It's not a TV anymore it's a Screen

I was reading a story about TV manufacturers and their struggle to keep sales up in the face of economic downturns and the rise of so called "2nd screen" devices, and I thought to myself (as I often do) "they're doing it wrong".

Part of the problem I think is the mentality of the manufacturers in trying to hang on to the idea of TV. For most of us TV represents a very distinct thing. It's a big box/panel that feeds us what the free to air or cable broadcasters send across the air or down the cable. You have to work your schedule around the broadcasters.

However the future of TV isn't as the big box in the middle of the lounge room. Rather it's as just another service amongst many utilised by a variety of different devices. This means that your Television is going to be replaced by a screen, both physically and mentally.

In our house it's already happened. We have two tablets (xoom and ipad1), an ipod touch, a nexus s and a big screen hooked up to a logitech revue (which in turn is hooked up to our home entertainment server/mythtv box). What this means is that it's just as easy for the kids to watch something on youtube as it is for them to watch television. We can "rent" movies from Google Play and watch them in SD or HD on either the Xoom, Revue or Nexus S. If we want, we can listen to radio streams from around the world, or access the Pandora music service.

We maybe something out of the ordinary now, but in the future we're going to be the norm, and this is causing Television manufacturers confusion and dismay. Instead of ruling the lounge their devices are going to have to compete not with each other, but with all of those 2nd screen devices.

This means that they are going to have to change the way the do things. Instead of half arsed "InternetTV" offerings, they need to embrace the change coming in the entertainment landscape and switch from making tv's to making screens.

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