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CES 2011: What’s Smart about Smart TV?

by User Not Found | Jan 04, 2011

With a couple of hours to go before this year’s technofest in Las Vegas gets under way, I thought I’d issue a friendly warning to the growing number of firms (Intel, Samsung, LG are culprits so far) who seem to be planning to major on “Smart TV” as a key theme of this year’s show. Even before the doors open we already have a quotation from LG Electronics' Baeguen Kang: "Smart TV is an inevitable trend: As people experienced smartphones and tablet PCs, the larger screen on a TV is very attractive for apps and Web content.” So whatever people do on phones and PCs, they will inevitably do on their TVs? If this is an indication of the strategic thinking behind many of the innovations we are about to see unveiled this week, I can scarcely imagine the horrors which await us. When will manufacturers learn? As Google’s disastrous first attempt at connected TV has neatly demonstrated, people do not want the web on TV. How many times do we have to go through this learning process? What people want on TV is video content, and if that’s going to be “smart” it had better deliver some level of intelligence about what video content viewers are likely to enjoy. As I said in our (free to download) 2011 Predictions report, television viewers don’t want a million things to choose from: they want their TV to tell them what they are likely to enjoy. Surprise me, enlighten me! That has value, and if it unexpectedly appears at this year’s show I’ll be the first to label it “smart”. David Mercer

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