Television 2.0 – What is it, is it already here and what does that mean?

I doubt that anyone reading this doesn’t believe that television, every aspect of it from in-studio production to distribution is either on it’s last legs or going through a major transition but humor me while I make the case and describe what I think is to come.

Among several interrelated activities, I teach a class at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) called Producing Participatory Media. This is only the second time I have taught the class and perhaps as a result of our ever accelerating rate of change the class is completely different than it was the first time around.

I started out the first class this semester asking the students what was the last piece of media they consumed and how they consumed it. By media, I meant audio or video.

I had a some broad categories on the white board that I intended to mark up with numbers. I don’t recall the exact categories but they were along the lines of:
Broadcast (television/radio)
Streaming (live or simulated live internet delivered content)
Download (downloaded from the internet)

As soon as the first person said what they watched or listened to, I realized my categories were terribly outmoded. In fact, I was really the only one in the room of approximately 30 people (lots of people on the wait list) that had watched broadcast television recently (I watched NY1 in the morning). Every one else, had used completely non-traditional forms of media distribution and consumption.

(It should be noted that ITP is a 2 year Master’s program that draws people from every walk of life but completely immerses them in technology and the culture around technology so the data is certainly skewed.)

As expected (to anyone paying attention) a couple of students had used P2P file sharing software like Limewire or Kazaa and either listened to the music they downloaded on their computer or on a portable MP3 player like the iPod. I put these into the category of download. Ok, fine, it was expected.

The first surprise came when one student, a Japanese student said that he watched Japanese television that was streamed from his home on his Sony PSP (Play Station Portable). Wow..! I didn’t know where to put that. Of course, the technology employed was streaming but it is certainly not what I meant when putting that category on the board.

My thoughts when putting that category up was intended to hit internet radio and television but in the same mode as traditional television and radio (one to many). His mode was completely different, one to one and somewhat interactive (he could change the channels on his home television and see the result on his device).

Of course, I had seen this before, specifically on mobile phones running Pocket PC in combination with a Windows Media Center running at home. I also knew that Sony has a product that allows people to stream their media on to their PSP in the home (I didn’t know that it was easy to use outside the home).

This wasn’t mind blowing in and of itself,

(this is an incomplete post from 2006, just wanted to get it out there as a record of what I started noticing then)

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