Couch Potato Meets Herman Miller Potato

May 21, 2010 by
Filed under: Business, Technology 

Google strikes again!  Now coming to a TV near you. In a much anticipated and with not too much fanfare, Silicon Valley’s fave (at least my fave) unveils TV plans during Google Developer’s Conference in San Fransisco.  There have been several trials, all failed. Bill Gates had predicted the convergence decades ago and with bandwidth becoming more and more available, it had to happen.  Not a surprising move but an interesting approach. 2 of the “three screens” converge.

In an unprecedented multi-partner new product category, Google – providing Andriod OS and Chrome browser, Sony – manufacturing the TV, Intel – providing processors, and Logitech keyboard and remote, WebTV is reborn.  But this time it is a TV that browses the Web, wait, no, a computer that plays TV, no wait, both.  The promise is that: both.  Based on the TV you’re watching, you’ll see ads, tweets, references, blogs, etc. that you can click and navigate to.  Google’s business model fits right in.

Straight forward, right? Not quite, much better.

The TV experience is passive.  You sit down pick a channel (or 17) and watch.  The Web is active: click, click, click.  TV works on a schedule (slightly disrupted by TiVo and other DVRs) and the Web is always available.  TV is to pass time, an entertainment.  The Web is to waste, sorry to spend time, searching, learning, and finding amazing content (like this blog); there’s a sense of discovery in every click.  TV is a family activity, at the very least to avoid talking.  The Web is individual.  What Google seems to want to offer is the Web experience for TV content.  All shows, all movies, all channels, all sports, all reality shows, all news; all of it ready to be found.  In other words, and infinite DVR with Google’s amazing search technology.  Pretty cool, and pretty disruptive for cable and satellite operators, especially with the newer generations that waste, I mean spend much more time online that in front of the TV.

To this humble blogger, these disruptions are what make radical changes in the way consumers behave. This will do to TV content what  iTunes and Rhapsody did to music, Expedia and Orbitz did to travel agencies, or Amazon did to retail.  A totally new way to find and enjoy professionally  produced content (I know you’re thinking “unlike this blog”): on your own schedule.  No more “I forgot to TiVo the game”.  The beauty of these disruptions is that they grow the pie and lengthen the tail.  In other words: more is consumed and there  is room for new suppliers.

Whether the two sets of habits converge nicely is yet to be seen.  But one thing is sure: multi-million dollar TV advertising campaigns will go the way of the LP: a distant memory of other times.

Enjoy.

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