The thing about television is that it’s going to get smaller before it gets bigger. At least sort of. While traditional television will be around for years to come, video content on the web is going to steadily increase its presence. And it’s going to be LD (low definition) for a while. People are going to sacrifice quality for portability.
And really, it’s not even that much of a loss in quality. By the time your favorite program has reached your TV, it’s been compressed probably three times, in the range of 2:1 to 5:1 depending on the production company, network, and provider. (For the record, WOW finishes all our shows at 1:1). Even more for most HD programming. And because only the most expensive (read 4k and up) TVs are actually true HD, no one is experiencing TV as good as they could be.
So what’s a little drop in quality for the ability to watch your programming on the go? Or to be able to take your favorite shows over to your girlfriend’s, where you spend all your time because you live in a shitty little studio?
As new codecs, like H.264, and bigger pipes become more popular the quality of compressed web videos will just get better, reaching true HD quality before the majority of people even have a real HD TV in their houses. It won’t stop, either – video on the web will out-pass broadcast specs eventually. The FCC is very slow (it took over 50 years to get HD, after all).
All of this is to say that, just like with music, video’s quality will technically go down for awhile, but the value will go up. It will go up so much that most people won’t even notice the difference. And if you don’t believe me, just remember how long you used a VCR.
– Tom Wolf