OV is irresistible to viewers and therefore to the industry as well. There is nothing we can do to stop it or avoid its effects. Yet if it’s so powerful, why has it taken so long to arrive? That’s simple: The technology pillars on which OV rests have only just been firmly established, including:
· IP video delivery. Internet Protocol (IP) makes it possible for video from anywhere to be consumed anywhere else on the network. Any device that can speak IP, can now speak video. As long as the network is fast enough. Luckily, it is — 52% of US homes had a high-speed connection at the start of 2008. Don’t even get me started on how fast broadband connections are in Korea and Japan! (That sound is me wishing I had 50 Mbps.)
· Mega storage. Remember how cool you thought you were with your 100 MB Zip drive? At CES in January of this year, SanDisk demoed a 12 GB microSD card; it was roughly the size of a fingernail yet capable of storing — and transferring — more than two DVDs worth of information. And that’s just flash memory. Inside the computer, half-terabyte hard drives from Seagate and Western Digital regularly sell for less than $100. Wow, I remember when I hand upgraded my Atari 400 to a whopping 64K of memory. Times, changing, ’nuff said.
· Cheap display screens. Consumers can pick up a 42-inch LG LCD TV at BestBuy.com for less than $1,000, about $500 less than what the same TV cost a year ago. But it’s not just TVs that are cheaper. Full-color, high-resolution screens have popped up in the past year on personal media players like the iPod nano and the Zune, while more phones are supporting full-motion video, from the lowest-end Samsung to the new high-end BlackBerry Bold. More video-capable devices are appearing each day, like the Whirlpool centralpark refrigerator or GPS units from Garmin and TomTom that display slideshows of family photos while on the road. (I can’t say that I’ve used my GPS for this feature, yet, but you get my point – lots of new devices will be video-capable soon!)