Viewfinder: The Magic TV Window: Anything, Anytime

Someday, television will be so advanced we won’t recognize it anymore. For this to occur, all major advances will have taken place. Let’s take a closer look at what this might mean.

First, our content choices would be entirely comprehensive. The television industry, at its birth, started out with just three networks. In the decades that followed, the cable TV industry blossomed and helped create dozens of additional networks. Soon thereafter, networks embraced direct satellite and even more networks helped fill the delivery capacity that both cable and satellite provided.

Then came the Internet, which originally offered poor-quality TV program delivery via streaming. In recent months, we’ve seen the MPEG-4 standard file type emerge. We can stream MPEG-4 files or download them and play them back later. Someday soon, nearly all of us will have broadband connections in our homes and businesses.

Bandwidths will undoubtedly become wide enough to view or download more information than one person could ever view. At that point, greater bandwidth capacities will become irrelevant. Once the ability to obtain or deliver TV shows and movies becomes extensive, the next development will be the inclusion of every TV show ever recorded into an Internet search engine. Television as we know it will be transformed. Along the way, I am sure that we’ll witness both HDTV and 3D TV with something beyond surround sound.

On the video production side of the TV equation, we’ll see nearly automatic new program creation. This is not to suggest that your videography talents won’t be needed or appreciated, but the process will become much simpler. At the dawn of the moving image revolution, film was the medium. It was costly, bulky and had low resolution (to name a just a few of its shortcomings). When videotape came along, it was not only inexpensive, but random access made editing much easier. Remember how difficult capturing video to your computer was five years ago? Thomas Edison would consider today’s video editing to be nearly automatic, but there is so much more yet to be developed.

When shooting in the future, producers could use dozens of cameras and automatically log each scene. Perhaps a computer will log the video producer’s comments, or, better yet, the computer could monitor the video producer’s satisfaction and assume which shots are best based upon that satisfaction. The process of editing will become highly automated, perhaps even triggered by voice commands or the same satisfaction sensors that I mentioned above. In the end, perhaps during our lifetime, everything that anyone ever thought belonged on TV will become available.

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