When is a TV not a TV (when is a television not a television)?

Last night I logged on to MLB.tv as usual to watch a San Francisco Giants game with my 9 year old son. They beat the Padres 2-1 by the way. The way we watch MLB at home is via a regular laptop plugged into our TV.  The feed from MLB streams over the internet and is in HD.

As I was staring at the logo MLB.tv I started thinking – is that service really TV at all, should MLB call it TV, and is MLB competing with the TV companies that provide much of the revenue for baseball across the US?

The answer is yes and no: yes because it is being delivered to my TV, and while I am watching it I think I am watching TV because it’s a TV-like experience. No, because most people don’t watch MLB on regular TVs, they watch it on laptops, tablets and phones, as the MLB picture at the top illustrates.

Then I started thinking about the meaning of the word television (a lot of kids these days don’t even know that TV is an abbreviation of that, they have grown up with the word TV or “telly” in Britain).

Tele = an ancient Greek word meaning “distant”

Vision = from the Latin visere which means “to see”

So it means “to see distant [things]“. So that made perfect sense when television was launched, television enabled people (for the first time) to see things from across the country or across the planet in their own homes.

So if you think of today’s TV industry, where there are Smart TVs, OTT providers like Netflix, YouTube, smart set top boxes, and apps for TV, I think the definition still stands – it’s all about seeing things over a long distance, it just so happens that the distance is being reduced by the internet / IPTV rather than terrestrial broadcast RF technologies. Yes a lot has changed, including what people watch, but for these companies (and us), to use the moniker TV is still valid. MLB.tv, you are good to go in our opinion.

However, in part 2 of this article we will debate whether this is the case, when looked at from the perspective of the hardware being used these days. Isn’t the whole concept of TV that it’s a big screen in your living room where you gather round to watch things (from a distance)? Isn’t a television a specific product type? Stay tuned for part 2 (couldn’t resist that).


Chief Spinning Officer, www.AppCarousel.tv

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