Dale Roe at the Austin American-Statesman offers a very smart and comprehensive look at the sliver of panels during SXSW Interactive, that spoke on the future of television. It all started on the first day with a debate/throwdown between Boxee CEO Avner Ronen faced HDNet founder Mark Cuban, about broadband versus cable:
The perception that cable and satellite companies are trying to protect an outdated “package” sales model came to a head in an argument — er, panel — titled “PayTV vs. Internet — The Battle For Your TV.” When Avner Ronen, the CEO of Boxee (its software allows you to play videos, music and pictures from your PC or from the Internet on your television), questioned Dallas Mavericks and HDNet owner Mark Cuban about the industry’s reluctance to sell channels individually, Cuban responded, in typically blunt fashion, “The à la carte model is for morons.”
The pair also clashed on the viability of the Internet as the next distribution model for video content. Cuban contends that the future lies in widgets — small programs written for new television hardware independent of the Internet and developed by the cable companies themselves. “The Internet is old news,” Cuban said in front of an audience furiously posting updates to their Twitter followers and Facebook friends. He compared it to electricity, noting that nobody gets too excited about electricity anymore.
“You get excited about things that connect to electricity,” Ronen countered, “just like the Internet. It’s a platform. Everything you do on the Web you’ll be able to do on the TV, and in a few years.”
Check out the article for more highlights from more TV-minded sessions.