Author Archive | Jose Alvear

The Joy (and Hazards) of Watching YouTube on TV

YouTube TVHave you ever wanted to watch YouTube on your TV?

I have, ever since Tivo started allowing YouTube streaming to their DVRs back in July 2008. And I’m here to confess: I’m a huge fan. Watching YouTube on my HDTV has radically changed how I “watch TV”.

One night I decided to do an experiment. I skipped watching regular prime time TV and only watched YouTube videos from my Tivo. I signed in to YouTube, so I could access my favorites, and playlists. Two hours later, I found that it was a very fascinating journey.

What did I watch? Anything that looked interesting, including some of my old YouTube favorites. Mostly, I let the videos lead me to the next one via suggestions and related content. It was an exercise in random discovery. I followed certain YouTube users. Then I would backtrack a bit and find myself on another trail of YouTube discovery. I spent some time watching music videos. I searched for classic Internet favorite videos. I even watched some of YouTube’s promoted videos, and found some of them were pretty good. (My current favorite is something called Thru-You, a YouTube mashup, where someone grabbed random musical clips from YouTube and created awesome songs.)

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TV Today: It’s Still About Lean Forward vs. Sit Back

Imagine yourself watching TV right now. Where would you be? Would you be sitting back in your favorite chair in your living room and holding your remote control in one hand? Or are you sitting down at your local Starbucks, sipping coffee and watching video on your iPod?

Odds are most of your TV watching still occurs in comfort of your living room with your TV set. But increasingly, consumers are watching video anywhere they can: from work on the PC, on the road from a laptop, on iPods and iPhones, and other portable media players.

Even the term watching TV can be misconstrued, since there are so many options today. Does it mean watching a live broadcast TV channel as it is being aired? Does it mean viewing a show on-demand from your DVR? Does it mean buying the latest Daily Show episode from iTunes and watching it on your iPhone during your morning commute? Or maybe you’d rather go to and watch the full episodes of Heroes for free (with limited commercials, of course).

I’ve recently been thinking about an old phrase from the early days of Internet video: Lean forward vs. sit back. Essentially, it’s the difference between PCs and TVs. PCs are more interactive while TVs are a passive experience. Lots of companies I spoke to back then were interested in the future of television and interactive TV services and wanted to blur the lines between PCs and TVs.

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