How cable companies are working to simplify a complex television picture
By Stewart Schley
Media & Technology Writer
A welcome revolution is starting to happen right before our eyes.
Actually, right in our living rooms.
It’s a convergence of new digital television applications with easy, convenient ways to manage them.
Why is that revolutionary?
Because until now, enjoying the best of digital TV required more technical know-how and homemade tinkering than most of us ever wanted to apply. If you’ve ever stared down the installation instructions for a box that rigs your TV set up to your Wi-Fi router, or tried to get your smartphone to send video signals to the big-screen TV when your friends come over to watch, you know what this is all about.
To help get America out of techno-purgatory, some of the country’s leading connected-life companies are starting to introduce something novel into the modern world of digital video: simplicity.
The idea from local cable companies is to take some of the best services of the digital TV age – like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and many more – and make them just as accessible and manageable as the familiar channels on your TV menu. With the same in-home equipment, the same remote controls and even the same voice-search capability we know and love.
We’ll pause here for sighs of relief.
So now, instead of dashing from the TV set in the living room to the computer in your home office to the smartphone in your hand, you get everything from a familiar, central place. Ask for a TV show or an actor using your voice remote and it will pull up everything that’s out there, from every possible source – not just traditional TV channels but new digital platforms and video services that ride over the Internet. It all comes together in a single, easy-to-manage solution. They call it a digital “hub.”
To which we say: “Hubba-Hubba.”
Because finally, somebody is figuring it out: We’re busy people who sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice and confusion in television today. Bringing everything together in a single “hub” is smart. It meets the important “simple-plus-intuitive” standard in a big way.
When you get a minute, ask your cable company about new innovations that are coming to town. And about new ways to watch TV from everywhere you love to watch. Because TV wasn’t supposed to be complicated. And as this revolution takes hold, it’s not.
Just for the hub of it
Coming to a TV near you are new, do-it-all services from cable companies
that combine traditional TV channels and programs with great stuff from the likes of Netflix, YouTube and more. Here’s how it all works:
Stewart Schley writes about the business of media (and, when the mood strikes him, other subjects) from Denver, Colo. Find him at stewartschley.com.
- A central receiver collects signals from lots of different services, including familiar TV channels, on-demand programs and digital apps like Netflix.
- You control your selections using a single remote (voice commands are welcome).
- The system hunts down whatever you’re looking for, searching instantaneously across menus and listings from multiple sources.
- You no longer need separate boxes, dongles, add-on devices and remotes to capture programs from different video sources. Hurrah.