If these new displays ever make it to market, it will be interesting to see how content programmers and consumers take advantage of the additional TV real estate. Consumers would have the ability to customize the apps and/or data services that showed up alongside whatever content they’re watching.
At the core of reinventing the TV experience would have to be interacting with what we are watching in new ways. Not all consumers and not all TV shows lend themselves to a passive watching experience. Sports and reality TV shows are two genres that stick out as content that can be extremely interactive. People who watch these shows want to react to what is happening in real time. Because of that, I believe, there are interesting opportunities for content programmers and creators to deliver experiences on things like smartphones and tablets where you can use the devices in conjunction with what you are watching. Nielsen reported earlier in October that 40% of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices while watching TV. Unfortunately, the most prevalent use-cases are checking email or surfing the web for content unrelated to what people are watching on their televisions.
I think there’s an opportunity to leverage dual-screen multitasking where you can interact with the show you’re watching—and others who are watching it—in real time. We see this to some degree already as apps like Yahoo’s IntoNow, Yap.tv, and GetGlue allow consumers to “check in” to TV shows they’re watching and engage with others watching the same show. This is also happening more and more on Twitter as shows are promoting their hash tags and consumers are tweeting comments about the show using the hash tag as a part of the conversation.
There is clearly pent up demand from consumers to engage with their content and their social graphs in new ways while they watch content on the big screen, and we are just now barely scratching the surface.
Watching TV is personal, social, and entertaining all at the same time. New experiences that combine all of these elements in seamless and elegant ways will lead to tremendous opportunities for software providers, content creators and even advertisers.
When TV was first invented, it transformed an audio-only experience into a visual one. For TV to be reinvented we need to transform the audio and visual experience into a more social, personal, interactive and deeply engaging experience.
Ben Bajarin is the Director of Consumer Technology Analysis and Research at Creative Strategies, Inc, a technology industry analysis and market intelligence firm located in Silicon Valley.