TV stinks.

At my house we have the digital cable & music package, internet, phone, blah blah blah. The television channels are numerous with approximately 80 HD choices, and a few hundred non-HD. As for my family, we pretty much stick to the HD channels for viewing. (It’s too painful to watch standard def on an HD set.)

With so many channels to choose from, isn’t it amazing how difficult it is to find something interesting to watch? Most of the network choices are simply wasteland.

And 3D-TV is not going to make TV-life any better, either. Not enough people are going to buy 3D TVs (or the ridiculous glasses you need to watch it). Eventually, networks will stop producing 3D programs (too much cost for too little benefit) and they’ll admit it was a good effort that failed.

The good news for advertisers is that there are indeed people that watch TV… Plenty of people still watch their favorite shows, and advertisers can still reach those eyeballs.

As bad as television is, it’s the future of TV that excites me. Over the next few months, companies like Apple and Google will be selling tons of Apple TV and Google TV devices that will begin the process of making our TV watching more internet-based. Google TV for example will allow us to search a subject, on-screen, while the results of the search come from broadcast, cable, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc. Being able to watch a TV show, and then a related YouTube video, back to back on the same screen, will be great.

But it gets better… Within a couple of years the videos and shows that we watch will almost entirely be coming from our internet connection, and not necessarily the cable networks. Our cable boxes (as we know them now) will become web browser hardware with a DVR built in. Soon thereafter, these boxes will simply be built into the TVs themselves. Internet connection comes into the house > modem > router > TV. And I will venture to guess that a few years later, wireless connections from cell phone companies will take over. Then it will be Wireless Company > TV device, end of story.

(A side benefit there is that you will pay one data connection that will cover your mobile phone / device, and your household internet needs, which will include your video / TV.

But it gets even better… The videos and commercials that we currently watch on TV are just, well, plain video, and they are not interactive. But as soon as we are watching TV through the internet (and not the cable wire) those videos will be served up as Flash / HTML5 (or similar) files. That allows them to be interactive. That means that you’ll be able to click on the actor’s red shirt and see where it is for sale. It means that you will be able to click on the Eiffel Tower and research its history.

This becomes computerized and possible thanks to Google’s work with images, Google Goggles, and their recent purchase of company whose technology recognizes items within images and creates a consumer-driven index.

In the future, TV commercials will be micro-web-sites with all sorts of things to click on, forms to fill out, buttons to request more info, etc. The commercials themselves will be customized to our viewing habits, history, preferences, age, gender, geography, etc. The commercial I see will be different than the commercial my next door neighbor sees…

TV will still stink. But I am honestly looking forward to clicking on an actor’s shirt to “find out more.”