Online Video Goes Back to the TV

    September 24, 2008
    Chris Crum

Jason Miller and I were having a conversation a week or two ago about how set-top boxes might become the norm in the future, with online video becoming so popular. Because of that popularity, it only makes sense that people would like to transfer their online video viewing experience to their living rooms.

Of course some are already hooking their computers up to their televisions, but this is not an idea that has really crossed into the mainstream (at least not yet). Set-top boxes might in fact prevent that anyway, because when they allow users to stream online video to their TVs, the reasons for hooking up computers to them decline.

Roku BoxRoku, the makers of the set-top box that Netflix partnered with a while back, has been saying for a while that they are looking to partner with other content providers. Roku CEO Anthony Wood reaffrimed this at Streaming Media West. Of course Netflix also announced a awhile back that they would be streaming content through Xboxes too. With such rumblings in the online video industry, it is hard not to envision a future in which set-top boxes like Roku’s join (or dare I say even replace?) cable boxes and DVD players in entertainment centers around the world.

Roku RemoteThe more deals that happen between boxes and content providers, the closer such a future is likely to be. Roku has not announced any specific deals, but says, "We’re opening up the platform to anyone who wants to put their video service on this box… We’re going to release the software developer kit, so anyone can publish any channel, and users can access web content on their TVs." How about that? They just won’t provide a timeframe.

Imagine being able to watch all of your favorite YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Joost, MySpace Video, Amazon, etc. content on a device on your TV while sitting on your couch, without having to hook up your computer. Something tells me that would appeal to consumers. Now we just need to get some better quality videos on YouTube. Oh, and a better selection of streamable content on Netflix.