YouTube XL heads for big TVs (and a $76 billion ad market)

Ever wonder why you can’t get the internet on your TV set? Technologists will explain that humans have three distance fields for receiving communication — intimate, the phone in your hand; personal, the 24 inches between you and a laptop screen; and communal, the 10 feet between you and your big TV set in the basement. It all goes back to ancient communications — intimate whispers, personal face to face, and community displays around a campfire — and because the internet fits into the personal distance and TV is the campfire tribal entertainment, well, the two won’t marry.

Or it could be cash. Broadcast television takes in nearly $50 billion a year in ad revenue, and cable another $26 billion — so a $76 billion entertainment industry isn’t very interested in risking it all to let you get free internet videos over your television set.

YouTube is shaking that up in a big way. It announced this week a YouTube XL service to easily provide sharp video in large-screen formats, with a simple hookup from your computer to your television monitor. Greg Sandoval at CNET has a fine review of the service.

Our bet? Google has its eyes on some of that $76 billion in big-screen advertising.

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