The TV ecosystem really is a mess. What I am talking about is the way consumers can easily consume OTT content on their TV set.
I myself use Apple TV and I mostly love it. I can throw anything from my iOS device onto it, I can buy things from iTunes, and I can use some of the apps on it to watch things but I must say I don’t use it that way much. I have played with Google Chromecast and it works well. If only Google would open it up like Apple TV to developers to cast to it. It is funny to me that in this regard Apple is currently more OPEN than Google.
I was reading Benedict’s latest Mobile newsletter for this nugget:
YouTube ‘Pair’ – turn the YouTube app on your smart TV into a mirror to whatever you do on your smartphone. This approach seems to me to make the most sense – use the sophisticated touch screen in your hand to control what appears on the TV and make the TV itself ‘dumb glass’ – whether it’s via Airplay, Chromecast, YouTube or something else, either embedded or via a cheap HDMI widget.
What I love is the dumb glass comment. This is really what we all want. The ability to easily throw on to the glass whatever we are doing on our mobile phone, computer, tablet, or device connected to the TV. What we don’t want is to click a button, with this shitty remote, to bring up a plethora of things we don’t want, and an app store that is hard to search saddled with the performance of a 1990’s computer. Looking at you all the Smart TV platforms in the world.
Sure – maybe someone wants this but I think it is mostly just the TV manufacturers wishing for an app store economy like what Apple and Google have but they can keep dreaming because they will never have it. And FYI – the economics they demand from the developers are worse usually than what Apple and Google offer. So the pitch is not very good. For example – asking for a cut of payments when they don’t even offer the payment engine.
So where do we go from here? I expect the TV guys to keep pushing since they seem to claiming successes like this: http://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2014/01/06/samsung-declares-a-million-smart-uk-users/#more-96531
However I am guessing we will see more of Apple TV and Google chromecast, Roku and everything else trying to cut out the TV for something easier to use. Of course Roku is trying to land inside the TV but the end result is the same. Problem with all this stuff is there is no real cross platform standard to adhere to. Google does it one way, Apple another, Samsung another and of course Roku uses their own stack through and through. I won’t even get into what each TV stack has – every set is like a totally different platform. HTML 5 is the tool but requires a lot of cross platform troubleshooting.
Users want to walk up to their screen and just watch shit. Purpose built boxes help make this easier and Google with Android TV is making this a very possible reality. Apple needs to open up Apple TV to apps and speed up their position in the home cause Google is moving faster than Apple right now when it comes to the home. Looks no further than the Nest acquisition as an example of that. My guts says the Apple users will have an Apple home and the Google users will have a Google home. Of course Microsoft could disrupt this with X Box but it is not really open enough in my opinion.
Users want to stream on their TV – right now this is a mess.
Let’s see what happens next.