OTT and linear TV: Not quite perfect together, but very interesting

First off, let me say that I've had some crummy jobs in my increasingly long life, but I don't think I've had one as bad as being a stage hand for Justin Bieber. That one, I think, I could live without.

By now, thanks to viral video, you've probably seen the Biebs toss his cookies on stage in Phoenix--not once, but multiple times. I saw it when for some reason my TV tuned inadvertently to one of those entertainment news shows. And then I saw it again when I advertently--and apparently that's a word--tuned to YouTube on my pay TV service.

My YouTube-on-TV excursion happened because my Android smartphone was behaving like a petulant child while I was trying to access second screen TV via my home Wi-Fi network. The signal would be there, then it would be gone--kind of like my golf swing.

Unlike my golf swing, though, I had a way to determine the source of the problem. I simply used my DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) box and wirelessly connected to that same home network to access YouTube on the Internet. And that's where I found two things out: The smartphone was not smart enough to hold a Wi-Fi signal that was clearly strong enough to feed a TV set-top, and the Biebster's heave was the top featured video.

I'll admit, I've never really used my YouTube TV connection other than the one-time narcissistic sojourn I took to see whether Jim Barthold is anywhere out there in Internet land. He is, incidentally, much to the chagrin of my wife. In the few times I've looked at YouTube on TV, I determined the picture is poor, the sound quality worse and the content--with the exception of that outstanding Jim Barthold clip--not worth a huge investment of time and effort.

On the other hand, the ability to tap into this source while sitting in my easy chair rather than leaning forward at my desk--or even peering at my as-bulky-as-my-smartphone Android tablet--is somewhat appealing. There just needs to be something to watch--other than that dramatic Jim Barthold video.

My trip to YouTube land grooved nicely with a couple stories floating around this week. First, my old employer the NPD Group cleverly determined that people would rather watch online video on a TV than on a tablet, smartphone or computer--if those devices could even get a Wi-Fi signal. And second, Envivio continued to pick up customers for its IP video technology, including Viaplay, which is now blending OTT with its traditional linear fare.

I'm guessing that if I put out the effort I could find something worthwhile to watch on YouTube or some of the other OTT distributors to whom I apparently have access either through DirecTV or my Panasonic (NYSE: PC) Blu-ray player and my TV. And I appreciate the effort that my service provider and Panasonic have expended to make that possible. But until there's something more than Justin Bieber--or even Jim Barthold--to watch, I think I'll stick to the linear channels. Unless, of course, my smartphone plays dumb again. -Jim