Never Mind Advanced TV. What Is TV?

(Editor's note: Nina Lentini is filling in for Karlene Lukovitz, who is on vacation.)

Television, that quaint term for moving pictures in a box, has roots in the 19th century, and it has been advancing ever since. I recall black-and-white television back in the 1950s: "Leave It to Beaver," "Lassie," "The Lone Ranger." Growing up in the middle of Connecticut, we used tin foil on the set's antennas to tune in to stations up in Hartford and down in New Haven.

And then in the mid-'60s, our dad bought one of the first color televisions. The TV sat on the floor in what our family called, appropriately, "the TV room." It had been a two-car garage but when we moved back to that great old house from a one-year stint uptown, Dad had the garage converted into a family room with a fireplace as well as a three-story barn built to house the two cars, his eventual typewriter repair shop, horse stalls -- and horses -- with an empty floor on top, which became his photography studio.



Eventually, as televisions came in more compact sizes, the set in the TV room was moved to a built-in wall unit with bookshelves holding hundreds of books along an entire wall where the garage doors used to be.

TV -- and we -- were advancing. This set-up satisfied a growing family of seven until all the kids had left and our parents were the only ones watching "Jeopardy."

Meanwhile, I toted my portable TV from apartment to apartment in western Connecticut, Philadelphia, New York and Hoboken, where I landed when I took a job in videotext, another advancement in "long-distance visual images." 

Venture One was located in Fair Lawn, N.J., from which we carried out experiments involving 100 computers and TVs in nearby Ridgewood. Backed by CBS, IBM and Sears, the venture -- called Reach -- was a fully staffed 24/7 newsroom (Linda Ellerbee's "NBC News Overnight" at 3 a.m. was our entertainment) that debuted the concept of an online content portal with news, weather, sports, email among members, and shopping for goods and services.

The closest we got to CBS TV was an in-person visit from Bill Paley and a field trip to Black Rock. On Election Night in 1982, we had a staffer sitting under Dan Rather's desk, reporting the results of that midterm vote. 

So, was this still TV or was this now the Internet? By 1993 and renamed Prodigy, the enterprise was developing what came to be known as a content delivery network -- so there you have it, whatever you want to call it. Have we reached connected TV? Advanced TV?

Unlike earlier versions of "advanced TV" tech, streaming and connected TV are gaining critical mass, according to reports in MediaPost, and the ad industry expects it to be the dominant source of viewing for most of us soon. But what does that mean? Is Netflix TV? Is YouTube TV?

Whatever you call it, it requires new ways of defining a TV ad exposure because up to 10% of viewing credited to connected TV households is going to "TVs" that are turned off. GroupM recently announced it was going to issue some "industry standards" for it.

Meanwhile, back in the consumer's world, one Brooklyn couple reports connected TV success. "We've been doing all of our streaming on a small laptop, and our cable company finally gave us the equipment to connect with Netflix," they said excitedly, "which means we can see the horrific violence of 'Peaky Blinders' much more clearly! [They] are constantly slitting throats with a razor they keep in their caps, so it's lovely to be able to have a full-blown shot of spurting blood!"

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