Editorial: Smart TV is not a smart move
So a great deal of the buzz at CES this year has surrounded the idea of 'Smart TV,' as every company fell over themselves to try and create the competition to a product that we don't even know for sure of it's existence, the real Apple TV.
The vision behind this year's movement is that of convergence. Some have gone the Google TV route, whereas others have gone for a proprietary interface (LG's gone for a Wii-style control system), all options implementing instances of the internet, the participatory nature of web 2.0, and technologies more computer-esque. Of course, if Vizio's CTO Matt McRae is to be taken at his word, the prediction is that we'll see an internet TV service provide 50-100 channels in 18 months time (interviewed by The Verge), making the 'web connected' part of my argument completely pointless.
But the idea of a TV is not due for a further 'smart' revolution, because as consumers, we (well...I) don't want it to be. You take a look at yourself, dear reader, watching programmes on TV. There's a very good chance that all the 'smart' functionality you could possibly be doing, or want to be doing, is being done on the laptop/computer/tablet/smartphone with which you are reading this story.
What we want from a television has not changed in the decades since it's invention. What we do surrounding the TV has changed dramatically, as our attention economy is spread very thinly around a series of devices; but we still sit in front of our plasma/LCD/CRT (kudos to those using the latter) to watch stuff that we like. What we have is good: a set of channels to catch it at a specific time, on-demand if we miss it, and ppm streaming services (LoveFilm for example). To add more 'smartness' will further convolute the concept of a television, and fail in the process of capturing consumer attention.
Sometimes convergence isn't the right thing looking forward. Plus, drop the silly remotes.