The future for TV viewing will be Internet-connected televisions. You’ll be able to check your email on the television, make a dinner reservation at a local restaurant, play an online game of Scrabble, or send a tweet, all via your living room TV screen.
You’ll run everything not with a remote, but with a viewing-guide application on your touchscreen tablet computer, such as an iPad or an Android-based tablet, or maybe on a touchscreen-enabled smart-phone. And, several years from now, you won’t even need a control device — you’ll be able to use hand and body gestures similar to the ones now used for the Microsoft Kinect gaming system. And those just-released movies playing in the theater will be available immediately on your home screen too.
And it’s all because of a competition to be the one in charge of the consumer TV experience among Internet companies like Google, TV manufacturers like Sony and Samsung, and TV content providers liked Dish TV and Comcast. nbc/activate It’s expected there will be the same revolution in television viewing as occurred for cellphones with the transition from simple flip-phones to complex smart-phones that can run thousands of applications.
At the recent International Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, television sets that connect to the Internet by themselves were the standouts of the show. In 2010, such televisions accounted for about 25% of all new TV sales; it’s expected they’ll be 75% of all sales by 2015.
The definition of an App TV is that it is a television that becomes “smart” because of its Internet connection and offers applications and services to complement TV content. For example, Dish TV will be providing additional instant details on players, teams, standings, etc., for televised sporting events via Android-based applications that run on computer tablets and smart-phones.
TV manufacturers are getting in on the game. Sony Television products now include the Google TV. But Samsung is not far behind. Besides an online television application store, Samsung is offering Video-On Demand access in the UK for portals from movies to cartoons to music.
Consumers are replacing Pay-TV services from satellite and cable companies with online video services from such companies as Amazon On Demand and Netflix. In fact, Netflix buttons will soon be appearing on the TV remotes from several TV manufacturers.
But the Pay-TV companies are not standing on the sidelines; they are actively participating in the revolution.
Caller-ID for incoming calls on home phones appear on the TV screen. Android applications run directly on the TV. Cable viewers access and update Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook with a standard remote. Program your DVD player. Play online poker on your TV.