I've just found out about the Blinkx and Miniweb deal from the Guardian's article "Blinkx moves into telly with new set-top box deal".

Blinkx is the rather astonishing video search engine that emerged from Cambridge University (with some confusing ties to Autonomy), and Miniweb is into "next generation TV" with their platform already powering set-top boxes in over 9 million homes according to their website.

Now you will be able to search through 35 million hours of video from your sofa. Cool, although you might be running dry as you approach your 4,000th birthday, although one would hope some more content will have been indexed by then.

But that's not the point.

Just over four years ago I posted a blog about "myChannel" which described a future without, effectively, any channels as we know them today. Or to put it another way, if there's 7 billion of us on this planet then there are 7 billion channels.  Everyone has their own.

myChannel will be created bespoke based on a customisable combination of four sources...

  1. My subscriptions (which will have to include The Wire and the TED talks)
  2. My friends, or at least the ones I think share similar interests and taste
  3. Automated "if you like that you'll like this" discovery
  4. Commercially driven suggestions, the "sponsored link" to number 3's "organic results"

The channel will adapt its recommendations based on...

  1. My recent flags (eg, "guitar" indicates I'm starting a new hobby)
  2. The device I'm using
  3. The day of the week and time of day - it learns my routine and anticipates my needs
  4. My mood / willingness to interact, learn or just be entertained
  5. Prior selections / recent browser history
  6. My location
  7. My company - who I'm with

The Blinkx - Miniweb isn't the only nod to this reality as any Spotify fan or ardent iPlayer user will testify. The only thing we have to work out is whether it will be funded by interruption of my consumption and interaction with intrusive and 'non-skippable' (albeit personalised) adverts, or by my paying a 'utility' to host and serve the channel for me.

The turmoil in business models between the general situation four years ago to a myChannel future has been the topic of past convergence conversations, and will be again no doubt!