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Everyone wants connected TV.
Whether it’s a Google or Apple solution or both, the upside to connected big screens in our living rooms hold enormous potential for everyone with a television and an internet connection….which is just about everyone, everywhere.
The time is overdue for this to happen. On the web side, video content and programming has exploded in quality and quantity, become easy to find and share, and mostly free to distribute and watch. Web video content is begging for more and larger displays.
On the broadcast TV side, we have great programming, thousands of channels on incredible displays that are locked inside of disconnected networks, frustratingly archaic search methods and a seemingly uncrossable gulf between the TV content on the screen and the laptops and iPads on our laps on the couch.
I’m really anxious and excited about impending connection between the big screen on the wall and the real-time web. It’s a game changer.
And I’m really curious about where social and community is going to play into this whole new TV paradigm.
I remember early TV and it was distinctly a social experience. In fact, I recall my grandfather’s first TV set in our house. A very small screen with large groups gathering around to watch, chat and connect with each other in front of this early technology with funky programming. And this social activity went on for years!
Now with quality and varied TV programming, huge displays, HD and 3D…the immersion of viewing has gotten movie theatre quality but the experience, at least to me, more solitary and disconnected.
On the web, social platforms and community are the core of how we find and share information and ideas. Even commerce has become a referral-based economy and at its best, is social in nature. The social metaphor is predominant in entertainment, gaming, information networks and business.
So with the TV screen connected to the real-time web and content digitally distributed, at the very least we will be getting a flood of more content which is easier to find, and finally, friendly and seamless control over what we watch and when. At a minimum.
But will TV as a social experience come full circle? Will the connected TV experience mirror, with a modern twist, what it was at its outset way back in the 50s and 60s?
I’m thinking… yes, but in a totally new way of course.
It takes little imagination to see a Facebook iframe on the TV screen to share and chat with friends. And it’s easy to see social commerce with a click to purchase on the TV screen just like a click to purchase on your laptop or phone.
And why not sports book-like communal gambling over a basketball game? Or real-time video chat with friends across the country while watching an episode of True Blood? Or some yet-to-be-invented social game that let’s you Foursquare-like check in and find your friends watching the same show and connect with them?
Google and Apple and Sony won’t be the doers here. But game developers, social widget designers, and smart entrepreneurs will be rising everywhere to help us take connectivity from the couch and make it social for those around us in the living room and my friends across the globe.
Social platforms and online communities transformed information sharing on the social web. Connect it to the big screen and it has the potential to lend its dynamics to the connected TV platform and make watching more active, shopping a bit more collective and natural and entertainment just more fun….with friends.
Move over George Jetson! Your cartoon future may just have started to get real!
Arnold Walstein is a NYC-based marketing consultant, business advisor and personal investor who specialized in brand and channel development, community and affinity group creation, social media, e-commerce, online marketing and distribution.