Today’s consumers are demanding seamless digital content and entertainment across multiple platforms. This desire has taken content delivery from PC to mobile and now beyond. Today’s modern family is so plugged in that the next natural progression – to tap the biggest screen in the home, the TV – is happening even more quickly than one might expect.
In fact, CES 2011 was dubbed by many as the show of the ‘connected home,’ with Smart TV leading the charge. As we’re now a few months into the year, is 2011 still the year of the Smart or connected TV?
Now that we are also mid-year, the smart TV is definitely happening with every major manufacturer getting in the fray. More and more apps are coming to Smart TVs. Google announced support for the Android market on Google TV for later this year (the Logitech Revue will feature this capability). Roku just announced that Angry Birds will be available on its devices. Even Apple announced you can connect the iPad to a TV through the Apple Digital AV Adapter and most recently using wireless video mirroring thru Airplay. And the list could go on.
In addition to all of this, for the first time in the history of television, live TV itself is becoming connected and interactive. And it is not just happening on the television but on the second screen, like your smartphone or your tablet. It is called Social TV.
While Internet connectivity has brought more content, more apps, and more capabilities such as video calling, your Internet-connected second screens have brought a new kind of interactivity to the television – especially to event-based or live television. Consumers are using second screens and applications to discover content more easily and to participate in live shows with tweets, Facebook posts, voting and recommendations.
Ultimately smartphones and tablets are enabling experiences that allow the user to get more out of their existing TV service.
Which screen will be used for which apps? We think in general, apps that are less private and can be used in a shared way will win on the television. For example, I may enjoy a show or gaming app with the entire family on my HDTV. However, apps that are more personal, such as updating your personal Facebook status, sending an e-mail or paying bills, will be used on the second screen.
One activity happening on the second screen today is using an app to ‘check in’ to the shows you’re watching. By checking in, you can easily get information on the second screen (e.g. smartphone or tablet) related to the show in question. In fact, there are dozens of start-ups – companies such as Miso, Getglue, Into-Now – that are trying to be the “FourSquare” of TV land.
Problem is it’s still too complex to check in. As we realized in the Harmony business, people want seamless access to their content – they don’t want to do discrete steps to tell their devices what they are watching. Much like how your Internet browser automatically detects your location, the connected home should automatically check you in provided you’ve given it permission.
Much like any new CE device, consumer adoption will flourish when the opportunity is right, and this ‘right-time’ will be when content is abundant, varied and engaging. We’re clearly on the right path and the evolution of platforms like Google TV will continue throughout the year.
So 2011 is actually shaping up to be beyond the year of the Connected Television. It’s turning out as the year of “connectivity around the television.” And Logitech is evolving right alongside these platforms, innovating across many aspects of this new category.