My Christmas Wish List – IPTV

With all the news about The FCC encouraging a la carte TV pricing, I’m wishing for IP TV again. As usual, the polarized opinions about this issue have one side saying this will save us money and the other saying it will cost us much more. Either way, this method of content delivery is completely antiquated.

I waste money on hardware and electricity to have a time shifting device constantly running. While I love my MythTV box, this solution is less than ideal. I have two capture cards to help mitigate scheduling conflicts so I get the content I desire. Additionally, I only subscribe to the channels that don’t require a separate cable box. Of course I could hook up a few cable boxes inline with my capture cards, but this is a pain and an eyesore in my small place. It’s not an issue of money; it’s an issue of complexity. The end result is that the cable company ends up with less of my money.

My ideal solution would be to have a limited number of “live” channels for the news or anything that is truly time sensitive. The rest of my programming would be downloaded via some interface (TV, web, both) in which I can select individual programs, entire seasons of programs, genres, programs about specific topics, programs with specific actors, etc. In essence, it would be no different than MythTV or Tivo from an end user’s perspective except there would be no video capturing at the user’s location. The distribution companies could have a few pricing plans including pay per episode and ad supported.

I suppose the larger question is why do companies cling to antiquated business models? Does this actually work towards the long term bottom line? Do companies who historically embrace new technology have a dimmer financial outlook? Instead of suing people who file share shows, why not provide a legal (and profitable) alternative to consumers?