Internet Video & TV: Can they ever join forces successfully?

Sony TVWe here at TechConsumer are no strangers to trying new ways of getting quality entertainment onto our living room big screens. Regular old cable TV doesn’t cut it, what with frequent commercial breaks, horrible selection, and inopportune timing. Surprisingly (at least to us), though, cable TV is what most of the free world uses (the part of the free world with TVs, that is).

To recap, Logan reviewed using Amazon Unbox on TiVo without a computer, Paul reviewed using both CinemaNow and Vongo on the Xbox 360, and each of us took a turn at pointing out why Netflix is amazing. But each service has its disadvantage ranging from “too complicated” to “inconvenient” with “too expensive” and “too slow” somewhere in the middle.

In fact, we aren’t the only ones noticing this phenomenon. The Wall Street Journal yesterday had an article with video (see video below) that explained it like this:

“Millions of people love watching Internet video on their PCs. So why can’t the technology industry figure out how to get them to watch Internet video on their television sets? It seems like a no-brainer: Consumers get a greater breadth of on-demand content than cable offers, and in the comfort of their living room or bedroom, the industry argues. Yet consumers aren’t buying.”

The article then goes on to list all the major problems with the current setup (too many boxes, too complicated, limited selection, and slow downloads) followed by some fairly obvious solutions. But will we ever find the perfect solution? We would need a service that integrates into what we already have (no new box), is easy to setup and use, has a huge selection, and starts playing movies/shows instantaneously. Easier said than done.

However, according to the site Hacking Netflix, Netflix is going to tell us in January about its plans to get its “Watch Instantly” feature on TVs. As mentioned previously, everyone here at TechConsumer loves and uses Netflix. The”Watch Instantly” feature meets all of the above conditions for a near perfect solution with the exception of one problem: watching movies/shows via Netflix doesn’t go past your computer unless you’re tech savvy enough to hook up your computer to your TV. But if Netflix finds a way to be integrated into a device we already use on our TVs…

That, my friends, could be the first successful joining of Internet video and TV.