I’m excited by the future of TV more so than this blog may suggest. I want to be able to create content that will change the way we interact with TV. I have a few problems though. Some of my gripes are quite basic, others are to do with content and the fragmented landscape we are currently faced with. I have put everything that annoys me about connected television in it’s entirety in a blog post. Not the most succinct thing I have ever done but I would like to know if you share any of my views. In real life I’m a very happy person.
1.) The TV sets themselves. Basic problem – I don’t know if your TV comes with a remote control or a keyboard or some trippy mixture of the two. This could at least help most people understand what it is. If I want to go on Facebook via my TV am I meant to telepathically impregnate my TV set with text? Probably not. What tools will you give me to type with?
I am being antagonistic however if you go on various high street websites, you will be hard pressed to find one that explains succinctly what internet enabled television is, never mind show you the remote controls. It is about creating a picture for the millions of people in this country who aren’t tech savvy, who don’t work in digital, who don’t read blogs like this. They will be the one’s buying the TV’s too. They will be the tipping point for this television revolution to happen. Brands need to start communicating their products in a more coherent way to the masses.
2.) The current landscape is complicated. Here is a brief summary.
At the moment there is Sony who have partnered with Google TV to produce TV sets that support the platform.
Virgin Media’s Tivo can be used with any TV as long as you have Virgin Broadband. Obviously.
Samsung TV has it’s own TV and it’s own apps, Panasonic ditto, and Apple TV. Thinking about Apple TV for too long makes this situation even more confusing. So let’s forget about that for now.
There is probably more I have not mentioned including Boxee and Toshiba. Who probably have their own apps too. Yawnz.
Oh, and a few days ago Lochitech ended it’s partnership with Google TV. Bad news. Good news- LG Electronics are said to be in talks with Google TV to produce a TV set equipped with Google TV.
3.) Mobile apps/ ipad apps for social TV.
This isn’t so much a problem, but I’ll just say it anyway. I love the innovation, however it does confuse things slightly. There are various apps out there at the moment (mainly in the US) that allow the user to comment on TV shows. You log into them and connect via Facebook and Twitter. A few of these apps ConnecTV, Get Glu (this is also available in the UK) have partnered with broadcasters. They exploit our recently discovered pechant for a ‘second screen’ experience.
I.e You have your iphone/ipad/other device with you whilst you are watching the TV and comment on it accordingly using their platform.
There is no industry standard app available. Companies are vying for this position. Also, will these mobile/iPad apps become apps on TV sets too? What one shall we use? Surely Twitter and Facebook realise the potential that their platforms have for sharing thoughts on TV programmes? So doesn’t that mean that a 3rd party app will become redundant when Twitter and Facebook launch apps specifically for those with an internet connected TV?
4.) Lack of knowledge hinders innovation. What if everybody in TV understood the potential?
We can only create truly innovative programmes when we have the tools and audience exposure to do so and at the moment the market seems too fragmented and confused. Creating content, airing it on television, then sticking it on YouTube all whilst have a social media strategy is not new. It’s called brand reach and should be standard procedure these days. Branded content exists both on television (Fosters adverts etc) and online YouTube (American Express etc) so this is not a new concept.
Whilst we continue to create exciting formats that utilise social media, we should also be testing the new technologies out there. The games industry is very good at this, they are constantly testing and building new software. Look at Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360. This motion sensor device was the fastest selling consumer electronics device EVER. It allows them to create really interesting games that tell wonderful stories.
Imagine if we looked beyond twitter for a moment, beyond all the integration that connected TV’s supposedly allow for, and think about voice recognition, meta tags and motion sensors being integrated into television formats. Imagine what we could create for television audiences then. We need technologists and TV producers to make friends.