I was originally going to separate my thoughts for the future of TV into three posts, but I think I can combine the remaining points into a single post.
I currently have a MacBook Pro, and an iPhone. I had an iPad, but I gave it to my Mom, I couldn’t really find a use for it in my life. I read articles, and emails on the go using my iPhone. I blog, browse the web, and do heavier computing on my laptop, I still prefer physical books, so I have not been able to find a real compelling use for a tablet. When thinking about my next computer purchase I think it is going to be a combination of an iMac and a tablet, likely an iPad. Let me explain my thought process behind this switch. Up until now, I have preferred owning a laptop because of the flexibility it allows me to access everything I need at anytime, in any place. When traveling I can have all my documents, a machine with all my settings/preferences, and I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything, since I have my entire machine with me at all times. When I am home, I can sit anywhere in the house, often in my own bed, and browse the web, online shop, chat with friends, all from the same machine. The idea of having all my stuff on one machine is no longer a compelling argument when choosing a computer. With the arrival of Google Docs, Dropbox, Spotify, Snapjoy, and other cloud services I can access my stuff anywhere, and on any device. I am no longer chained to my laptop, or my future desktop. I simply have to login to a browser, all my bookmarks, and browsing history will be loaded, I can have any documents I need to access available on Dropbox or Google Docs, my entire photo library is accessible through Snapjoy, and I can stream an incredible amount of music for free through Spotify. By simply logging in, a new, shared, or borrowed machine quickly becomes my own. This got me thinking, why don’t we have a similar experience with television?
Imagine if you could access the experience you have with your TV at home, anywhere you went. By simply allowing viewers to create login id, we could re-imagine the way TV works everywhere. If I logged into my TV at home, a service could keep track of what I watch, what channels I don’t visit, what ads I’ve interacted with (see my previous post), what content I’ve purchased, etc. Now imagine I was traveling to SF, and checked into my hotel. I could go through the process of finding what channel HBO is, hope that I made it to the room in time to catch the latest episode of Game of Thrones…but wouldn’t it be magical if I could just login, and have access to all my content from home. Coming from NYC, I already DVR-ed Game of Thrones hours earlier, so why not allow me to stream it to the TV in my hotel. When watching a network with ads, why not show me local ads for places in SF based on my interest graph that has been built, and improved over the years through my viewing behavior, and history of interacting with content. This allows advertisers to more effectively target me. They know about me, and now they know I’m in a new city, and might be looking for different things to do, and place to visit. This technology exists, we need to work to implement it into the television experience. TV has been a huge part of our society for decades, but if it fails to innovate, and move forward into the future, it could very well be left in the past, then we don’t have to worry about developing a second screen experience, because we will have ditched our first screen.