Yesteryear’s dedicated TV viewing contraptions

One device, one channel, one family.

One device, one channel, one family (this is NOT me).

TV sets were never steam powered. They just looked like it.

Back then, the medium was the message:

  • if it happened on a TV screen, it must have been a TV program.
  • if it displayed a TV program, it must have been a TV set.

This may sound a bit tautological.
But , being self-referential has always been one of TV’s many greatest strengths.

The messy Status Quo

The old TV paradigm was simplicity: Turn on, tune in, drop out, as Timothy Leary once said (actually referring to a slightly different life style than “couch potato”).

The simple life became remotely impossible.

The simple life became remotely impossible.

The simple life of the early and innocent days of television is long gone. Regina Bernhaupt, director of user experience research at ruwido, offered this nice walk through at an IBC 2013 panel on Smart Viewer Interfaces.

      1. find remote control
      2. turn on STB
      3. find other remote control
      4. turn on tv set
      5. click on color coded buttons to switch to HDMI input
      6. take STB remote
      7. turn on EPG
      8. flip to some pages
      9. click on program
      10. start watching

Throw in a Blueray/DVD player and a game box, plug-in cable and do not forget to connect STB and Smart TV with the Internet, throw in a media player like an Apple TV, and do not forget that you want to stream some content from your tablet, your smart phone and your laptop.
Those complexities might even explain, why the time spent with the TV up and running grew constantly for so many years: shutting down a nuclear power plant needs comparable levels of expertise.

2020 tv devices

media delivery, interaction, and display.

Media delivery, interaction, and display.

The future starts always now. And television is a really resilient business. So don’t expect too many big surprises – just less wires, and more complications.

Don’t expect too many second screen successes. It’s just a really misleading idea. There’s a primary screen (the one you’re concentrating on), and the other screens, which are either active or not.

Input methods are an interesting field as well. TV, with its high watching distance and the fairly low resolution, are pretty bad at displaying high density textual information (like what you would need for a really good EPG …). Remotes on the other hand are fairly cumbersome devices. So don’t wait for a Google like TV-search start screen.

And what about Ultra High Definition TV sets? Networked-PVRs, cable headends in the cloud? 3D in every home? Borg-like Google glasses?

We’ll get to that. Sooner or later. And you’ll get there by clicking the category devices.

And now for a multi device bonus clip, straight from a long past future:


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