Over at Mashable there’s a post entitled “3 Issues Hindering the Spread of Connected TV” and I couldn’t help but read it and say “well that most certainly needs a counterpoint.” Actually I said something more dramatic but I tend not to type in pottymouth. Anyhow, I couldn’t disagree more with the concept that Connected TV (aka Smart TV) is doing anything other than growing in a massive way. Counterpoint begins… Now!
1. The Guts.
An HDTV set is much like a computer, with a “brain” inside that does HD decoding, processing, etc. Only a few companies make said guts, topped by ATI, Broadcom, and to a lesser degree, Intel. And all of those companies have effectively put WiFi inside the guts. And, the WiFi components are inconsequential to the COGS of making a TV (as opposed to 3D, which is actually costly to include). In other words - virtually every TV manufactured in the future will have WiFi built in, much like cell phones with bluetooth or laptops with webcams.
2. The Content.
I’m not even going to bother finding a link to substantiate the following statement: literally every day the amount of online content made available and consumed increases. Since content is king (and queen, knight, and even rook), and the offering of content directly to Connected TVs (aka Over-The-Top or OTT) is increasing, the inherent value of having a Connected TV is increasing constantly. And, unlike 3D where title availability can be measured in numbers that my 4-year-old can count, even non-techie folks know there’s a ton of stuff to watch online.
3. The Infrastructure.
Let me phrase this bluntly: every single player involved in the TV space is pushing for Connected TVs. Cable companies, TV manufacturers, content owners, startups, advertisers, retailers, game consoles, etc are all betting on it, and betting big. Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo all have platform offerings for manufacturers to use. Intel, Best Buy, Netflix, and Amazon are putting amazing resources out there to get consumers aware of the products. Apple? Yes. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to find a major player in the (roughly) Two Hundred Billion Dollar industry that we call television who is not playing ball in some way, even if just in trials.
Since this post is a rebuttal, I’ve kept my list to three. I’m pretty sure it could go to twelve (thought I was going to say eleven, didn’t you?), but that’d be unfair. I will acknowledge it may take a decent amount of time to get consumers to actually go through the hurdles of connecting these devices, but that’s not going to slow down the products themselves. In fact, that piece alone is just one of the many, many opportunities ahead in Connected TV. That and fixing some of the amazingly terrible interfaces virtually all the companies are offering consumers. And better control. And better content. And improved social. And… well, maybe there’s a few good startups left to build, eh? :)
ps – blogging feels good, glad to stretch the muscles. I’m back baby!