Our Non-TV TV Viewing Options - Macleans.ca

Our Non-TV TV Viewing Options


Diane Wild of TV, Eh? has a great post about her decision to switch from watching TV via regular channels (literally) to online streaming. She has a look at what options are available in Canada, where the amount of content we can get online is significantly less than in the U.S. (due to Hulu and other sites being blocked, and Netflix offering less than it does in the States). She finds that although there is less selection, “I’m (legally) watching as much as I ever do.” She then looks at the alternate-content availability and delivery for four major Canadian channels: CTV, CBC, CityTV and Global, and lets us know some of the shows that are available and how conveniently they are available.

This is part of the future of TV content to some extent; whether it completely supplants regular TV depends on a lot of factors that I can’t predict (not just caps), but a lot of people are going to be making the choice Diane made. So the convenience of delivery and breadth of selection isn’t just going to be a thing that TV networks can leave to the side.

For now, most people are still in the habit of watching “live,” and networks are dependent on various things to keep a lot of us in that habit: one of the reasons networks have embraced Twitter is because, as Diane notes, Twitter leads to real-time discussions of episodes and creates pressure to be watching a show as it’s broadcast. But social media trends have a habit of not lasting very long, and whatever comes along after Twitter loses popularity could be a less real-time, more long-term type of thing. Even Twitter is hamstrung by the difference in time zones, where people from one region can’t discuss a big plot twist with their friends from another region. And so the next social media fad, whatever it is, could be less friendly to real-time television viewing, and more friendly to at-our-convenience viewing. Meaning the arguments for watching TV shows when they first air may not have much weight five years from now.

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Our Non-TV TV Viewing Options

  1. This is part of the future of TV content to some extent; whether it completely supplants regular TV depends on a lot of factors that I can’t predict

    To my mind, the only question is WHEN this type of viewing supplants regular T.V. not “if”.  Ten years from now, the only difference between one’s “phone”, one’s “television”, one’s “tablet”, one’s “laptop” and one’s “computer” (i.e. desktop) will be screen size and whether or not the keyboard is attached.  People may still schedule their days to watch certain programs the moment they’re available, but if the artificial distinction between the “internet” data coming from the coaxial cable in my house and the “television” data coming in to my house through the very same cable (at the same time) still exists a decade from now, I’ll be disappointed. Only slightly less disappointed than I will be if the wireless companies are still trying to make us buy-in to an artificially created distinction between “voice” and “data” in 2021.

    • Probably true. People have been predicting this as the future of televised entertainment since the ’50s at least – not necessarily, though sometimes, the computerized aspect of it, but the idea that we would be able to order the programs we want and consume them at our leisure, the way we do with books. And of course we are moving closer to the vision of a future where there are screens everywhere (not in a dystopian way, hopefully). Television may be becoming what books have been, an anywhere, anytime type of entertainment.

      • There are already experimenting with 4K (35mm film res) from production camera thru fibre network to TV screen in Japan – Insane!

        Also, for sports – virtual cameras – meaning there are physical cameras around the field, then you can place virtual cameras wherever you want and it will use data from the physical cameras to build the view of your virtual camera.

  2. I watch the vast majority of my TV via iTunes.  

  3. There is already IPTV

  4. Oh I am old fashion, I like the TV, sitting in the couch, my scheduled shows (which aren’t many) but sometimes I watch online if I am traveling or something, and I do not like it, much rather have the TV.

  5. At this point, the software running both Global’s and CTV’s streaming sites leaves a lot to be desired.  Shows are typically broken up into 4 (or more) chunks, and you must view an ad before the stream for each chunk of the show starts (which is fine, the revenue has to come from somewhere).  The problem is that the flash window often crashes during the transition from ad to content, which requires a reset of your browser window and a re-viewing of the advertisement you just sat through.  A second problem is a lack of advertisement variety…often the same ad will come through in every single spot available, which is just as annoying on the internet as it is on regular TV.

    I suspect that people try the online sites for CTV and Global once or twice, give up on them after running into these problems, and go back to technologically superior illegal streaming (or Netflix/Apple TV, if they have the desired content).

  6. I agree, IMHO, there is already enough free online TV content both in quantity and variety (over 800 TV shows according to http://www.streaming-guide.com) available to fill any normal casual watchers needs… 

  7. I don’t understand why pvr have not become more popular than they are. I have one and it seems to me that it offers best of both worlds – on-demand viewing and fast forward ads. 

  8. This may be off topic, but with Maclean’s, Rogers, and 680AM in Toronto getting together to propose an all-news station, it will be necessary for media organizations venture into multi-media. That means that successful news organizations won’t just stick with one medium.  Consumers of the media will receive, then transmit sources of infomation on one or two media platforms such as an iPod, Blackberry, or TV connected to another media-pad.