On the business social network LinkedIn the question was posed by Steve Cohn of T-Mobile:

Can TV be replaced as a form of entertainment, and with what ?

And amongst the other answers I wrote the following which I shall share here:

“To provide some background: I work for a company that makes Digital Television receivers, I previously lectured at a specialist college in broadcasting and I also worked for the BBC (among other broadcast companies).

After all this, I don’t own a TV and the result is that both my partner and I couldn’t be happier. This isn’t to say we don’t watch ‘TV’, we watch some downloaded and on demand content, however unlike most peoples experience with television we are not passive viewers. We actively seek out that which we would like to watch and if nothing appeals we don’t watch anything we do something else.

I think the visual medium has worked for so long (theatre, graphic novels, film and TV) that it will never be replaced because it is the mirror of our lives. However, with the improvement in diversity of choice and the move away from the linear viewing experience (through DTR/PVR time shifting) is creating a new generation who don’t just watch what they want but when they want.

One thing however that will sustain is the fact that for the majority of people (not really represented in the demographic reading here) they are happy with the passive experience because it means they don’t need to think. Many people do like to be told what is good, what is right and what to do. They come home, turn on the TV and just accept that which is fed to them and they are themselves complicit in accepting this.

Fortunately this is being supplanted by the non-linear experience where popularity is dynamically decided by the social network and while consumers might only limit themselves to routinely watching the top-ten selection there is still a greater degree of individual influence and choice. Plus, through the growth of linking and “digg”ing you are seeing ‘playlists’ being composed again and what is effectively the return of the ‘mix tape’ through the sharing of content selection as self-expression.

I welcome any comments on my reply or the question in general.

I’ve had a couple of HTC phones now and even more Windows Mobile phones. The experience, while not pain free, has roughly been positive. However with the release of the HTC Touch Diamond from Orange really whetted my appetite, it looked like the sexy iPhone challenger and the demos were really quite sweet. It wasn’t easy to get hold of, it sold out very quickly, but this week mine arrived.

First thing I noticed, the non-standard HTC USB interface ("Because we are special"), I could live with this even if all the existing phones in our house use standard USB chargers quite easily.

Second thing, well it wasn’t exactly fast on the start up…

Third thing, well it sucked battery quicker than the proverbial ‘Duncan’s mum’.

All of these things I felt I could get used to, but then there was the killer:

I have a TomTom Go 910, I bought it a few months ago from Dabs.com on sale. It was great, because not only was it the excellent TomTom satnav but it also has TomTom Traffic when used with a GRPS enabled Bluetooth Phone AND it can act as a bluetooth headset! Wow! This has worked great with my works Blackberry 8800, OK but without the modem on my works Blackberry 8310 and it worked fine with my Orange/HTC SPV M600.

Obviously and quite plainly it the TomTom Go 910 doesn’t work with the Bluetooth of the new HTC Touch Diamond! Damn

I’ve called HTC ("Not our problem speak to TomTom"), TomTom ("Not our problem speak to HTC") and Orange ("Its not really a function of the Orange network that has a problem so it’s not our problem.").

I have the right of return and now it looks like I will have to take that up. It’s really disappointing to reach that, I had hoped there was some fix or patch for the software but I asked HTC if it was a known issue and they said "no". So I am left with little choice but to send it back and find something else. I have two phones, so it might just be simpler to downgrade my contract with Orange and save myself some effort.

A sad day for HTC, a sad day for Orange and a sad day for producy expectation.