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The digital living room…more like a new frontier than a battle to be won

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Many of us have been premature in thinking that every new announcement shuffles the deck on who is going to ‘win’ the connected TV reality of the new living room.

The more I think about it, the more it seems like a metropolis with Apple and Google and Boxee and Hulu neighborhoods. At least for the foreseeable future. The only commonalities are the web at one end and the big screen of glass at the other.

An article by Dan Frommer on Apple TV, “Still Think The Apple TV Isn’t The Next Big Living Room Gaming Platform?” in the Business Insider brought this home again.

To Apple, the TV is just another screen…and just another way to interact with the iPad andiPhone and iTouch woven together with libraries of cool apps. They’ve locked onto, if not created, new human behaviors and they will leverage these behaviors as their way into the living room, somewhat seamlessly.

No, Apple isn’t ‘open’. And certainly AppleTV is not marketed as a platform to launch the future. But then, who said it was going to be a platform in the consumer’s mind, not just a bunch of apps and content and displays and with the consumer in the center, having a good time.

My sense is that Apple who is in the business of creating margins out of high volume hardware may be a winner in the short term. They don’t see this as a platform, they see it as an extension of technology playing in the home with appliances and screens and apps. And with the web on the other end.

And most likely with the crash of the cable companies, the diminishing of the networks, the open models of pay-per-view, it will continue to change. Certainly we won’t change the large chunk of glass on the wall every year or two, but we can change boxes and apps as conduits to the streamed content as we change our laptops and smart phones today.

And my sense is that the iterative play is the winning play for the short term. Content will go where the eyeballs are and the consumer will pay for convenience and choice. Any solution that forces choice. That is too expensive. That is locked out from an evolving future is probably both the short and long-term loser. The winner will be flexible and maybe even disposable. Like all new consumer technology.


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