Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Who Needs A Smart TV?

With so much video content accessible on the web, we all need our TV's to be smart, but we may not need smart TVs.  In a new book on Steve Jobs, we are hearing a different story regarding his interest in selling a smart HDTV.  Where the Isaacson biography said it was part of Job's vision, the latest book says it was not the future for Jobs or Apple, because of little profit margin and product longevity.

I have always felt that Apple shouldn't invest in a TV set; make monitors of many sizes, but an integrated, smart, cable ready HDTV set, no.  A smart TV becomes less important with the release of many connected products that can turn any monitor into a smart TV.  First is the Apple TV box, rumored to be refreshed shortly, that connects to an iTunes library, and other web content.  We also have the Google Chromecast and Roku stick, plus gaming platforms from Microsoft and Sony and of course TiVo.  And now more news of a connected device from Amazon, long rumored and possibly a must have device for Amazon Prime subscribers. 

With so many connected devices, who needs to upgrade their TV set to a smart TV?  Unless marketing can demonstrate to the consumer that a smart TV can deliver a better user experience, unlike what they could get from these other boxes, dongles, and sticks, then the added costs may not be justified.  Plus, it is about the content and the device that better connects to the sources of that content that matters most to the consumer.  Deliver with it a better search experience and recommendation engine, sharing and availability across all your viewing devices, and you have a very valuable connected device.  With Amazon's box launch, competition will only get fiercer.