Is Blinkx Remote the end of TV?

The big networks are panicking about their content appearing on YouTube and Google Video. Lawsuits abound. But the content keeps coming.

The effect of all this content is interesting — users are actually dropping their long-loved cable and satellite connections in favour of downloading only what they want from the internet and viewing it at their leisure.

Oddly enough, I’ve heard no panic about that. Yet. Enter Blinkx Remote.

This could cause cable company execs some sleepless nights. Until now, you had to do a lot of hunting to find your favourite TV shows. Blinkx Remote claims 7 million hours of television to watch. Even the bravest of couch potatoes would wither at the mere thought of that much TV.

But it’s not all episodes of Desperate Housewives. Oh sure, those are there, too, but this has some hard to find stuff, too. For you geeks out there, the Babylon 5 Season 1 blooper reel, Robot Chicken, and a fair amount of Battlestar Gallatica. And my favourite: Mythbusters.

Even obscure, long-forgotten material is easy to find: Manimal and Automan (given, it’s only the title themes, but still). Yeah, they’re 80s. I just dated myself. The catalogue is hardly complete, as they are missing shows like Outlaws (with the awesome Charles Napier), The Highwayman, and well-known shows like Simon & Simon and Magnum PI.

It’s not all network TV, of course, this is just a TV-like interface to Blinkx’s network. Which ain’t all bad, and kind of YouTube-like. There’s a lot of commercials, foreign (to North America) material, prosumer-generated videos, home videos, cartoon snippets. It would be really interesting to see what would happen if all this copyright crap went away and these services could really blow out the offerings, and with higher-quality product (some of these videos are blurry beyond watching).

Now all we need to see is a hack to automatically connect your TIVO to this sucker.

cough SUBTLE HINT cough

Should the networks embrace this? Of course they should! But they won’t, at least not right away. They’ve got impressive libraries of content that they’re still selling on DVD, an effectively-dead format. (Why have a physical disk when I can download the same thing?) And then there’s that wretched DRM problem they always complain about.

Let’s just hope that someday this becomes more of a reality. I would love to have only the shows I want to watch, and nothing else. I hate regular TV, since it’s a lot of junk I don’t want.

I can dream, though, right?