How the Internet Is Transforming Television
The way we watch television has evolved as technology has transformed our desires and expectations. New content delivery systems made possible by Internet connectivity have exponentially increased the control we have over what we see and how and when we see it. As the Web integration progresses with Boxee, Google TV, Yahoo! Connected TV, Xbox360, Roku and others, the lines between our televisions and computers are becoming increasingly blurred.
The concept of televisions with Internet connectivity is by no means new. In the mid-1990s, WebTV offered a set-top box with 2 MB of RAM and a 33.6 kb/s modem and Netscape Navigator/Internet Explorer browser compatibility. The service has advanced considerably and is now operating as MSN TV. Though it is no longer being sold by Microsoft, the company still supports the subscription service.
Most recently, Google released what many consider to be the most advanced and capable “connected television” device, Google TV. This product allows users to search for television content from many sources, which Google aggregates and displays on your television screen. With this feature, Google TV supplies and displays content not available through your cable subscription with content from Netflix, Amazon VOD, YouTube, and other websites, consolidating each of these individual platforms into a central experience accessible through Google-powered search. Currently, Google TV is the only device with full internet capability. Several devices from SONY and Logitech already feature Google TV, and more will be rolled out in 2011.
One of the most important elements of the connected TV movement is the availability of apps and widgets. Apps, the central value leading to the success of the Apple iPhone, are becoming available on select new televisions. Devices like the VIZIO XVT473SV leading the revolution are enabled by Wi-Fi technology, allowing users to connect to services including Facebook, Twitter, Rhapsody, Netflix, Pandora, and others through apps and widgets on their television. This integration of services delivers the “all-in-one” value by combining televisions and computers in a manner similar to the way smartphones integrated telephones and computers to phenomenal success.
With successful mobile operators like Google (Android) and Apple (iOS) staking their claim in living rooms, the growing circle of integration is likely to become more seamless as technologies advance and adoption expands. We are continually moving forward in an era of interconnectivity and integration, and Internet/app-enabled devices will drastically alter the traditional definition of televisions and their capabilities.
Image Credits: VIZIO; ecoustics