We’ve spent the last week and a half digging into the players, companies, and history of the ongoing battle for the living room. To see where television could go next — and why it’s been stuck for so long — we spoke to to everyone from the Boxee CEO Avner Ronan and Vizio CTO Matt McRae to The New Yorker’s TV critic Emily Nussbaum and former FCC Chairman Michael Powell.
Almost every major player in the tech space is competing to disrupt the space, but even the best minds at Apple, Microsoft, Google, Sony, and Amazon haven’t been able to figure it out. None have been able to offer the perfect mix of live television, premium shows, and sports that the cable industry has locked down. Things are hardly settling down, with sources confirming confirming that Microsoft’s planning a set-top box in 2013, and there's always the ever-present rumor of a TV from Apple on the horizon.
Below, we've gathered up a week of living in every ecosystem, interviews with seven key voices in the industry, and in-depth reports on everything from ESPN's lock on the future of live sports to international perspectives on the state of TV in the UK and Japan.
Introduction to the war
Living with Google TV
the interface is a confusing mess of mixed metaphors that makes the average smart TV on Best Buy's shelves look like a paragon of user-centric design
Living with the Xbox 360
if it’s (legally) available online somewhere, there’s a good chance you can stream it on Xbox 360.
Living with Amazon
Amazon’s content options weren’t enough to sway me into becoming a full-on cord-cutter
Boxee CEO Avner Ronen
"They probably need to rebrand Xbox."
Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman
“I don't give a shit how the TV signal gets to me, it just gets to me”
NBC's Vivian Schiller
“Rule number one is that you have to be where the audience is”
New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum
Vizio CTO Matt McRae
"TV should be everywhere, it should be ubiquitous. A truly successful service has to be device-agnostic and run on all the devices."
Condé Nast Entertainment Chief Dawn Ostroff
"Every single year the intensity of the relationship between viewers and creators has gotten more and more powerful and more and more complicated."
Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell
"Remember, Game of Thrones exists because someone else is subsidizing it heavily. If the old guys with cable boxes didn’t exist, neither would Game of Thrones, and neither would the pirating."
Smart TVs keep dumbing down our living rooms
"Smart TV interfaces are almost universally slow, clunky, and unnecessarily complex."
Why Aereo scares the broadcast industry
The trouble with TV apps
Why the future of live sports is in ESPN's hands
The beauty of Wii U
"How has there been so little innovation in half a decade?"