Saturday, December 24, 2011

I’ve seen the future

It isn’t all that often that I am really blown away with changes in technology. Sure, they are cool, interesting and in some cases astounding but something that really blows me away is rare. I can report that I have recently had one of those experiences with my Xbox.


Microsoft has just updated the interface on the Xbox to be more Metro like (a la Windows 8) but that isn’t the big change. The big change in my mind is the ability to allow third party apps to be downloaded and installed to the console. It goes to show you how powerful apps concept is in our technology world these days as pioneered by Apple. But even that is not what I found earth shattering. My epiphany came when I installed the ABC iView, SBS on Demand and YouTube apps.


The ABC iView and SBS on Demand apps allow you to watch TV from two popular channel here in Australia. This is fantastic but still does have some limited content in what is available. However, it is when I started to look at the YouTube app that my brain exploded.


With the YouTube app on my Xbox I can watch just about every YouTube clip right on my TV set! I started with watching some of the clips that I have saved as favourites on my channel. I then moved into looking at what YouTube recommended and then finally trawled through some popular picks including shorts for upcoming movies. I could have stayed up all night watching YouTube (which contrary to popular belief does have some very interesting and engaging content).


Think about this for a moment. ALL of the content on YouTube is now available on your TV. You can use the YouTube app to tee up what you want to watch during the day and then come home a play it. You can view all the latest movie trailers on your TV WHENEVER you want. Why would you ever go back to watching normal network TV? Why would you pay for cable TV? The Xbox makes this available ONTOP of all the other great things the Xbox does.


Now, also throw into the mix the ability to control and access your YouTube preferences from your mobile device (say an iPad). You can then potentially stream onto your TV or this device as well as you move about. YouTube becomes your personal TV station where you control the content. The possibilities are endless. The possibilities are also endless for Microsoft as it positions one of its devices into the living room of consumers.


The one thing that I waiting for is for my DVD services (Quickflix) to become available on the Xbox (HURRY UP). That will give me access to a huge range of movies and TV shows on demand. However, with iView, SBS on Demand and especially YouTube now available for the Xbox I think I’ll be busy enough until Quickflix becomes available.


It’s still early days for this but I can see what a potential game changer this is for traditional media businesses. With YouTube you can watch the content just about anywhere you have an internet connection. The integration of the service across devices like the iPad and iPhone but down to consumer devices like TVs is going to open up even more people to viewing the wonders of YouTube. Like I said, if you sit down and think of the possibilities here your head will explode!