Saturday, March 11, 2000

Saturday, March 11: Television of Tomorrow

The next morning, March 11, Rob Burgess & Kevin Lynch entertained a large crowd with their keynote as they showed how you could create custom shockwave cartoons to send to your pals.

I sat in on the Television of Tomorrow panel, moderated by Austin American-Stateman Technopolis writer Gregory Kallenberg and listened to comments from the panelists. Suzanne Stefanac of Respond TV presented her perspective on the history of Interactive TV and how to succeed: get in there early, continue to work with open standards, use superior technology, have the right business plan and maintain feral intelligence. Each panelist, including Pete Fernandez (PSW), Keith Kocha (ExtendTV) and Mark Meadows (Xerox-Parc) agreed you should never go between the sacred relationships that exist between the traditional TV programmers and advertisers. These roles have existed since the beginning of TV and to attempt to tell them how to do their job (for the web) might fall just short of disaster.

Peter Fernandez outlined that consumers want convenience, high-speed access, entertainment and communication -- however they get it doesn't matter -- they don't want "interactive TV" per se. He asked "do you really want 500 channels, or do you want to be able to see just want you want to see?" People aren't saying, "give me great WebTV," they're saying, "give me great content!" An audience member asked what if all TV becomes like a Pop-up video, with the ability to access information on anything. Keith Kocho remarked, "no one would watch it!"