No, the Smart TV Isn’t ‘Dead’

Derived from Internal on Sep 13, 2011

An interesting article on Smart TVs by Jim Louderback, derived from Adage.

For something so depressingly final, journalists sure do love death. Whenever there’s a slow news day, or a blogger needs to juice her numbers, the imminent demise of something shiny, new or sacred gets trumpeted from the ramparts.

The latest obituary? Smart TVs. A few days ago, Wired reporter Christina Bonnington penned a story where she tied two outlier OTT failures with a doom-and-gloom Forrester analyst and started hammering in the coffin nails. Analyst James McQuivey’s incendiary, yet logically inconsistent quote “This will end up being one of the most successful flops in … consumer tech” fanned the flames around the blogosphere, with many rushing to either defend of destroy the smart TV space.

Jeremy Toeman, channeling Monty Python, penned one of the more rational responses, talking about the challenges for smart-TV adoption, but claiming that it was nowhere near time to start pining for the fjords.

But in the end, neither argument really matters. Sure, Viewsonic was unable to build a cost-effective TV around Boxee’s hardware-hungry software. And yes, the first Google TV was a disaster.    And we all know Forrester’s legendary media training leads to just those sorts of headline-grabbing gibberish.

But all this focus on smart TVs ignores the reality of what’s happening in the connected screen space. It’s not about how smart one particular type of screen will be. The real revolution is in how all these many screens work together to create a new type of viewing experience — and new types of consumer expectations.

Look around you. Within a few years every glowing rectangle you see will be “smart” in some way. Every screen will be connected to the internet, and will serve up a wide variety of services — from motion video to real-time data, games, news feeds and much more.

It doesn’t matter whether one particular screen type will be a savant or a simpleton. Instead, it’s all about infusing smarts across the entire range of screens we interact with every day.

In the end, “session shifting” will be a far more powerful, and long-lasting game changer than whether your TV can join Mensa. Here at Revision3, our viewers have spoken loud and clear:  screen size and type don’t matter, the experience does.

Our viewers — the early adopters who are setting technology and lifestyle trends for the next 20 years — want to seamlessly move their video-viewing sessions, their gaming sessions and their video-chat sessions to whichever screen is the best available at that time — from the smallest smartphone to the biggest smart TV — and every screen in between.

And that sort of screen-based independence sounds a lot more like a cloud service than something with wicked smarts at the end-points.

So the next time someone talks about the “death” of this screen or that, you can safely ignore the debate. Because as session shifting becomes as important as time and place shifting, the smarts will move to the network — and even dunderhead devices will become integral parts of these new Smart Session Shifting Services (say that three times fast!).

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