3 years ago, I posted a few thoughts about IPTV, echoing positive feedback from customers on our “TV on-demand” service: IPTV, the television of the 21st century!
I spoke there about IPTV 2 radical diffentiators:
- IPTV establishes a unique and interactive link with households;
- IPTV is intrinsically linked to the Internet world.
As this analysis ended also with “Convergence with the Internet” chapter, one might say it was like the premises of what we call Smart TV in 2010. Smart TV, in a similar way that we speak of Smart Phones, is bringing the Internet over TV through devices such as connected TV, latest generation set top boxes, and connected game consoles.
It’s Christmas time now, and my children are preparing their wish list for Santa Claus. Well, I am no more a great believer in Santa Claus, but here’s my wish list about what should be my Smart TV!
- Smart TV is still a TV, a better TV: it’s a playful entertainment centered device;
- Smart TV is “all-in-one”, meaning it inludes all advanced TV services: Live TV, EPG, PVR, VoD, TV Replay, Media Centre, Blu-ray reader;
- Smart TV builds experiences on-top-of TV, blending Internet with TV, drawing to me content coming from the digital world, related to what I’m watching: Smart TV is broadcaster friendly as it extends the viewer experience with the channel universe;
- I don’t search my Smart TV for content: content is bubbling up to me, based on my viewer profile, and catching recommandations from my social network; the system knows me, it serves me the latest episode of the serie I’m a fan of;
- Smart TV accomodates collective and individual TV usage;
- Smart TV creates connected experiences across devices: Smart Phone and Tablet become my TV companions; Tablet and Smart Phone are not only control device for TV, they are media devices in itself: they enable instant access anywhere, and supporting transmedia narratives and Live companioning; it’s another opportunity for the broadcast channels to recapture the interest of young people through the development of real time interaction around TV shows;
- Smart TV offers interactive TV Apps and gaming, extending TV experience, moving from monologue to dialogue and adressing multitaskers; it gives the opportunity to bring other players to the TV screen: online video, photo & music, social network services, casual gaming, information services, enhanced video search and access to relevant websites;
- Smart TV opens the window for full Web browsing with TV-adapted interaction;
- Smart TV is more than ever emotional: it creates immersed experiences, leveraging on gesture motion control, 3D content, and 3D user interface;
- Smart TV brings closer my friends and family through video call and communication services.
“You may say I’m a dreamer”, as first implementation of Smart TV in connected devices are not exactly in line with my expectations: they are functionally limited, for example not TV enabled (Apple TV, Netflix, Vudu, Boxee), they are Internet centric, with no relation with current TV viewing (Yahoo! widgets), or they are bringing Internet habits on the TV through customer unfriendly experience (Google usability not included, Google TV: Welcome to Beta testing). Recent Freebox Révolution seems a lot more promising: neverthesless it is still not very transmedia, TV and Web being two seperate world, not blended in an extensive experience as I believe they should be.
Other players might go the other way, bringing TV usage into the Internet world: when one sees how Zynga games have met massive succes through Facebook access, one can imagine the attractiveness of Facebook TV app in the future.
The good news to make my wishes come true is that we are working hard at Orange on a Smart TV product, called SoTV. We design it in an open innovation way, with an Orange core team and with the support of Intel and other remarkable international partners: bold and original, they deliver world changing contributions. Through this leadership platform (encompassing changes to distribution channels, customer experience, processes optimization and business models refinment), we wish to build confluence on this framework with multiple service operators and device manufacturers.
The potential to generate new revenue streams is huge: pay video services, TV apps, interactive advertising mixing the impact of full screen TV ads and targeting & tracking of the Internet, et cetera.
So no doubt that current Smart TV achievements will rapidly iterate and move to a completely TV-designed experience, giving simply and rapidly access to an infinite of content and services: to be successful, Smart TV will have to center aroud the viewer experience.
Now the bet are open: will Smart TV meet the same speed of adoption that its glorious previous Smart Phone cousin is currently experiencing? Hanging over the 75 millions iPhone sales in 3 years will be my last wish!