I spent an hour being interviewed the other day as to my thoughts on blogging, and found myself thinking again about what I have often found myself blogging about, e.g. "It is not about building cool technology, but how you aggregate technologies to build great solutions". The young man that interviewed me wasn't quite sure what I was talking about until I put into the context of what I have been thinking about vis a vis travel. So, as they say, here it goes...
I have a HDTV, (High Definition Television ) it is 42" in diagonal. When I watch it, I am typically about 7' away from it. I read a while back that the right metric was to sit 30" back for every 12" of diagonal screen. So, I am probably right where I should be related to seating and viewing angle. My present HDTV is only, and I say only 1080i. Which from a resolution perspective less than the 1080p sets, which are now cheaper and better than they have ever been. (and which I would buy in a second, e.g. at least 60” in diagonal, what with March Madness coming up….)
But the good news in my case is that I bought my set at BestBuy at an open box sale. What that means is someone bought it, didn't like it, brought it back, and I got it dirt cheap. I have it hooked in to a Comcast HD box, and I have a bunch of HD channels. Not sure how many, but in a funny way not enough. As watching TV in HD is sometimes like a religious experience, particularly for someone who didn't have TV until he was 18 years old, and then had two channels. Both in black and white. Side note, I once told my young pal Patrick Scoble that I only had 2 channels growing up, and his response was "how could you live?":...
So, back to travel, and why will HDTV change it. On Comcast, there is a channel, 663, which is I think is related in some way to The Discovery Channel. And what they show on this channel is great, I repeat great hour long programs on places like Venice, and the Mekong Delta, and Australia, and a very clever and cute series called "1,000 Places to go before you die...". Which features a very attractive young couple who seemed to have been recruited as they came from the altar at their wedding, and given the opportunity to take about a five month honeymoon, and have been sent to some drop dead gorgeous places...." Most of which I would go to tomorrow afternoon.
So, here's my thought on how this all will play out. Let's say you are the director of tourism at some destination somewhere in the world. And one day you have this wake up call that says, “what if I find a great film crew, get them to film my destination in HD, make it look spectacular, show the very best parts of what my area has to offer, e.g. the best sites, hotels, food, weather, etc. and then I take it to channel 663, and plead with them to run it”.
They, channel 663, are only too thrilled to have great content for free to show.
And all those people in America sitting on their couch are kicking back, and suddenly find themselves immersed in this great travel experience. They, e.g. the viewers, suddenly forget about little items like the hassle of getting through airport security, miserable airlines, awful food or non-existent food on planes, uncomfortable seats, jet lag, strange beds, devalued currency, hoping to experience what they have seen on HDTV. And those destinations who have broken the code will generate great business, and only get better. And the rest, will suffer.
And by way of a little postscript, I have also been watching a dynamite series on Public Television, called In Search of Shakespeare, hosted by a very engaging guy named Michael Wood. This series ran originally in 2004. I missed it, but this go around I have found it to be dazzling. But watching through the prism of my thoughts on travel, I can tell you I am ready to head to England when the weather gets better, and what public television needs to be selling at the end of each of the four episodes are tickets to walk through the same sites in England that are featured in this series as the travel components are dazzling.
A friend said and what happens when you see places you don’t like, and my response was, I just think of the time and money I have saved not going there.