Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Connected Home - Solving The Digital Device Dilemma

There is a lot of talk about the portability of content, TV, PC, Blackberry, Phone, but how about the ability to simply move it effortlessly inside your own home. Record a show on one TV set in the living room to watch on another in the bedroom; move your songs from the pc to play on your kitchen speakers; Call your Tivo to remember to record a show. We are clearly in the early stages and it is clear the technology must operate under a common language to work most efficiently.

One idea that is just coming to fruition are using the cable backbone to connect phone with TV. When a phone call comes in, the TV displays the number, letting you know who is calling before getting out of your seat to answer the phone. Its a first step, but it recognizes the potential of connected devices. It is how cable operators can maintain a foothold on content, especially when it involves an interactive experience. And as these devices and interactions get more complex with the multitude of devices to connect, service provided by the cable operator can be its greatest asset. Most people are tech savvy and need devices that are plug and play; at the same time, they need to know they have an expertise readily at hand to support them if trouble arises. Per Apple's Steve Jobs, "The digital living room should come with the warning 'some assembly required,' he said. It's not an easy thing to set up, as evidenced by the number of people who buy high-definition (HD) television sets, hook them up incorrectly and can't use the service as intended."

As we keep putting more digital devices into our home, connecting them together becomes a necessary next step in this changing entertainment landscape.

Sony Pictures Puts ‘Pineapple Express’ iTunes Download on DVD, Blu-ray

How do you impact the revenue of dvd sales. Differentiation has helped - alternate endings, shorts, games, and other added features. Blu-ray came next, a better picture to complement your HD TV. But dvd sales have been declining as consumers are renting rather than buying content. VOD and streaming have replaced dvd purchases. Well Sony seems to see the writing on the wall and if you can't beat them, join them. Consumers want choice and cable operators have shown that bundling works. The result, is a dvd purchase gives you the stream for free. "The two-disc DVD and Blu-ray Disc offerings of Pineapple Express will include a free download of the film from iTunes, in addition to a downloadable digital copy for PCs or the PlayStation Portable." It is that flexibility that might just breathe new life into the dvd revenue stream. Consumers are seeking mobility and flexibility and Sony seems to be delivering it to them.