Joe Bretz: 2014 Social Television Predictions

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shutterstock 65311210Guest post from Media Analyst Joe Bretz:

“Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.” T. S. Eliot

Quite a quote by the late great poet, also very true. Does it still remain true given the latest in Social Networking/Sharing? IMHO, the advent of the Facebook’s, Tweets etc. has made us all even more alienated, and that is of course a statement made not only regarding the consumption of media content along with normal human contact in general. For those of us whom were early adopters of the “OTT” technology, (remember the USB Boxee hack?) we were on the verge of a new frontier of creating a unique medium for social engagement (well before Facebook took over from Myspace) thereby allowing the average “Joe” tools to create their own TV Network.

It started as a true unique underground movement with guys like Avner Ronen at the helm. ’07/08′ My partners and I were on our tenth or fifteenth “Dot Com” venture (who was counting back then in San Francisco/Silicon Valley?) Incubating a few interactive content companies, Producing a feature film and attempting a $90M acquisition for a major content library from a nsdq listed public company, which led to a few embarrassing  and educational failures. For those of us in the thick of things during 2007 and 08′, we all thought the end of the world was near.  With our financing cut off along with the majority of America’s AMEX accounts we took the time to re-focus our efforts to what is now called “Social Television” using “OTT” or Over The Top technologies, and the race began. www.digidev.tv

So whats next and my personal predictions for 2014 and “Social TV”?

– “TV is an APP”- TV will rapidly become an APP like every other APP.  Niche’ content is key, giving consumers exactly what they want and how they want, this may cause more fragmentation, but in return search will become more better and less “exhaustive.”

– Set Top Box Integration- The people over at Boxee got to it first. (Although I was disappointed Avner, I understand!)

http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/why-did-samsung...

-Roku- What will happen to all of those 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation boxes?  Roku is following in Boxee’s footsteps.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2014/01/08/why-roku-tv-will-s...

-APPLE TV - Who really knows what they are up to?  Rumors galore regarding an all inclusive APPLE TV have yet to really become a reality.  But with their latest acquisition, it seems they are still betting on being a big player in the space, if only they can convince content owners to come along for the ride!

http://gizmodo.com/what-apples-latest-acquisition-says-ab...

-Gaming Consoles (XBOX, Playstation, Nintendo) - Although I am not a “gamer” I have to say I love the idea of ONE box to fit the entire family.  As we gravitate to all things “cloud” based, we could see a major shift in the actual hardware of these consoles and a step towards partnerships with Smart TV manufacturers to create an all inclusive gaming, browsing, and TV integrated APPS, less boxes please!

- Smarter than “Smart” TV’s - With the advent of 4k video and imbedded OS within TV’s, we will begin to see more and more  fully integrated browsers and APP variations within SAMSUNG, LG to name a few.

What does this all mean?  For the basic consumer it will become a confusing and frustrating thing,  Just when you got use to that “wii” looking remote controller for your smart TV it will become full of frustrating updates and confusing APPS within APPS. Who will win? It comes down to a simple user interface that will include a clean search tool for all of your TV APPS, gaming and recommendation software that actually recommends programming that fits your specific desires.

All in all I believe that 2014 will be by far the most exciting year for consumers and content producers alike.  We will all continue to have our own unique and specific tastes and without the consumer demand their would be no more innovations.

So please keep watching!  But for the sake of your overall health and well being, get out of the living room as much as possible and enjoy the real world.(and please stop using the term TV everywhere)

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