There are a host of companies out there that are trying to bridge online video and TV. Companies such as Mixpo, TurnHere, Jivox and Google TVAds all contemplate a two way street where video ads move freely between TV and online. Netflix is now streaming movies through gaming consoles and set-top boxes. In addition the company will be streaming movies directly to select Sony TVs.
Similarly Clicker (and competitors) aims to straddle the worlds of online video, TV and movies by being a comprehensive programming guide. And pointing to a future that may be only three or four years away from critical mass, many TV makers are integrating Web-access capability into their sets. USAToday has a feature on that today:
Big TV manufacturers including Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Vizio say that they’re poised to revolutionize television this Christmas shopping season: They’re about to launch the first major marketing push for a new generation of sets that can easily integrate Web content with traditional TV news and entertainment — without the fuss of connecting the TV to a set-top box.
There’s an interesting analogy to mobile in that Web content (via widgets or otherwise) on a TV, from 10 feet away, is quite different than on a PC. Navigation and search paradigms will need to be developed to accommodate the user experience for the device. In addition, the possibilities for engagement and commerce are also interesting and somewhat different than on the PC.
I won’t go through all the “imagine if you could pause the show and buy Taylor Swift’s shoes” scenarios. But the possibilities are pretty interesting for publishers of all sorts, as well as for social media. Lycos awhile ago developed the visionary but ill-fated Lycos Cinema, which created a social-TV experience: chat with video online. As I said previously:
However the little known Lycos Cinema points the way toward one almost certain future experience: social TV (with live chat). Watch shows/movies with your friends. It will bring back “appointment viewing” (as opposed to time shifting) in a new and different way.
Within 3-5 years (or sooner) however all the content you can get online you’ll be able to get on your “living room monitor.” Yahoo had the right vision of the future with its original articulation of “GO” — my content on any device: TV, online, mobile.
I’ve also wondered many times how social networks, gaming and mapping platforms would play out on TV:
I think on TV environments like Google Earth and Virtual Earth will have real traction and prove to be a way to translate the Internet into the living room. They and the virtual worlds will have more bandwidth and perform better for users than they could online. And I believe — say within five to seven years — we’ll see a convergence of commerce/advertising, video, community and local/travel in these environments. The big screen and a big pipe permit a lot of interesting configurations.
The “Internet” on TV is pretty exciting and represents a potentially radical evolution of how consumers interact with the screen in the living room. Lots more to come on this subject.