The Recent announcement of Connected TVs is quite an interesting view into the TV business of today. The CE manufacturers are packing computer-like features into their TVs with the hope to boost TV sales. If you were to rationalise and reflect on past CE exploits in this field, you would realise that it would make more sense for them to offer a “Media Centre” bundled with a Flat screen. Secondary TVs ( the multi-room route) would be connected by WiFi or Powerline as slave devices. The sensible aspect to this strategy would be that the upgrade, addition of memory and external hard drives/peripherals etc. would then be possible. The cost of technical support of such packed Connected TVs is an interesting discussion never broached. who do you call when you no longer have access to the things you want?
An android powered TV has been shown in the press with Googlemaps etc. Googlemaps or any other (they are not exclusive in this application) is only useful if you can then print to a wireless printer as 90% of map searches results in a paper map so you can take it in the car. No not everyone has a GPS for coordinate input before all you tekkies shout out.
Granted, video related applications are good and give choice. But what if your Internet goes down (and it does) do you still get TV? Do you still get good content available? There seems to be a blinkered view that we all have always on, sufficient bandwidth Internet. This is not a given. Many people have given up on Open Internet connected sites such as YouTube because like the Internet of old they don’t accept waiting in front of a blank screen that announces “buffering, buffering”. If you have no issues you are a member of the privileged few.
IPTV is only 6% of all PayTV subscriptions whereas Satellite, Cable and Terrestrial make up other the 96%. We should see by this that Broadcast is still a dominant force in the delivery of TV programming. No matter what the CE manufacturers believe TVs will not be IP only devices for decades. A STB or Media Centre allows you to have much more effective management of your home network. This also allows for upgrade and innovation. One camp heads for Home Gateway the other for Connected TV.
Those of use who are not drugged by the Connected TV hype realise that the Gartner Hype Curve “Trough of Dissillusionment” has yet to be reached by this technology as all technology devices before it. Dont get me wrong Connected Internet devices will be part of the mix but they will need to be futureproof and a CE manufacturer wants TV sales. Software and Apps always outgrows hardware (a PC is Memory stuffed so has lots of margin) so when an Application gets too big for your TV to handle will you go out and replace it. Not likely. A connected Media Centre gets my vote as it is merely an extended STB which is already mature, future proof but Broadcast focused.