No channels, the viewer is the remote, and you - literally - can stop and smell the roses: TV 2030

Jim O'Neil

OTTCon, San Jose, Calif.-- Think the U.S. television viewer is overwhelmed by content choices now? How about this number: Intel says that by 2015 there will be 500 billion hours of video accessible over the top.

"That's a lot of video to wade through," Scott Puopolo, vice president of Cisco's Global Service Provider Practice, Internet Business Solutions Group, said during his keynote address at OTTCon Tuesday. It's also creating a conundrum for pay-TV operators, broadcasters and content owners because, "as OTT viewing becomes more prevalent, there's also going to be more fragmentation," he said. And that is going to make it more difficult to reach the critical mass to drive the traditional advertising model that currently drives the industry.

But that change is just one of 10 he and his compatriots at IBSG teased out of a survey of 50 TV experts asked for their predictions of the television industry 20 years from now.

Here's the list from IBSG:

1. TV channels go away as viewers define their own customized, on-demand streams. They'll be defined by what they watch, what their friends watch and even where they are, with viewing recommendations changing if, for example, they're away on a business trip. Sales of OTT devices like Roku and Apple are set to explode as consumers increasingly watch programing on their own terms, when and where they want it. And, over time, they'll demand a single box to do it all. One hundred percent of the TV experts agreed with this prediction.

2. Remote controls become extinct as speech, then gestures become the input devices of the future. Smartphones and mobile devices like the iPad also play a role, as pay-TV providers, like Comcast and Verizon (which already have iPad apps that work as navigation devices) adopt the new technology. In addition to Microsoft and Sony, third-party gesture controllers already are in development. Some 94 percent of the experts agreed that by 2030 we should "expect a user experience beyond the one envisioned in the movie Minority Report," where the TV can recognize your mood and respond accordingly with appropriate content."

3. One screen over all. One hundred percent of the experts agreed that traditional TV screens would change radically. They might be multi-function screens that hang on your wall as a mirror or even a replica of a favorite painting when not in use. Viewers could even use an entire wall as a screen, changing its size with gestures. It might be expandable, flexible or might even be worn. Full-sized holograms? A bandwidth intensive nightmare, but one which 17 percent of the experts believed could be commonplace by 2030.

4. Increasingly, advertisers are beginning to believe their ad spending isn't effective. That could change as advertising became more contextual, highly interactive, and laser-targeted to each viewer. More than four-out-of-five of the experts believed a consumer's past buying and viewing habits could be mined for details that would allow selections from an ad inventory customized for each viewer.

5. Forget the lean back experience, viewers want to get involved. The days of fans simply watching a show are numbered, according to experts who see them getting actively involved in, say, solving a crime drama. Social networking, of course, plays a big role in the transformation. Studios have already invested in "transmedia"--storytelling across multiple forms of media--to create more buzz and loyalty so their content doesn't get lost. Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents agreed with this prediction.

6. Social networking also will allow viewers to share the viewing experience with remote friends and family, possibly through the use of telepresence devices. Eighty percent of survey respondents agreed.

7. Technology that will let you smell or taste a food that's being prepared on a cooking show, or even feel a breath of wind or the vibration of a moving car will be possible without special glasses, or other devices. And, they may watch a show from different camera angles or see a story develop through a different character's eyes. Ninety percent of the experts agreed.

8. Wherever you go, you'll be able to seamlessly watch your favorite show, whether its from room-to-room or even when you leave your house. Forget about tethering, networks and limitations of viewing, wherever you go, your TV will be available. Not only did 93 percent of the experts agree, 43 percent felt the prediction was too conservative.

9. User generated content will flourish and become higher quality as the cost to create it continues to drop. Films like Paranormal Activity and Slumdog Millionaire, which were produced on a shoestring budget, will become more commonplace. Ninety percent of survey respondents agreed, and 40 percent said they thought the pace of change would be more rapid.

10. Consumers will "help" write episodes of their favorite shows through social network interaction and online collaboration sessions. Some 73 percent of the experts agreed.

Want to take a deeper dive into the report? Check it out here. -Jim

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