The latest issue of Wired magazine has what I would consider the most comprehensive and impressive overview of what we have available to us, as consumers of online video. The series of articles (which you can see here) breaks down everything from platforms to hardware, to the philosophies of how we watch content now. I would argue it’s not meant to be a cable-cutting screed, but rather a serious look at the players in this emerging game. The article tilts heavily towards television programming, but people in the film industry should not ignore what its saying about how American audiences watch content. From comedian Joel McHale’s opening remarks in the spread:
I’ve got some good news and some bad news.
The good news first: We are living in a new golden age of television. Right now, you can enjoy some of the best, most original, most groundbreaking programming in the history of the medium. I should know—after all, I’m part of it, with no less than two shows: NBC’s Community and E!’s The Soup. So it must be a golden age.
Now for the bad news: We have no effing clue how to actually watch TV anymore. Thanks to all this newfangled digital innovation, the interaction of eyeballs and screen is more challenging than ever. Do I stream it or TiVo it? Do I need a set-top box or an Xbox? Roku—what is that, some sort of martial art? How the hell do I watch TV?
Well, fear not. Wired has made the new tubes safe for boobs. You hold in your hands the ultimate TV guide—not for what to watch (though I’ll recommend a few of my favorites) but for how to watch. It explains everything you need to know about navigating the Hulus, Vudus, Plexes, and Boxees of this new era so you can see all that great entertainment quickly, easily, and legally.