According to the CEO of Netflix, Linear TV is going extinct and the future of 4K (and media) is on the Internet

by on May 13, 2015

Stephan Jukic – May 13, 2015

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has an entire image of how the future ecosystem of personal video entertainment will be and it has very little to do with conventional, linear TV.

In the Hastings universe, we will be getting our favorite TV shows, live video events and movies –among other things- from a whole galaxy of apps and app-based streaming content sources that are highly personalized and niche-oriented in many cases.

Thus, those who want to watch the latest Major league baseball game could tune into a Baseball oriented app that will let them watch a live stream from their tablet, TV or other display device over ultra-broadband internet. On the other hand, fans of shows like Breaking Bad or Big Bang Theory, would simply tune into the specific streaming apps of these programs and catch them at their convenience.

This is part of the future landscape that Hastings painted for audiences at a recent talk he gave at the Media Convention in Berlin, Germany a week ago and he thinks it’s coming well within our lifetimes.

Hastings believes that linear TV, whether it be broadcast or cable, has at most only another 20 years of life left in it and that it will be replaced by an internet video world of streaming on-demand entertainment that’s evolving with an “astounding” amount of innovation.

According to Hastings, “Sometimes I say that linear TV is like the fax machine”, “that, in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the fax machine was amazing. But then you started attaching files on documents and the fax machine was not so amazing. And linear TV, it completely transformed society.. but now there’s something better: Internet TV”

Hastings also argued for the strength of his point by referring to the iPhone and the massive smartphone ecosystem that now exists partly because of it. Just a decade ago, there was no iPhone and the whole smartphone landscape of apps and mobile content websites simply didn’t exist. But then, the phone came along, first as the iPhone and later as other smartphones and the whole landscape of the last 10 years, at least in personal portable media and data access, completely changed.

Reed thus asked the question of what will happen in the next 10 years with internet TV?

devices like this 4K tablet will be part of the streaming media future of ultra HD and HDR immersiveness

devices like this 4K tablet will be part of the streaming media future of ultra HD and HDR immersiveness

He thinks we’ll see the arrival of hardware innovations, immersive reality, incredible display technologies like 4K and 4K combined with HDR content and the development of screens like these not just in a few TVs but in displays that are found all over the place at increasingly affordable prices.

Hastings argues that the internet will grow so much faster with the advent of fiber technology and that this will provoke a vast growth of this internet entertainment landscape in people’s homes and other spaces in the next decade.

Furthermore, the Netflix CEO predicts that 4K TVs will be an integral part of the death of broadcast cable. He used the next World Cup as an example and claimed that 4K content, instead of coming mainly from broadcast TV or cable, will instead arrive over internet solutions in a more flexible way as they develop an increasing amount of data-transfer capacity.

This will cause a major reorganization of the current television network industry, with a number of companies turning into internet TV companies in order to survive.

In other words, the best story tellers with the most flexible entertainment technology will develop the most global voice. Perhaps companies like Netflix itself?

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