Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

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25TH March 2011

Culture - Entrepreneur - Mobile - Race to the Bottom - Vision

Hey Jetson!!! Smart TV's are closer than you think… A guide to your new "Digital Hearth".


Jetson does video Skype, long time ago...

George Jetson had it nailed in 2062 but actually, we’re closer than anyone thinks to the tech-tricked homes, cars, and Man Caves that would make even Cogswell Cogs envious.

The key: mobile devices. (How’d you guess!)

Sure, people were flashing George the “loser” sign left and right (and that’s hard with the 2.5 fingers allotted to every animated character) but he had the tech toys all dialed in long before we ever thought they were possible. Smart cars. A great video wall. Superb lifestyle monitors. And a bot named Rosie who kept him on his toes.

So why do I think we’re so near to this Jetson-ian Utopia? Follow me…

I’ve documented the mobile phenomenon fairly well already. In the words (or slides actually) of mobile trend see-er Mary Meeker, its bigger than we think already, and about to grow faster than anyone thought possible. And with that unit growth comes ad models to support content, a more vibrant community of app developers, and an ecosystem that feeds, grows and  daily improves on the mobile experience. But don’t think of it as just the device in your pocket, because the rush to mobile includes the tablet wave and the netbook craze too (depends on your pocket-size I guess). If you have any doubts we’re dramatically changing our favored screen, check out this graph which I call “Au Revoir, Monsieur PC”.

So, if the development eco-system is engaged in a major shift, what will be the effects of all this mobile-centric creative energy?

Audi is out with a demo of their A-8 with Broadband. I’ve already made a post about the convergence of personal health and mobile computing. But the battle for the home’s Digital Hearth is even more exciting. Starting with Nicholas Negroponte in Being Digital “…the future open-architecture television is the personal computer, period.” , analyst Phil Leigh makes a great case for what’s coming…

Ultimately the confusing assortment of products and services capturing headlines today are merely Fool’s Errands involving futile attempts to placate established media leaders. Examples include GoogleTV, Sony “Connected
TVs”, AppleTV, Roku, Vudu, Pop Box, PS3, Xbox, Joost, WebTV, Xfinity, TV Everywhere, various lobotomized TV set-top boxes, and their siblings. Essentially they’re attempts to artificially impose inflated content-bundled
pricing, much like record labels historically required consumers to purchase entire pre-recorded CDs merely to get two or three desired tracks. Once bundling is shattered, content providers are forced to genuinely innovate.  The ultimate consequence of limited access is the stimulation of demand for unrestricted access.

Here’s a geek who has dialed in the whole Jetson Video Man Cave Solution, which will only improve with time.

Televisions will become giant windows into the Internet Cloud. They’ll transform into electronic hearths through which family members gather to remotely share communications and social experiences as much as to watch
videos. In addition to watching “TV” shows and movies, they’ll use future televisions for video phone calls, FaceBook updates, news feeds, interactive gaming, and knowledge quests within the nearly infinite mind of  the Internet. Moreover, such features will augment one another. For example, FaceBook socializing will alert us to new videos our friends are watching.

What’s the key to all of this? The eco-system begins shifting to develop new solutions for mobile, enabling these solutions and a thousand more. Set top boxes will go away. Mobiles and tablets will drive them all. Well positioned technology platforms will be able to integrate seamlessly between “TV”, web, mobile and everything else.

Or at least that’s what I think, up ’til right now. Jetson would agree. Astro, maybe not so much.

And yes, I get some ideas from cartoon shows. Some of my best ideas, actually.

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