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What Makes GBTV Fundamentally Different? How About Cutting-Edge Technology


"I don't know anybody under 30 who is watching television the way I watched television."

Glenn Beck's trademark chalkboard will bring familiarity to GBTV but it is one of many things that also may have a high-tech twist on the show, which launches today at 5 p.m.

In partnership with Major League Baseball, which is known for its live streaming technology, GBTV is working with innovative and proven technology to deliver the best experience to its users, Vice President of Technology Greg Waugh said.

"MLB has always been pushing the envelope of what's cutting-edge," Waugh said. "They have a reputation in the industry as consistently being at the forefront."

"We are producing content at a level that is superior to our delivery system, although eventually that will catch up. What sets us apart is that we've built this entire network like a TV station. This is not just a radio station with a video camera."

But just what's different?

Start with the fact that users will be able to catch GBTV -- a 24-hour-a-day streaming station running original content -- live anywhere there is an Internet connection. That means despite it being "online," you can watch it in more "traditional" ways like on your television through devices such as Roku.

Roku simulates a traditional TV experience but provides "channels" through a connection with the Internet. Some channels are free whereas others, such as GBTV, are subscription only.

Have Roku and need to set it up? Watch this:

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GBTV will also available outside of the family room. A GBTV app provides full access for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. Waugh said GBTV could be available on other platforms someday as well.

The tech world has been brewing over the concept of a la carte programming for a few years now. In fact, an article in Tech News Daily in December 2010, predicts, as Beck has noted, that the shift has already begun with the 18-34 demographic:

Jim Louderback of online video service Revision3 stated that the future of digital entertainment will depend on the decisions made by today’s 18-to 34-year-olds. He predicted that the days of paying $100 or more per month for a satellite or cable subscription are coming to an end because many in this key demographic are“cutting the cord” — seeking free or low-cost ways to access the same programming at their convenience.

Louderback noted that the 18-34 demographic is accustomed to having everything in their lives conform to "the Burger King experience” — having what they want, how they want it, and when they want it.

. . .

Furthermore, this group isn’t obsessed with having the biggest big-screen TV, he added. Instead, they want to do their viewing on the best screen available at the time, no matter where they are.

Bad experiences with streaming lengthy content through the Internet have been rampant before. But no matter your Internet speed -- slow or fast -- GBTV's technology makes the most of your bandwidth. NexDef, a downloadable software developed by MLB, helps maximize your Internet speed for the best streaming possible. This means avoiding the whole pause-load-play experience you've dealt with in the past.

"If you're in the desert with one bar and you're watching GBTV, the technology will know to only play the audio," Waugh explained. "The technology is designed to give you the best experience in every possible situation, whether you're on your iPhone with one bar or watching on your big screen TV with Roku."

Currently, you can sign up for a free 14-day membership or one of two subscription options that will allow you to take part in the GBTV experience.

And just in case you're wondering, Beck isn't the only one moving to GBTV -- his chalkboard is also making the jump. But it might look a little different, as it got a little upgrade and appears to be a three-sided. Now the question is: Will it rotate on air tonight?

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