How Smart TV will take gaming into a new threshold of entertainment?
If you go by the definition of a smart TV you can say that it is more of TV with integrated Internet capabilities or a set-top box for television that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary basic television set. Talking of games on TV, well who would have thought at least not your grandparents. So gaming being part of entertainment has seen many changes technologically over the past decade. Virtual gaming to smart TV gaming it is now a child’s play. Television sets are incorporating gaming capabilities into their functions.
Latest thoughts about Smart Tv as found by experts in CES 2017
The first Smart TVs were launched about six to eight years ago (in Australia they were introduced in early 2012) and offered relatively few features. But now if you see the features and what all you can do with smart Tv that is just beyond imagination. Like the iOS or Android platforms the TVs are full-fledged operating systems, driven by software (like Samsung’s Tizen and LG’s webOS or Firefox OS in Panasonic’s TVs).
In recent CES 2017 manufacturers were surprisingly quiet over the future of Smart Tvs Mozilla, who was responsible for Firefox OS, has already given up but Panasonic intends to continue development under a new banner. LG had so few new things to announce that it called it a .5 update (webOS 3.5). Samsung refused to even talk about a 3.0 version of the Tizen operating system despite 2.0 being rolled out in 2016 and 1.0 the year prior. The only significant additions to Tizen are some new apps that will be available in the US and select other markets only.
Also few existing Smart TVs will be updated with the new features. Google has persuaded Sony, Philips, TCL, Bang & Olufsen, Nvidia, and others to use its operating system for their Android Tvs. However, most partners preferred to showcase new products without highlighting Android. Sony barely even mentioned Android TV despite being a launch partner but did confirm when all current TVs will receive the Nougat 7.0 update.
All said and done it does not show that Smart TV is dying but is surely swinging from hardware to software development and adding more features into it. So ”Smart TV” will be included in more TVs than ever before despite a renewed focus on HDR and picture quality in general. Though brand tvs Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic etc. have again and again fumbled trying to develop software for TVs, which is why most of them have either found a software partner or acquired a platform. Still, some insist that they have what it takes to create an operating system for TV. This is where US-based companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, and to some extent Amazon, shine. To build an operating system you need the right mindset and perspective.
So what does the future hold of Smart Tvs
Lately the research says that
- Google wants to unite manufacturers under ‘Android TV’ – much like mobile
- Apple is using the Apple TV box to lay the foundation for the ‘tvOS’ operating system
- Roku often outsells other streaming boxes and ’Roku OS’ is now in 13% of new Smart TV in USA
- Amazon’s FireTV platform is implemented in streaming boxes and soon “Fire TVs”
All four companies know how to write and maintain software. They have the potential to attract loyal and growing user bases. All four have thousands of apps available from the app stores. The products receive regular software updates. TV manufacturers have doomed themselves by not updating previous years’ TVs. Their user bases could have been much bigger.
Traditionally TV broadcasters feel comfortable only in a world driven by hardware. They have ruled the industry for years by setting up extreme barriers for entry through owned and proprietary networks. They have insisted that you use their set-top box. In the mobile analogy these are “feature phones” built on a closed platform. But internet have changes the things. No one owns distribution so no one can control it. The pendulum swings from hardware to software.
It has been proposed that game consoles could be ”trojan horses” into living rooms but all attempts have failed. Game consoles are built for gaming – for better or worse. They are energy-hungry machines that prioritize GPU over CPU power. Microsoft at one point tried to convince that HDMI pass-through was the future, and that infrared extenders and IR codes could save us from the fragmented TV landscape. But you do not lay the foundation for a digital future with analog technology.
Also the pact called the ”Smart TV Alliance” would end miseries and standardize app development. They not only failed to do that; manufacturers who joined the alliance worked tirelessly to undermine compatibility only to get an exclusive app or two. Unfortunately, Philips and Sony are continuing down this path with Android TV.
Others have suggested that the answer is a universal remote that will build a bridge between many devices but universal remotes work poorly with touch for Apple TV, voice for several platforms, and not least gaming. Universal remotes conform to the lowest common denominator.
Will the future of smart Tv be Apps
According to Apple ”the future of TV is apps”, and as the IOS has been instrumental in making apps creating the largest app market to date. This may be the most compelling vision for the future of TV presented so far but this also needs to weave content and apps together in a more congruent way. There is potential but it will require more than just software to achieve.
So the future of gaming will bring in a new threshold on TVS where you will not need any game pad or controller as hardware or any download but integrated software where you will purchase or have the game apps directly on your Smart TV to play and enjoy. So the concept of “Smart TV” will likely endure but the form will change. It appears that the pendulum is swinging from hardware to software in development of TVs. Like with LG and Payment Wall collaborated to allow consumers to access purchased apps, movies, games, and more using a remote control, laptop, tablet, or smartphone and intended for an easier and more convenient way for checkout. But in future there will be no requirement of even having a smartphone or tablet or laptop as you will directly have the game app purchase from smart tv (which will surely be called by another name by then).
As Smart TV slowly recognizes the internet and the software it will adopt new thinking and architecture. Imagine your primary screen to be a search bar that pulls in content from every provider you subscribe to or is free. Or you prioritize ad-free content over ad funded. You will have a Live TV button where your friends appear easily connecting you with Facebook or have a “Spotify Radio”, to select a show and get suggested ones like that appear next. Therefore smart TV is about to go under the most radical transformation imaginable where after the current chaos a wonderful new landscape will emerge.