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Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Televised Revolution: The Future of TV

A Televised Revolution

The familiar television set, in essence unchanged since widespread broadcasting commenced some 70 years ago, is primed for major paradigm shift. The adoption of new interfaces, new broad (and narrow) casting channels, together with the convergence of communications, social media and video on demand and storage technologies mean that the television set is likely to serve as the central component of a cultural shift in the coming decade.

The televisual experience of the future is likely to embody a number of pertinent new characteristics. These are:

  1. Social Television. The ability to communicate and share the televisual experience in real time. This may involve integration with existing services such as twitter or facebook or may prompt the emergence of entirely new platforms, more optimised for television.
  2. Innovative User Interfaces. There has been only one outstanding development in this domain in the history of television, namely that of the remote control, the inventor of which died recently. With current hardware capabilities (together with an assumed consumer demand and cultural readiness), it is likely that there will be much more innovation in this space in the coming years. Motion control is likely to play a role in this shift (Leap Motion Control  shows particular promise). Voice control, too, may find wider adoption in the private and relatively low ambient noise environment of the home.
  3. Distributed User Interface. Harnessing the collective power of various ancillary electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablet computers with the television has potential to enhance the user experience. Synchronisation of the devices in an intuitive, unobtrusive manner is a consideration.   
  4. Rapid rate of adoption. Recent technologies of this type, DVD and Tablet computing, in particular, have all reached high levels of proliferation with some rapidity. The large potential market, together with very low cost hardware solutions (e.g. Raspberry PI) means that technological progress applied to the television set is likely to be similarly rapid.

Quite how these characteristics will affect the requirements of users to  communicate, work, create and be entertained is unclear. What is more certain is the large potential for solution developers in addressing and shaping those requirements.

How will users want to engage with the television set in the future? What kind of services do you think are likely to emerge?

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