Broadcasting 2.0: The User Experience

Deborah McAdams is the Executive Editor of TV Technology.

Forget 3D. The next generation of broadcast TV should start with a new mindset. Consider the user experience. Broadcasting is a delivery platform, not a bunch of disparate programming streams competing for eyeballs. It is a delivery system like cable or satellite. So when will broadcasting market itself like cable and satellite? Networks still own TV stations. There must be some value in them; more so than new TV shows pumped up like Pirellis and dropped after two episodes.

Does it not behoove stations in markets with 15-20 percent over-the-air reliance to coordinate a marketing campaign? People are "cutting cords." Time's a wastin'. Again.

And while they're at it, broadcasters might want to seem as if they care about their audience. I know, I know, it's an advertising business. Got it. But with no audience, there ain't squat to sell, and if the audience can't get a station over the air, that station is blowing off revenue.

I still can't receive ABC or Fox with an indoor antenna in Los Angeles, 24 line-of-sight miles from the transmitter. Some guy 75 miles from the WMTV transmitter in Madison, Wis., is watching that station over the air. Yeah, he probably has an aerial, but that's not the point. Remember the hype? The point is digital TV—crystal-clear signals, with unobtrusive antennas.

Let's fix that.

And how about an electronic programming guide? See those cord-cutters? They're used to an EPG. One that couldn't hold up in the original "Star Trek," to be sure, but an EPG nonetheless. So what if it shows the competition's schedule? It would take less bandwidth than the Doppler shot, and it would get more viewers!

The next generation of broadcast TV should start now, with user experience, which very well may be the only thing that stands between stations and the government's bid to reclaim their spectrum.