Will the iPad change TV?

Image courtesy of Apple

Wednesday, every media outlet, web site, newspaper or blogger had something to say about Apple’s latest “world changing” creation, the iPad.

And while the discussion of whether or not the iPad is actually that revolutionary is for another day, I thought I’d shape the story to fit into the realm of television.
So, in response to the question I posed in the headline: No, put simply.
The iPad does connect to the iTunes store and YouTube, so there are video-watching capabilities present. Combine that with the larger screen and we have ourselves a beautiful picture of our favorite iTunes-purchased episode or video, but it is still the exact same interface.
However, the video-watching software is not any more advanced on the iPad than it is on the iPhone or iPod Touch.  And what does that mean? No flash video. Which means no Hulu. No Fancast. No TV.com. No streaming episodes or video content from network web sites. As the folks at Gizmodo put it:

No Flash
No Flash is annoying but not a dealbreaker on the iPhone and iPod Touch. On something that’s supposed to be closer to a netbook or laptop? It will leave huge, gaping holes in websites. I hope you don’t care about streaming video! God knows not many casual internet users do. Oh wait, nevermind, they all do.

I think most of us have been expecting a major Hulu application for the iPhone and iTouch and that still hasn’t arrived. I’m not sure if the whole thing is to protect the iTunes store or what, but every person I talked to hoped that the iPad would have flash capabilities. Well, it does not.

Secondly and certainly less importantly, the iPad doesn’t have widescreen viewing. That isn’t a huge deal, but who the heck wants to watch an episode of Lost or Damages in 4:3 these days? Not me.

Finally, the lack of a camera means that along with iChat, you can’t film something that’s happening and throw it up on YouTube. Obviously that doesn’t effect mainstream television viewers or the industry that much, but it is surely a development that is worth noting based on our class discussions about YouTube and the DIY possibilities.

So be psyched about the iPad if you want. But just know, if you care about watching television on it, don’t expect anything different than the frustrating options you have right now.


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