Ronnie05's Blog

Smart TV Sticks!

Posted in Applications and User Interfaces, TV and Digital Entertainment by Manas Ganguly on July 17, 2012

Even while Apple TV is on the horizon and Android TV as a commercial product is half baked, the open ecosystem that Android engenders throws up exciting opportunities and devices based around the TV experience. Smart enough as these solutions are not driven by the large CE companies and is rather developed by small start-ups.

The innovation and the wow is the departure from the rectangular TV boxes into dongle sized entities. The pocket-sized dongle connects to the HDMI port of any regular TV and converts it into a Smart TV. It’s basically a fully functioning micro-computer the size of a thumb which runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) much like today’s latest smartphones. Throw in a keyboard along with the remote and any HD television converts into an Android tablet and the accompanying remote (which includes a keyboard on the back) allows users to interact with their television as they would an Android tablet.

So then, we see the birth of a new ecosystem around the TV set, which is no longer controlled by old school parties such as the CE manufacturers, the broadcasters and the TV distribution platforms, and not even by relative newcomers such as Apple, but by a whole herd of out-of-left-fielders. The UI and the usability could be a spot of bother, but then it would eventually catch up in the next quarter or so.

Profiling a few of the leading efforts on the Smart TV Sticks

Infinitec Pocket TV- Dubai based start-up dealing which show-cased Smart TV solution

Liquid TV – Italy based start-up’s USB dongle solution for coverting TVs into smart TV(Android TV)

We’re only scratching the surface with the current lot of Smart TVs (Hint: The possibilities are Limitless)

Posted in TV and Digital Entertainment by Manas Ganguly on May 1, 2011

In an earlier post i had blogged about Smart TVs with features such as search and social networking, web browsers, apps, media sharing capabilities, video calling, streaming rich internet media, WiFi and others. However, the argument here was that for everything that the Smart TV does, an iPad does better except perhaps a large screen 3D experience.

Paul Otellini, CEO Intel in an interview some time back stated that we are only scratching the surface in as far as Smart TV is concerned. I second that and i firmly believe that possibilities are limitless. A Skype, Facebook or Twitter integration is really the low hanging fruit here. I am attempting to list out possibilities of internet based Smart TV experience here:

1. The TV could become a Library of media titles which could mean that BBC, Universal, Sony pictures and other such content owners could put thier whole content catalogue up for discovery and purchase by the user.

2. A Smart TV with a 25GB space in the cloud where the user could store all his media and entertainment stuff is another possibilities. Imagine not having to purchase DVDs and Blu-rays of favorite movies and shows. The whole content bit goes digital with the user purchasing media online and putting it in his personal cloud based hard drive. He would also have the option of taking CD back ups mailed to his home. Neat!

3. Related content: A quick index of all web based related content available to the user for detailed and comprehensive updates. An example here: If i am keen to know more on a particular news snippet which BBC is televising, i could immediately check with CNN, ABC, Fox and more on more information on that piece.

4. Media would be consumed across all devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers. It would be interesting if all such media snippets which is being “Favorited” could be sent to my TV cloud for leisure viewing. Remember the You Tube video which you are crazy about, but every time have to search for before viewing. Now one could organize the content into the Smart TV cloud drive for ever.

5. Talking to the source. This one is my favourite part. The idea behind is that if the “smartness” could profile my media patterns and return results more tailored to my tastes. For example, if my media profile shows that i have seen 80% of Man U soccer games, my TV would then provide me information about the next Man U game and better, record it even if i am travelling, so that next time i switch my set on, it would provide me the option of watching the match.

6. Talking to source has other huge IP and privacy related possibilities such as profiled targeted advertisements on user opt-ins.

That would be my higher order list of feature empowerments from the Smart TV. Currently Smart TVs are talking highest features in TV and some integration with Internet. In times to come it would be more about personalized media wraps around users and usages with relevant and customized content: Smart Media?

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Smart TV: Do i need one?

Posted in Uncategorized by Manas Ganguly on April 29, 2011

Four years back, i burned a hole in my pocket buying a 32″ LCD (at that time, top of the line TV). Imagine my dismay when the prices of LCD eroded faster than the most barren hill slopes at Garhwal. I was not spared from the pain when LEDs became the new kings of TV 2 years later and then came the 3D LEDs. My aspirations and my pocket were not keeping pace with the TVs. Just when you had come to the conclusion that 3D LEDs were your next buy, comes the Smart TV. Smart TVs challenge the notion of the TV as an “idiot box” with its capabilities

1. Quick search and access to all features on a dashboard
2. Built in web browser
3. Downloadable games and apps
4. Media sharing with devices on the same network
5. Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter)
6. Interactive Communication (Skype with video calling)
7. Photo Sharing (Flickr, Picassa)
8. Updated News, information and weather
9. Audio and Video streaming from YouTube, Internet Radio
10. Controllable by smartphones using downloadable apps
11. Wi-Fi enabled
12. A full OS: Usually Android, iOS or WP7

The question is: Do we need one? (for the price it comes at, unless its the “Brag” value we pay for).

A smartphone is by far the easiest way to access social networks
An iPod (internet connected media player) can be used for video and audio files.
A PS3 or XBox 360 can play better games than any smart TV can ever imagine.
Blu-Ray players with smart TV functionality can make a PC into a smart TV.
The iPad with its touch experience is a far better internet machine than any other.

The reasons in favour of the smart TV include the Brag Value and the ability to converge the smartphone, iPod, Gaming, Blu-Ray, 3D experience into a single device. But then the smart TV suffers from lack of mobility. So, does a smart TV make a great purchase unless a user doesnot care about throwing in ~2lakhs just for the brag value?

To be continued

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