As I look at the tech gear sitting around my house, my television might be the best-looking piece of all. But while TVs are sleeker now that they shed their tubes they for the most part do what they’ve done for years. Sure, it’s possible to stream movies and shows but not much else has changed. Now, however, some long-predicted changes to that living room centerpiece could be upon us.
Blair Westlake, Corporate Vice President of Media & Entertainment in Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business group, told a Senate committee this week that we will see “more change in the next 18 months in the TV landscape than we did in the past five years.” Westlake, who was at Tuck last month as part of the annual Entertainment, Sports & Media Symposium, predicted in part that TV will allow for two-way interaction. He pointed to the example of a forthcoming Microsoft program called “Sesame Street Kinect” that will allow children to use voice and gestures to, say, count along with Cookie Monster. In fact, they’d be able to see themselves on-screen thanks to the Kinect’s camera. I can’t imagine what I would have done to stand next to Cookie Monster as a kid. The testimony before the Senate’s Commerce Committee came as lawmakers consider the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act, sponsored by South Carolina Senator Jim Demint and Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise.
The bill would remove some rules put in place in 1992 that govern cable companies and broadcasters. Regardless of where people stand on the issues, what I find exciting is the notion that viewers soon could experience the kind of gains in service that they had when they ditched their flip phones for smartphones.
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