A keyboard doesn't take the place of other remotes (ie direct tv or uverse) but it does allow good solo operation of web services.. I don't really think that it's necessary to have a universal TV interface. As long as they enable access to the most desired services, that's good enough. I'm still wondering who is actually using apple tv or google tv. I don't understand the value prop...
"The power of smart TV search 'will lie in the content deals and aggregation that platforms can achieve,' explained Border."
Honestly, I'm at a loss why there's this mental block on the subject of smart TVs.
I do agree with those who mentioned features like voice recognition, or other local bells and whistles, although those are also not necessary. But on this content thing, why do people make such a big deal of content, when there already are so many content aggregation sites out there that anyone can use?
Do tablets and smartphones sell because their manufacturers have walled off a lot of content? No. Do HDTVs sell because the manufacturers walled off content? Also no.
People already have their content sources figured out, and anyone who uses Internet TV knows that ever more portals become available over time, without any one CE vendor having to make any special deals with anyone. If anything, it is the attempt at making special deals that have gotten vendors, such as Apple and Google, in trouble with the owners of the TV content, in the past.
Perhaps I misunderstand what the word "platforms" referred to, in the quote.
I took it to mean the smart TVs themselves. If, instead, it refers to Web sites that aggregate TV content, like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, YouTube, the cable and satellite companies themselves, and a long list of other more obscure sites that already exist, then I would agree.
Just making the point that there is no lack of content aggregation on the Internet already. So there's no reason to make it sound like this still neeeds to happen.
I still am not sure I understand your point.
Your answer to this example may help me understand.
I have a show I want to watch, say "No Reservations" by Anthony Bourdain and I have a smart TV (or Roku box, or Blu-ray player with the smart features) and accounts on Netflix, Amazon Prime (streaming) and Vudu.
Using the smart TV features (not a website via a browser), how to I find out 1) if this show is available to watch; 2) which service?
Ideally, I would have some way to type or search for this once, and then a "supervisor" feature would automatically find and start playing the TV show.
Which content aggregation or smart TV feature already provides this?
I have an Xbox, Samsung Smart TV and an Apple TV box. I work abroad and rely on a broadband connection to view TV programs.
I find all these devices are too limited in what you can watch.
Xbox have the right idea with its 24 hour baseball channel but so far that's about it. There are hardly any stations allowing access through the Smart TV.
My question to LG Electronics' CTO Scott Ahn (who says “Smart TVs have many smart features. But the way consumers interact with SmartTV isn’t smart.”) would be: why not get rid of the remote for SmartTV altogether? If your TV is so smart, has built-in camera, why not implement gesture-based and speech-based commands? While you are there, implement facial recognition so I can train my SmartTV to differentiate my commands to those of my kids.
Uggh, just uggh. Until these smart TV's have i3's embedded and run XBMC as the default I'm just not interested.
Gesture and voice control? A remote is faster, more accurate and a hell of a lot easier for me to program.
Streamed gaming services are interesting but my Steam account is better.
I have a smart TV now and the only time I use the "smart" features is when I press the wrong button on my Harmony remote.
@Servase: I agree a remote is faster... my point being (to the appliance makers) don't make things unnecessarily complex. If so many features are crammed into a remote and consumers are expected to 'learn' and adapt to those, then keep those expectations low! As Duane comments below, a good majority could not set the clock on their VCRs!
Gesture and speech-based control today is still primitive. Give it time, they will improve to the point of getting rid of remotes.
I hope I live long enough to have a holodeck in my house -that would be truly an immersive experience!
Sometimes I wonder if the manufacturers consider the majority buyer when decking out TVs with all of these features. The audience of EE-Times may appreciate web access, apps and a remote with a full keyboard on it. In the context of consumer electronics, however, "smart" should mean the the device is smart, not that the user has to be smart.
When VCRs (video cassette recorders for you youngsters) were in every house, the running joke was that no one could program them and most of them spent their days with "12:00" blinking on the front panel, indicating that the clock hadn't even been set.
With a user interface track record like that, I don't expect so called "smart" TV's to gain any more acceptance than 3D TVs have.
Just got a smart TV and they clearly haven't figured it out, yet. It comes with wireless, yet doesn't hardly use it. It's on my LAN (WiFi), and so are all the new Blu-Ray players and Game Boxes, so why do I need HDMI cables any more? Why can't I wirelessly display Windows from my PC on it? The value it brings is a physically large, high definition display that sips electricity and talks WiFi. Why is there a iPhone app that gives me a remote that does the keyboard inputs nicely, but can't talk to my cable box, or my PC? It doesn't have the horsepower to display my iPhone videos without skipping every 2 seconds, and can't (won't?) display my iTunes videos. Finally, where is the Windows PC app?
The quote from the analyst says it all: "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..."
We live in a vast universe of content -- linear content either from a MVPD or streamed from the internet, and on-demand content from the MVPD, from local DVR storage and also from the internet. But to search any of that content, to have any clue about what one might want to watch and how to find it, we still rely on keyboards or black brick remotes filled with buttons, and we rely on multiple portals to do the searching -- everything from a web browser to a primitive hierarchical on-demand menu system to the 1980s-style spreadsheet interface that still dominates program guides.
Smart TV has gone almost nowhere since the day that phrase was invented. It's a shame too, because the market need is there, the content is there and the consumer frustration is there.
Consumers are reminded of this every time they turn on their "smart TV" and realize there are literally millions of things they could potentially watch at that moment, but the vast majority of those things would require some real effort to search, make a decision, and then push all the right buttons to start the delivery process.
Smart consumer, dumb TV.
I see no reason to assume that consumers become brain-dead only when watching TV.
Consumers have become perfectly capable of searching the web for anything they need. There are already TV content aggregation sites aplenty out there, including portals run by each of the major TV networks, and a bunch of others I already mentiuoned above. Plus, new ones seem to pop up on a regular basis. Just search, using any search engine you prefer. Smart TVs should have access to all of this.
As to remotes, how hard is it to provide a wireless mouse and wireless keyboard with the TV? Everyone knows how to use these devices already. What's the big deal?
Once the smart TV owner has set up his "bookmarks" or "favorites," on the TV's browser, he can do all of his channel searching with the mouse alone. Sitting on the couch next to him. This is really, really easy.
My suggestion to everyone out there who's looking for a smart TV, just buy yourself a PC to dedicate to this task. PCs are pretty cheap these days, and HDTVs can very easily be used as the PC monitor. This way, you needn't wait for the CE companies to figure this out.
You're thinking of this like an engineer Bert, and also assuming that consumers will know exactly what they want to watch and how to search for it.
Instead imagine an intelligent assistant -- pardon me if I make the analogy of "Siri for video" -- where a child could ask, for example, to see something about African jungle animals, and the assistant would fetch a list of age-appropriate content on that subject. Or an adult could say "I'm looking for a sci-fi film that came out in the 90s in which the main character is a robot" but he forgets the name of the film.
A mouse and a keyboard for watching TV? That is a non-starter for almost everyone. If I want to go that route, I have a desktop computer in the other room, so why do I even need a TV at all in the main room? Oh yeah, because I want to sit on the sofa, relax and be entertained, and I don't want to expend a lot of effort in the process :)
All true, Frank, but honestly, I've done this and it's so much easier than people might think.
The searching for TV content is done like searching for anything else. No doubt, if people or CE companies get serious about Internet TV, search engines will be tweaked to make this easier. And too, I see no reason to raise the bar so much higher for TV content search than it is for any other search. I found all manner of TV content online, including cool portals no one ever mentions, simply by using Webcrawler. (Note: not insisting that Google is the only search engine.)
As to the remote mouse and keyboard, I can guarantee you that using a mouse is easier and more flexible than a using a typical TV remote. And the keyboard is used very rarely. Mainly, it would be used to set up new bookmarks, or to use the search engine, Once you've got your huge assortment of sites set up, you browse away with the mouse alone, while relaxing on the sofa. Optical mice work perfectly well on a sofa.
Siri is fine too, I'm not saying otherwise. It's just that I don't think the smart TV solution HAS to be dramatically more advanced and sophisticated than what PCs and tablets are capable of, in order to succeed.
Like Bert, I use a PC as a TV interface/portal and exclusively use a keyboard/mouse instead of a dedicated remote control. I think it all comes down as to how you views televisions in the big sense. I gave up on the notion that TV's are passive devices for entertainment. My television is nothing more than an oversized display which means the real power is at the other end of the HDMI cable.
Manufacturers are still clinging onto the old model that "The TV is the is the content source". I'm not going to spend %500 to upgrade it every 18 months because they put new hardware inside for a better YouTube experience. However, if it was an external device for $100, then I might consider it.
Smart TV should learn from Microsoft Xbox.
1) With Xbox you can navigate the menu by pointing in the air (if you buy the external Kinect sensor)
2) Xbox has instant fast user menu (vs Samsung TV menu which is very slow to load)
3) Xbox are gradually rolling out live TV network stations dedicated to sports,news and movies. Smart TV (ref. Samsung) is so far behind in obtaining licensing agreements.
Smart TVs should learn from the Xbox a few lesssons.
1. Having a fast easy to navigate system is good. My Smart TV has tons of built in apps which takes a long time to scroll through to get to the one or two I use. The Xbox has many more capabilities but it move quickly through the menus and has a single place to look for the stuff I actually use.
2. The XBox provide HD and enough power to be the Smart in the Smart TV link. However to watch NetFlix I have to pay Microsoft for a Gold subscription so I can pay NetFlix for the content. Luckily my smart TV can do NetFlix directly but my Smart TV cannot view content outside the walled garden of built in apps because the DLNA capability does not seem to want to work with much of anything.
In my mind the Smart in TVs should be able being about to talk to content sources. The TVs should be able to query the content sources whether it is a Blue-Ray player, an online source, my own server, or a cable box. I should be able to interact with the TV to select the content I want and the TV interacts with the source to get that content.
With some physically limitations of course such as the Disc has to be loaded into the player. But why can't the TV tell the player to play or pause the content. A single remote control because the TV is the center of the human interface.
Instead of spending money on getting licensing deals and adding new apps to a TV, just create a standard interface and protocal to talk with content providers. This allows focusing on improving that one piece of software that talks to any provider who wants to talk.
Outside of the TV world we call this a browser application and it uses the IP protocol to communication with any other computer in the world.
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