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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