TV sets and online experience

It seems that TV sets that offer some form of web con­nec­tivity are the latest craze, right next with the 3D stuff that is not yet ready for con­sump­tion, at least to my mind. I say web con­nec­tivity because it’s about the web more than it is about inter­net con­nec­tivity — the TV sets are even a far cry from fully giving you a decent brow­ser expe­ri­ence, let alone thin­king about other pro­to­cols or app­li­ca­ti­ons. Not that this is neces­sa­rily a bad thing — but one still should be honest about what kind of expe­ri­ence a device is deli­ve­r­ing.
What this is about, though, is that youtube is not enough. Of course it’s fun to look at various video clips and that one site is very rich in all the con­tent it offers. Maybe, if the manu­fac­tu­rer is kind, they’ll also include other online video sys­tems (vimeo, ustream​.tv, or seven­load and myvi​deo​.de in Ger­many) But as we all know, the web is fil­led with so many more oppor­tu­nities. Being in the ger­man TV mar­ket, I also want to be able to look at the online video offe­rings of the local TV sta­ti­ons; inci­den­tally that also requi­res a Flash player on the device. I pre­sume that other mar­kets will have other offe­rings that the con­su­mer might be inte­res­ted in — a con­stant, steady battle for the manu­fac­tu­rer if the want to fol­low this all. And then, there’s video pod­casts, there’s strea­ming stuff com­ing up that we don’t yet even dream about. A night­mare to keep cur­rent, even more of a night­mare if you have to keep pus­hing updates to the sets at the con­su­mers con­stantly.
So we have esta­blis­hed that the requi­re­ments for the TV online expe­ri­ence are high: Flash player, a decent full brow­ser to sup­port all the various offe­rings, a good update path to get new ver­si­ons released (just ima­gine if IE6 had been dis­tri­bu­ted with every TV set that a cer­tain manu­fac­tu­rer ship­ped five years ago, with no clear way for the cust­o­mer to update). I think we’re get­ting dan­ge­rously close to having a full ope­ra­ting sys­tem on the TV set. And then we haven’t even tou­ched inte­gra­ting the nor­mal TV ser­vices, video on demand, time-lapse watching, new ideas about pay per view.
Watching a home enter­tain­ment sys­tem for the living room cer­tainly won’t be get­ting easier!

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