It’s already there — here and there that is. The Internet is not yet mainstream on TV but it will be by 2010. AT&T is pushing a limited Internet through U-Verse; the Xbox allows chatting with others “online,” while the Wii has a Web browser from Opera.
You can also get partial Internet from some of the set-top boxes (e.g., Amazon via TiVo). But in the not-too-distant future we should get a more full-blown version of the Internet on TV. It will need to be a lot more “visual” than much of the Internet is today (more icons, images, video, etc.). But it will be a significant development when it finally happens (maybe as significant as mobile in a way). Consider how the following Internet functions might play out on a larger screen:
- Shopping (see, e.g., Click to Buy)
- Local search
I’ve speculated and written about this many times in the past. In particular I’ve also wondered how “metaverses” (Virtual Earth 3D, Google Earth, SecondLife) might develop and play out in the living room. Gaming is the model there. Imagine, as one potential example, the “newspaper of the future” on TV with a mix of text, video, images, community, ads and shopping/e-commerce (e.g., event tickets). All of this could be set against the 3D backdrop of Virtual Earth or Google Earth.
In general there are some fairly radical implications for TV around content, business model, targeting, etc. We’ll see how much of what I’m alluding to comes to pass in the next couple of years. It’s safe to say, however, that TV is in transition from the “top down” version of the last 40 years to something else.