1) Online video will eat TV:
Year after year, we’ve seen the amount of time people spend watching TV hold steady, even as online video consumption slowly grows. Next year will be the first year this trend reverses. Of course, we won’t stop watching network TV altogether, but the shift will be big enough for people to take notice. Shifting viewing behavior will largely be prompted by more professionally produced content coming online, but there’s also going to be a significant push towards streaming professional live entertainment online, and millions of devices in people’s houses will finally pay off for Netflix, YouTube and co.
2) Xmas will be exciting: We’ve been doing a holiday gift guide for cord cutters at GigaOM for three years now, and I’m the first one to admit that there has been some repetition over the years. Apple TV and Roku, in particular, have been safe bets, and newcomers haven’t been offering that much to set themselves apart from the pack. That’s going to change in 2013, however — Google TV is going to see more momentum, Boxee will hustle to make Boxee TV a success, and one or two dark horses will come in and attempt to change everything.
3) There will be a viable third way between full-on cable and completely cutting the cord: There has been lots of talk in the past couple of months about consumers wanting to unbundle cable and just subscribe to HBO online. That won’t happen next year either, but we will see some significant steps in that direction. Over-the-air TV will play a big role, and local players will find some interesting loopholes, allowing them to experiment. And by the end of the year, we are going to see some subscription services for live TV that will look a bit like cable, only cheaper and more innovative — even without HBO.