Is the Tablet the Future of TV?

Is the Tablet the TV of the future? It’s too early to say, but it is safe to assume more and more video content is being consumed on portable wireless devices. Southwest Airlines has a very interesting new service available in flight, where you can use their free wifi to view video programming on your iPad, Tablet and other capable portable devices. This is in place of those seatback TVs. It’s probably greener because those seatbeat TVs are heavy and generate a lot of heat. But Southwest is also on to something…

Many mobile phones’ screens have gotten so big that the term “phablets” has been coined to describe them—the hybridization of a phone and tablet.

The other trend to pay attention to is the simple fact that mobile traffic exceeds that from PCs for most websites. Online usage continues to accelerate, but mobile is increasingly getting the lion’s share. That’s partly because the devices and screens are getting better, and the wireless networks are getting faster.

Responsive design is also increasing consumption because we don’t have to do multiple clicks or open new apps because the sites respond seamlessly to their unique device to provide the optimal viewing experience.

As smart phones get bigger, the other trend is simply that more video is being consumed. We can shoot HD video quality with these phones already. The viewing experience just keeps getting better and better.

But what about traditional broadcast TV? A new service called Tablet TV, currently only available in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area could be revolutionary.  Tablet TV has launched a new service in collaboration with Granite Broadcasting that will provide local TV channels free on a variety of tablets. In San Francisco over the past three months, Tablet TV has been selling the “T-Pod” which will allow tablets to receive Granite’s TV stations like KOFY-TV 20 on their portable devices. Tablet TV also offers DVR functionality and fast forward to skip commercials, etc.

DirecTV and products like Slingbox have also made viewing broadcast and cable TV consumable on mobile devices. In this age of Netflix, it’s possible that something like Tablet TV could extend the reach of traditional broadcast TV and even breathe new life into the old medium.

Questions, comments, thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.