July 16, 2014

Why smart TVs may be the future of home entertainment

Photo credit: CC-BY lac-bac, Flickr

Photo credit: CC-BY lac-bac, Flickr

The future of TV is a smart, personal experience

Ayelet NoffPeople are always saying things like, ‘‘Oh, I never watch TV’’ and ‘‘I don’t even own a television,’’ which is perfectly fine until you hear them discussing the latest episode of ‘‘Game of Thrones’’ or ‘‘The Big Bang Theory.’’

So, if they don’t have a TV, how exactly are they watching their favorite news, sports, sitcoms, dramas, movies, and so on?

While they may not be watching their TV programs on an actual television set, the vast majority still manage to keep up with their favorite shows by watching them on a computer, cellular phone, tablet or other electronic device. Of course, if you do, it’s ridiculous to claim that you don’t watch TV at all. If you watch a program that is or was televised, you are watching TV, whether you are technically sitting in front of real television or not.

TV starting to move beyond passive viewing to active sharing

In today’s digital age, given the impact of social networks like Facebook and other online social media platforms, people are now not just watching TV shows (and clips from shows) more than ever, but sharing them as well. Indeed, watching and sharing has become the new national pastime.

If you are someone who watches her favorite TV shows online, that’s fine, but who needs the hassle of online streaming problems and endless buffering?

That’s where smart TVs come in. Over the last five years, smart TVs have dominated sales within the TV sector. A smart TV is a television set or set-top box with integrated Internet and Web 2.0 features, a technological convergence between computers and television sets. Besides the traditional functions of television sets, these devices can also provide online interactive media, Internet TV, over-the-top content, as well as on-demand streaming media, and home networking access. It’s the best of both worlds – TV and Internet rolled into one.

However, there is a feeling that more can be done, that smart TVs can get even better. So why are smart TVs the future of home entertainment? Will it simply remain a TV with Internet or will there be more innovations to come?

Well, one example of a change on the horizon is that in the very near future smart TVs will give you a more personalized experience. Built-in cameras and microphones will soon allow face and voice recognition to determine who is watching the TV. Once it knows who you are, the TV will show you a personalized ‘‘my stream,’’ which offers you content and programs that you may be interested in. In addition to showing you what’s being shown on your favorite channels, it can also suggest content from sites like YouTube and Netflix.

Instead of the hassle of streaming through a connected device, a new company called Okko is set on changing the way we watch television on smart TVs (disclosure: Okko is a Blonde 2.0 client). Okko sees its platform as the most convenient way to watch TV shows and movies à la carte. Okko envisions a smart TV in every home with its high quality and personalized platform as an integral part of it.

You might even call Okko the brains behind your smart TV. Okko will be the reason why you decide to buy a smart TV in the first place. Okko will offer the programs and channels you want categorized by genre: children’s programming, sports, drama, and so on. Okko will provide an easy to use new content experience for smart TVs.

Not so long ago, families used to gather around their one television set and watch their favorite programs together. However, with the advent of smart TVs, live streaming Internet, smartphones, etc. those images of families watching just one TV together feel like a far-off memory.

But who knows? Maybe technology will find a way to bring TV-watching families back together.

Related articles

The future of television: Social TV (Socialmedia.biz)

Behold the coming Cinematic Internet (Socialmedia.biz) Ayelet Noff is a partner in Socialmedia.biz and founder and Co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, an award winning digital PR agency with branches in Boston and Tel Aviv. Contact Ayelet via The Blonde 2.0 website , email, or follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.

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