Is On-Demand Coming? Soon?

Tales of Windows Media Center Project Management : Is On-Demand Coming? Soon? More then I thought? David Fleischman asks the question “is On-Demand Coming? Soon?” This of course is the utopian dream — from a television perspective:

“Imagine that you no longer get TV shows from the networks. Imagine you no longer get football games from ESPN. What if you got sports, in high quality, directly from the leagues? For a subscription fee? And what if those fees would vary. You could get a choice of a specific team, the whole league, a certain game. Maybe the fees go down if your team isn’t doing so well. Heck you could get Australian Rules football in America and get American Football in Germany. Your choice.

But take it farther out. What if you could subscribe to Lost for the year? Or all of the shows from ABC? Or beyond that what if you could subscribe to Lost and all other shows by the Lost creators?

I mean can you have simple interface where you can get any show ever made? Ever game every played? Can you watch the 1968 Olympics whenever you want? Could you skip to certain scenes? How cool would that be? “

The problem is though that as much as I share David’s passion for this dream, it runs contrary to the way “God” intended for us to watch TV, which is live, according to Alan Wurtzel, head of reserach over at NBC. More accurately, it runs smack in the face of the advertising and DVD sales based revenue models that Hollywood is addicted to like… well I guess I just said that, smack.

I do think we will see David’s vision eventually, just not in the next 10 years unfortunately. I wrote an article comparing the television industry to the music industry recenlty that sheds more light on why it will be so difficult for us to realize David’s vision.

It really is great though to see people from Microsoft staying up late at night and thinking about things like this. This is EXACTLY where I want to go today.

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  1. Well I’m doing a low tech version of this now. I get movies on a little silver disk in the mail from Netflix. I get football matches in which my team always wins on a little silver disk in the mail from the Australian Football League. I listen to Australian radio over the internet. And just occassionally I watch something from one on the networks, but on my TiVo so never live!

  2. Jeff says:

    That’s a beautiful vision. I was just thinking that HD OTA content on my MCE box works so well that I can almost dump my DirecTV service. If it weren’t for a few premium channels that have programming that I like, I’d do so in a heartbeat. Would I pay some nominal fee either for individual episodes, a series subscription, or a subscription to all of a content provider’s programming? Heck yes! I’ve recently been playing with Akimbo’s content download service for MCE (try that 30-day free trial!) and it’s a step in the right direction. Not quite on-demand (you have to wait for programs to complete downloading) and the pricing model leaves me wondering if I’ll continue beyond the free trial, but it’s enough to see the potential.