedules) on our PVR  and I have found that shows are generally available within half an hour of the broadcast finishing. Each kid can mark his or her own favourite shows and be notified of new episodes when they are available, they can then be watched directly on their iPod or wirelessly streamed to any TV in the house. It's so simple to do that everyone in the house uses it.

If only the other stations had the same level of service, we could be living in a not-too-distant future where we would simply switch Apps like we used to change channels. Frankly, in a world of iTunes and Netflix (not to mention "free" methods),  I don't see any other way that these entertainment dinosaurs will survive the transition.