The future of TV?
So, Telewest have told me that I'll have a new service from next week. According to the blurb I'll be able to pause, fast forward or rewind programmes; watch programmes whenever I like for up to 7 days after transmission, and order from hundreds of movies on demand. What's more, it's free (apart from the movies) and I don't have to buy any additional equipment. In fact I don't have to do anything.
From the company that forced me to scour the pubs of Muswell Hill to watch Rangers v Inter Milan because they don't have ITV4 (even though Sky, NTL and even Freeview offer it) I'm impressed by how strong the offer is and how they've not tried to charge it out as a premium service. It sounds perfect...
Being the cynic that I am, however, I'll be interested to see how the reality stacks up against the sell. Will I be able to watch all programmes when I want, or will it just be a selection? Will it really be free, or will they'll try to charge me for certain programmes if I want to watch them later. How good will the user interface be? And how will the features develop?
Then there's my acid test - will my technology-averse wife embrace it? Because that's the audience that really matters. I understand all about the adoption cycle, crossing the chasm and all that, but too often new technologies seem to be driven by functionality and features, rather than what really makes a difference to consumers' lives. If they get that right, they really will have cracked it.