The television was the first screen to appear in our home, yet it has become the last to connect to the Internet.
The first “connected” TV and Blu-ray players appeared in 2008 and, from the outset, they merely offered basic and limited content portals. They couldn’t do more because the processors inside a TV were designed to process images; they were never intended to run the software or apps we use on the Internet. So the “connected TV” was – and still is – slow, complicated and limited in its capacity to drive change.
Smart TV disrupts things, however, sporting fully capable browsers which flawlessly present the Internet videos and applications that we use daily. It enables genuinely new interactive and Internet-centric television experiences.
Immediate benefits of having fully Internet-capable TVs go far beyond being able to browse the web. Of course there are apps, games and huge social networking implications – and I’ll cover these in future blogs. Hugely significant though, is that media conglomerates no longer determine which content will and will not be available on our TV sets. No longer confined to schedules, we can watch on demand.
Smart TV introduces a virtuous circle, which gives consumers a lot more freedom and choice, whilst also enablingcontent creators to reach new, global audiences.
Would be script-writers, playwrights, experts, comedians and a lot of other talent is entering the fray and producing innovative content for emerging audiences. We saw the dawn of this activity a couple of years ago with Joss Whedon’s Dr Horrible which according to a great blog on Forbes.com “[took] six days, no budget and a lot of talent. Out came millions of viewers, brisk sales, and an Emmy”. There are others too, like The Guild and Web Therapy.
Now that we are free to watch such content on our TV sets, the creative floodgates have been opened. Check out the Laugh Factory or the Onion News Network for example (preferably from your smart TV!) These content creators are now able to directly reach huge audiences, niche or otherwise, on a global scale without having to worry about whether they’ll be able to sell their content to a TV network in order for it to get viewed. See what Black Eyed Peas frontman has to say about it in this interview with will.i.am.
Smart TV also enables an entire new line of independent broadcasters. Revision 3 calls itself “the leading television network for the internet generation”. smibs.tv has just materialised “for people with a passion”… there are many others. Finally the .tv domain can live up to its destiny (sorry, Tuvaluans!)
Content publishing is no longer in the hands of a select few. As more and more viewers have the means to easily watch Internet programming on the TV, more innovative broadcasts will emerge.
And the more content that exists, the easier it will be for smart TVs to bring you content tailored to your preferences… so they’ll keep getting smarter.