Its just a matter of time that the capacity of the internet both wireless and landline based will be able to cope with the demands of quality, live streaming TV channels. And I don’t mean the mobile phone type of video usually associated with internet based television. Already, throughout the internet, there are tens of thousands of television channels able to be viewed, not to mention millions of videos and shows able to be downloaded both legally and illegally.
But, for most computer users, downloaded or live streaming content can only be watched on their computer. So far there is not a great deal of products available to have your TV as part of the computer, and use the computer as the source of your entertainment. Apple has a product which gives connectivity between the computer and the TV, but they don’t seem to be readily available yet (in Australia) and there is little quality content in any case.
The lower quality videos with slow frame rates, fewer lines per screen are fine for the computer screen, but when you put them onto your larger lounge room TV, you quickly see the lack of quality. However, this is improving as the internet world wide gains more capacity and speed allowing near broadcast videos to be seen in real time.
In the past few years especially, we have seen the proliferation of broadband internet plans both mobile and land line based at very affordable prices. While Australia is behind Europe and other parts of the world in this regard, it is easy to pick up a 5Gig per month mobile internet plan at say $40 per month. And providers like TPG offer 50Gigs! Thats about 75 DVD quality movies that could be downloaded each month – which by extrapolation, I would assume enough bandwidth to stream about 150 hours of broadcast quality standard definition TV per month.
As internet capacity increases, the monthly download size will increase and the possibility of broadcast quality TV being sent through the internet will become reality. In my opinion, I see this as the future of TV, and in the extreme long term, the way TV will be delivered to many households. Once the infrastructure is in place for the internet to handle this sort of data, it will actually be cheaper and more environmentally responsible for television broadcasters to start broadcasting TV direct to the internet as the need for transmitters chewing up hundreds of thousands of watts of power will be not needed (well at least in urban areas where population density ensures the viability of infrastructure, and in regional areas or places where the land line based internet does not reach, mobile internet technology takes over providing a similar service).
Just around the corner are 1 and 2TB hard discs, SD cards holding up to 2TB (2000 gigs) of data and USB3 – which allows for a much faster transfer rate of about 10 times what USB2 offers. This is more than enough memory to hold millions of pictures, and thousands of hours of video. I imagine, that in the next few years, as people make use of large memory storage devices, the next logical step is to want all of your videos stored in HD format – which of course will take alot more memory to store – at least 4 times standard definition).
And if the internet keeps up, we’ll be sending HD quality videos through the internet. Both fixed and mobile. It will become common place. The next step after that, is UHD – Ultra high definition where you have 2160 x 3840 pixels instead of 1080 x 1920 – again more memory needed and bandwidth to transmit. Of course, you’re not going to notice the difference between HD and UHD unless you have a very large TV!
So while Australian TV still struggles to come to terms with multi channeling, HD content and being relevant in todays’ society, their days will be numbered unless they start adapting and getting involved in the internet. I remember hearing last year that ABC USA was now streaming on the internet. Unless you cheat, you can only receive it in the US, but still – this is where the future is. Broadcasting on the internet will not only reach more viewers but will bring the networks back to keeping up with technology. As it is, the digital standard we are using in Australia is 15 years out of date, and will have to be upgraded within the next few years – the FreeView brand will already be compatible with this new standard as part of being future proof.
The way TV is going in Australia, the internet will take over as it is developing at 10 times the rate of domestic entertainment technology. Computers and internet are taking over everywhere, and the loungeroom TV is the next step. I just hope there are some inexpensive products to provide the connectivity between the two.
In 50 years time, provided the internet is not abused or polluted by uncontrollable spam or viruses, the internet will be part of everything we use ranging from radio, phone calls, all mobile communications, TV and pretty well any kind of communication you can think of. Traditional radio transmissions will be phased out and the bandwidth they free up in the electromagnetic spectrum will be freed up for the internet to use for wireless internet.
(Above commetary is my own opinions and thoughts based on material I have read or seen from various sources and references to specific details such as capacity, memory or any other detail is of the top of my head and for the sake of discussion only as opposed to presenting any specific facts).