The next decade will see the continuing transformation of television, with video becoming more personal and democratic as new networks subvert and transcend the broadcast model. Dr William Cooper of the convergent communications consultancy informitv offers 20 practical predictions for the next 10 years.
1. Television will be less dominant. Free to air television networks will become a secondary medium, like radio, increasingly reliant upon relaying live events that can attract a national audience, as other modes of digital distribution displace the broadcast provision of pre-recorded programming.
2. Fewer television channels will survive. Mass media ownership will continue to consolidate and the number of broadcast television channels will decline as the interruptive advertising model will fail to support them all, but the range of brands using video communications for marketing will increase exponentially.
3. Global communities will dominate media. Global social networking applications will continue to proliferate into the video realm, providing communal interaction and real-time ratings and recommendations, creating shared experiences around asynchronous viewing across geographic boundaries.
4. Audiovisual communication will become personal. Audio and video will be used as routinely for personal communication as text or images, requiring audiovisual production to become part of the school curriculum and a standard skill in the workplace.
5. Most viewing will be on personal screens. Tablets and touch screens will proliferate and more audio and video will be consumed on personal devices than on the traditional shared living room display, which will become more multifunctional and less defined by the television viewing experience.
6. Mobile video will be delivered over data networks. Most mobile television and video services will be delivered over data networks rather than using extensions of current digital broadcasting standards.
7. Displays will be network connected. Hybrid broadcast and broadband devices and displays will become mainstream and most video screens will have some form of data connection, while the resolution of consumer electronics products will typically exceed that of conventional broadcast networks.
8. Displays will become resolution independent. Powerful media processors will provide real-time transcoding between different formats and resolutions on the fly, decoupling displays from specific broadcast standards.
9. High definition will be standard. High definition will become the new standard and progressive scanning will eventually replace interlaced display and its attendant artifacts, while frame rates will double, offering smoother motion.
10. Fidelity of reproduction will improve. Ultra high definition formats will be commercially available and will be routinely used for acquisition and post production, providing print resolution reproduction, while increased bit depths will offer improved dynamic range and colour representation, resulting in much richer images.
11. 3D will be a limited success. Stereoscopic 3D will be popular for movies and major live events but will remain a niche product while it requires viewers to wear special glasses, although stereo eyewear will become increasingly fashionable and will allow immersive gaming and photorealistic virtual reality and role-playing experiences.
12. Network distribution will become more efficient. Multicast distribution will allow live programming to be delivered cost-effectively to millions of users simultaneously over fixed and wireless data networks on a global basis.
13. Fibre-optic networks will reach the home. Cable television operators will migrate to internet protocols and extend their fibre-optic networks to the premises, forcing other telecommunications companies to compete, offering access to a virtually unlimited range of audiovisual media, delivered in real-time or faster, without delays or interruptions.
14. Broadband will become a utility. Broadband data access will become an essential utility, like water, gas and electricity, providing connections of 1Gbps or more in urban areas, charged by terabytes transferred, at peak and off peak rates, with no further restrictions on usage.
15. Home networks will become ubiquitous. Wired and wireless data networks will replace dedicated wiring within the home for audio visual distribution, communication and automation, while universal low voltage connections will reduce the need for multiple power adapters.
16. Massive data storage will be cheap as chips. Solid state devices will largely replace spinning disks and massive local storage will provide instant access to thousands of hours of audiovisual information and entertainment, allowing an entire collection of movies and videos to be stored on a portable device.
17. Physical media distribution will decline. Streams and downloads will displace but not entirely replace the distribution of physical discs for audio and video, while licensed media will be ubiquitously accessible from network storage in the cloud.
18. Global releases will reduce piracy. Major movies and premium programmes will be distributed simultaneously worldwide to reduce piracy and regionally localised global events will be funded by sponsorship and subscription.
19. Copyright protection will be invisible. Digital rights management restrictions will be transparent to legitimate users who will be able to access media freely on any device within the terms of their licence, while forensic fingerprinting and legal measures will be used to combat unauthorised distribution.
20. People will pay to avoid adverts. While increasingly sophisticated targeting of commercial messages will make them more relevant and more acceptable, people will pay a premium for subscription services that are uninterrupted by intrusive adverts.
Offering an informed view of the future of television and video, informitv provides independent advice and consultancy services to media and communications companies, based on extensive experience in the field and a deep understanding of technology trends and consumer adoption.