“Television, that insidious beast.”
This is really exciting! Sharp has debuted a 90” inch web-connected 3D television with apps! Unfortunately, you can’t afford it. We are getting close to an ideal screen to turn our walls into, but we aren’t quite there in terms of cost apparently. What would a 90” retina display cost?
Cost aside, when I imagine the perfect TV here is what it would be:
Not a TV. At least not in the traditional sense. What I want is essentially a super high resolution, sophisticated monitor. It would allow me to create windows for my applications. (I should also mention that in my ideal world, pay television is just another application that I can buy from my PayTV provider directly or download it from iTunes, whichever I prefer.) I want to be able to manipulate these windows on the fly. So I can create a full 1920x1080 window for my HD movie, and still have enough real estate to open a video chat window beside it that lets me watch the movie with my wife while I’m away on business (I’ll get to the hotel in a second). This is a fairly obvious point, but for some reason I get the sense that TV manufacturers are envisioning their experience more like a mobile device, e.g. one app at a time, than they are like a laptop or a desktop computer. Real multi-tasking is perfect for TV since there are many things I would like to do passively while I do something else actively, e.g. play Madden 2025 while watching SportsCenter in the background. PiP was an attempt at this that probably never took off because it didn’t offer two distinct experiences. Watching a show or movie while passively watching another show or movie isn’t a useful experience.
Huge. And I do not mean in the gaudy, I-just-bought-this-on-credit-at-Costco-so-I-can-impress-the-one-friend-that-now-comfortably-fits-in-my-living-room sense. I want it to literally be wall-sized, thin, and light enough to blend in with the wall and my friends. I want a wall that turns on, basically, and still gives me room to throw an impressive bar mitzvah.
Intelligent & entirely cloud-based. Ok, here is the key point to making TV WAY BETTER. I want to wear a device - say a bracelet or a pair of glasses (only because implantables aren’t covered by my HMO yet) - that has a 4G connection and my identity tied to it. I then want to be able to walk into a room with a wall-o-television - be it a hotel room or my living room - and I want that TV to recognize my identity, and instantly know everything about the apps I use, the things I watch, the people I watch them with, etc. I want them to get all of this information - my content, my subscriptions, and even my games and applications - from the cloud. So if I am a Comcast customer, a Netflix customer, an Amazon VOD customer, an iTunes customer, an Xbox Live customer, a Hulu customer (all of which I am fortunately…and unfortunately), I want the TV to immediately connect me to all my accounts, give me access to my entire content library, and even know if I use Skype or have an XBox in my cloud. If I do, the TV should pull down my contact list or my games, and allow me to place a phone call or play Call of Duty as soon as I walk in the room. Heck, if I am already talking on the phone when I walk in the room, I should be able to transfer it to a window on my TV instantly - that’s any TV, wherever I am.
Maybe 3D. But only if it applies to interfaces, and not just James Cameron. I’m on the fence about this one. Generally speaking, like most people I can’t stand 3D movies or 3D TV. I’ve heard talk of brilliant use of it (that is to say, examples of it making you an actual character in the story vs. a bespectacled and nauseated bystander wondering when the story gets good), so maybe I am just watching the wrong movies. That said, I am really looking forward to 3D, immersive interfaces and televisions are a great place for that to happen. Just like Google’s Project Glass concept shows Augmented Reality in a realistic context (finally), 3D TV could finally make things like video conferencing and immersive communications the catalyst of a drastic social transformation. I look forward to that.
The droid I was looking for. The last thing that I need my television to be is human. Or something like it. The antiquated remote control has to go. I want to be able to interact with my television through voice and gestures (key for 3D apps to be reality), but I also want it to have a face. If C3PO isn’t going to be in the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog anytime soon, I will take a more anthropomorphic version of Siri for now.
So those are the five pillars of a what I think is a breakthrough television experience. Here’s how you let me know what I missed - mcolomboatmaarkdotcom.
image source: sharpusa.com
quote source: the late, great Ray Bradbury. Here is the full quote, “The television, that insidious beast, that Medusa which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little.”