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 myvideo.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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