LAS VEGAS – Smart TV is turning out to be a slow learner, through no fault of its own.
As evidenced at CES here on Monday (Jan. 7), leading TV makers like LG, Samsung and Panasonic are scrambling to redefine smart TV, adding their own twist to the smart TV platform, with features ranging from magic remote and personalization to speech recognition.
Many of these new developments are simultaneously fascinating and confusing.
The original motivation behind smart TV was that it promised universal content search for TV viewing across Internet, TV broadcast, video-on-demand streaming and social media. Ed Border, senior analyst for TV systems research at IHS, said “the basic need for an environment where consumers can browse all the linear TV and Internet content, and choose one they want to watch” still exists, and “Google, Samsung, LG, Panasonic and others are fighting for this.”
The power of smart TV search “will lie in the content deals and aggregation that platforms can achieve,” explained Border. At a time when smart TV remains fragmented, no one has come up with a smart TV with complete control over the growing amount of content, apps and services.
Rather than drawing more attention to its incomplete video content search capability, smart TV advocates are now shifting focus to peripheral matters like user interfaces.
LG's magic remote
LG Electronics CTO Scott Ahn, for example, observed: “Smart TVs have many smart features. But the way consumers interact with smart TV isn’t smart.” LG's solution is a “magic remote” for its proprietary smart TV. The remote “lets consumers write the numbers to change channels, allows users to speak to the remote instead of a TV, or lets users to do one finger gesture, instead of strenuous arm gestures,” Ahn explained.
LG's magic remote for Google TV.
The flip side of LG's magic remote for Google TV showing QWERTY keyboard.