Key Signals that SmartTV is Maturing for Marketers

January 25, 2011 § 1 Comment


Last March I became obsessed with the promise of internet TV. It has elements of  multiple technologies converging and makes a current technology that is widely used more engaging. What is not to like?

However, I believe the technology has a long way to go before becoming mainstream (not just in homes, but actually being used). In the meantime, marketers need to keep their eyes on this technology. Similar to the revolutionary changes brought by the Web and Mobile, SmartTV is not too far off from having its day.

As a marketer, here is what I am looking for to indicate market maturity:

Cable providers beginning to own the technology. They have the box, they have remotes in place, and they the base of installed customers. Having a separate device like GoogleTV, Roku, and the like don’t seem to make perfect sense to me when cable equipment is already installed. As a quick proxy, Tivo developed the DVR market, but cable providers were eventually able to add that functionality in.

Separate internet-enabling devices are doing the same thing and I suspect it won’t be long before the cable companies provide a better integrated solution. In fact, Verizon is fairly far down this path. Check out Fios TV Labs.

The User Interface become Usable. If you need to have a technology background to operate these devices they will never become mainstream. Companies need to make sure the user interface is intuitive. People like TV because it is convenient and entertaining. SmartTV must find a way to add value to the entertainment versus becoming a step along the way.

Connection with Home PCs. Laptops and home PCs should also be able to control SmartTV interfaces.  For example, I am on my laptop now and would love to control the live stream on my TV from here versus putting my computer down to pick up a keyboard sized remote.

The User Experience is Tuned for TV. It is important to recognize that Websites are generally meant to publish content for PC browsers. More sophisticated sites have optimized for mobile and  TV will prove to be an entirely different form factor to deal with. Sites that want to publish to TV browsers will need to think about how font sizes look from 10 feet away, how real estate is best used, and the site features that are right for the TV experience.  This will take time to perfect so experimenting now will go a long way when the time is needed to have a good experience in place.

As usual, all post are up for discussion so please let me know what you all think!

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