3D TV was everywhere at CES but there were a number of other TV technology changes worth noting. Although much more subtle, they are poised to have some significant impact … and they are all related as you will see via the progression below:
The Power TV – Most pundits talk of PCs becoming “more like TVs” by being able to stream video and watch live broadcasts. Now it’s time to turn this around … TVs are becoming “more like PCs”! As manufacturers start to add significant processing power and huge hard disk drives into the latest generation of TVs, all of the sudden your 55-inch flat screen has a whole new array of tricks.
The Networked TV – If you’ve got a big screen and loads of processing power, then you want to get connected. Most new models feature wired and wireless (802.11n) capability to hook up to your home network. Once connected, they are offering up a variety of new services. One of my favorites, however, is the ability to update their firmware over the network in order to become …
TV as Media Center – You’re now online with plenty of power and a fast network connection, so why not make the TV into the complete Home Media Center? These new TVs (via online firmware updates) allow for direct access to online video services such as Amazon, Netflix and VUDU which can then be streamed or downloaded for purchase. Now you now longer need any additional hardware (such as my beloved Roku player) to hook-up to these great services, the TV does it all. But keep going, these new sets come with big (1 TB) hard drives built-in so that you can store and view my home media (photos, music and videos) directly from my TV.
The Giant VideoPhone – Let’s add a built-in camera to the top of the screen and we then have … an at-home video conferencing system right in your living room. Since the new models have tons of processing power, a fast network connection and a giant screen, these TVs become the perfect IP-based video conferencing system. We have now officially caught up with The Jetsons.
A Remote Control you cannot lose – Since we now have a high-resolution camera, let’s use it in place of the standard remote. Known as “gesturing”, these new TVs will soon feature the ability to use your own hand and arm motions to control the system in place of the remote. That’s right … you make a specific arm or hand movement while sitting on your couch and the TV screen turns into a giant remote that you control my waving and pointing.
The battle for your living room is now joined. It’s the TV versus the A/V Receiver versus the Set-Top Box. Who will win? … Stay tuned (pun intended).