In case you’ve been living in a technology repelling bubble for the past few years, IP based TV is here to stay. From its roots in the viral online video offerings of YouTube to the concurrent internet broadcast of network TV stations and Hulu, online and on-demand Internet video entertainment has expanded like a sail blown by the winds of ever increasing broadband coverage and speeds.
But despite the growing amount of online content, the significant hurdle to IP based TV lies in the last few feet of the broadcast pipeline. Most people still want to watch TV on a television, not their computer. While digital media players capable of decoding and playing PC based media on TV’s, such as those by Tvix and Western Digital, have been around for years, they typically only play content stored locally on the device by the user. It seems only obvious that a device with the functionality of a digital media player and internet connectivity of a PC be developed to complete the chain and bring the wide swath of internet based video content via a simple and intuitive user interface to TV watchers worldwide.
While some digital media players exist offering access to specific online video content, a unified user interface capable of accessing the vast amount of content from lesser providers doesn’t seem to exist. Roku offers a device to stream Netflix movies and now, via Swarmcast, live sports streaming. This is significant because of the wide following sports events receive and will serve as a catalyst for future widespread acceptance. Yet IPTV still needs its killer app to truly gain widespread acceptance. I personally can’t wait until it arrives.