Why I want a dumb screen not a smart tv.
This isn't going to be a piece about live TV vs on demand or that I can watch on a phone, laptop, tablet etc. All of those side bar conversations so many still love to have are an irrelevance.
This is a piece about enjoying the magical content that is available.
We have moved into a world where the device is just a medium to the entertainment. The screen I use is simply the best one available to me at that time. I will still enjoy the content if I am on a small screen or a large screen.
Let's talk about the instance of when I am in my living room. Traditionally the best screen is the "TV". The box in the corner.
Currently we buy a new tv every 7 years. Let's put that into perspective; Twitter is 7 years old, Google bought YouTube 7 years ago, the iPhone had just launched.
You see what I am getting at?
We simply don't update the box in the corner often enough. Yes with smart TVs we update the firmware. But this tends to be surface level updates. Every new iteration of the same tv line does things the previous can't. "Oh sorry, no isn't available in the software update, we changed the chipset". Samsung has started to embrace this with the Smart Evolution kit, but it still feels too complicated for many.
You are still constricted to the limits of the build day of yesterday even though the viewing day of today is radically different.
NASA is a great example of this. A few years ago there was a huge run on the old school floppy disk on eBay. A nostalgia buyer? No. NASA. They were buying them and other retro equipment because that is what the ISS runs on. It was originally built a long time ago and is still in place. When it gets updated you have to update from the past.
Now, the box in the corner isn't that extreme but the principle holds. At an optimistic guess I would say 3 to 4 years would be the best a TV manufacturer could hope for. FYI that would double the TV market. They would live with that.
But how often do you keep a "smart" piece of tech for 4 years? Your phone? No. Your laptop? I doubt it. Your desktop? You still have one?
So, the solution and why people clamour for an Apple TV, which I don't think will ever happen btw. Is because we just need a really good dumb screen. TVs used to have better pictures. Plasma was awesome. Even cathode ray was better than most current screens out there. Focus on the screen quality and make that immense. On the inside just provide the inputs so that I can offload all the clever tech bits to a dedicated device. A device that costs about $100 which I am happy to upgrade every year. One which is clever enough to do all the new tricks of the day. Or shift it to my phone if you have to.
I don't love having loads of boxes so if it comes bundled in an Xbox or play station I'll take it but make sure the upgrades are good enough. In fairness thus far they have been. They have both been looking to push the enjoyment forward. But please don't make me rely on the R&D team where the biggest win of recent years is 3D without a universal standard.
They had their chance and like selfish children they have shown they can't play together and share their toys. Lets build a great screen and let something else be in control of delivering the magical content for even more enjoyment.
You can still put the screen in the corner just put the smarts somewhere else and let's call TV what it is, amazing content not a device.