TV Availability So Sky High People Are Jaded

by , Jun 28, 2012, 5:06 PM
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Sometimes it bears looking up from the screen and marveling at how astoundingly ubiquitous TV has become. How in such a short time, live sports and news have become accessible everywhere save a tiny spot deep in the Mojave Desert.

That may not even be the case for long. It’s certainly trending the way of wireless service more likely to be available in the desert than water, thus enabling Piers Morgan and “SportsCenter” to appear on an iPhone while knee-deep in sand.

CNN and ESPN offer live network simulcasts via Verizon and other distributors. Anyone born before, say, 1998 with solid before-and-after reference points should be amazed. And, yet media advancements have become such a runaway train – making it seem as if nothing is beyond reach – that the incredible seems to have largely given way to the expected.

How nice it would be if health care improvements ran on the same track. Comcast is looking to get in good with the government, could it lend some of its researchers to the National Institutes of Health?

With such a jaded audience, an announcement Thursday that should have had people appreciating the Media Space Age we live in created undersized interest. After all, how impressive could any technology be now that live TV is available on an iPad in the hot tub?

Those of a certain age appreciate a scene in “Mad Men” when an agency executive is ecstatic about the chance to get on an airplane and travel all the way from New York to Richmond. They remember when books or magazines were the in-flight entertainment. When there was no WiFi or live TV when flying over the Mojave.

Soon, Web access will be as commonplace as drink service – the way airlines are cutting back, maybe more so. Live TV on a flight has been around for at least a decade.

Oh, how dreamable it was when JetBlue began offering DirecTV service on seatbacks in 2000? Forget the movies on the small drop-down screens, people now had personal screens, where they could scroll through 24 channels.

Looking to keep up with multiple competitors, Southwest Airlines says it is launching its version of live TV. And moving the ball downfield, people will no longer have to part with their beloved Apple devices or remain in their seats while watching an NFL game. (Sorry, captain, I know the fasten-seat-belt sign is on, but my team just scored and I can't help but run up the aisle to celebrate.)

By mid-July, Southwest plans to have live TV available on 20 planes, where it will be delievered to mobile devices via a WiFi connection. The cost during the current test period will range between $3 and $8 -- cheaper than a soggy turkey sandwich.

Customers currently pay $5 for WiFi access, but can just buy the TV offering. There are seven channels – remarkable, but in light of the 36 now on JetBlue, surely ho-hum to some. Those include CNBC, Fox News, NBC Sports and the NFL Network. Also included is a Major League Baseball feed with live games.

The company behind the Southwest opportunity is Row 44, which provides architecture for in-flight entertainment. It recently received an infusion of $45 million to continue developing the incredible that sadly people may not fully appreciate.

In the same vein, MTV might go with a "You Got Your MTV Everywhere" tagline now and people will just think: Uh, yea, why is that a surprise?

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