Google Trends (current in the lower right column) or Twitter trends (TwitScoop at right) on any given weeknight and one thing becomes apparent in the US. TV drives search in a big way.
That trend continues, and provides an insight into viewing habits as the trends almost always peak as the episodes air live (and gobs of people on the east coast 'take the ending out' for those in the west ... here in the US ?!).
The tech crowd was, no doubt, first viewing TV online and then a younger audience ditching their DVRs but with broadband now reaching more homes in the US and higher speeds enabling HD, an article today in AdAge confirms that Hulu is rocketing to new heights ... and their advertising is almost sold out for the year!
AdAge attributes much of this to the new TV season and the addition of ABC to the Hulu (now massive) line-up. While that may be true, there's much more going on here.
First, the Hulu desktop app enables you switch to two lower resolutions, making it possible to catch up on your favorite shows on slower connections.
Second .... Yes, it's Windows 7.
The video drivers on many Windows 7 computers and laptops, particularly Intel drivers (that are being updated often), simply make video on Windows better then ever.
Add the new Windows Media Center in Windows 7 that not only records TV, but also provides online programming from CBS (not on Hulu) and also recently added a huge online library of diverse online programming.
Port from your TV ... to your TV .... and while your at it, NetFlix on demand. Hmmm.
While all of this has been around in various forms (Apple TV?) for some time, the landscape in now dramatically changing.
More and more PC's will be shipped with Windows 7 and people will slowly change their habits.
I once called the Internet "The World on Your Time".
'TV on Your Time' is here and it will be adopted a lot faster than most pundits are predicting (although if Hulu begins to charge a fee as has been rumored, as opposed to raising ad rates, that could throw a huge wrench into their market share ...)
It's important to note that there are two considerations if you are thinking about TV on your PC this holiday season.
Make sure your new box has 'decent' inputs and outputs for what you plan to do as well as 'reasonable' system resources (IE: At minimum, a dual core processor and 3-4 GB of memory).
Your broadband connection needs to be around 4 Mps for any decent low resolution rendering with current technology. For HD, you could need as much as 15 or 20.
So what will all of this do to YouTube?
Now that YouTube support 1080p HD, they too will continue to grow with the very distinct possibility of becoming 35 per cent (or higher) of Google's searches.
Will I watch NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles (on cable) in prime time tonight?
Yeah ... probably ......
..... but maybe not next year :)
Links updated 11/24 8 PM ET