I have started this IPTV series with a rant that current IPTV features are not enough. It is time I outline the list of applications for my future TV. Some of them are going to be related with connectivity while others with hard-core technology requirements.
I will be skipping the usual suspects of VOD and EPG and assume they simply exist. Here’s the list of the application I’d really like to see in my future TV.
1. Video Telephony and Video Conferencing
It’s my first choice here and not only because I work at a video company.
I truly believe that bringing video telephony into the living room is going to change the way we communicate and keep in contact with our family and friends. I wouldn’t want to use a video call for the occasional sales person, but my mom would LOVE to see my daughter in real-time as much as possible.
Moreover, having such a technology, which is quite hard to achieve on a set-top box platform, will enable more services to be deployed – visual call centers, better online shopping and social gaming to name a few.
2. Presence Based Services
If we’re doing video telephony, we might as well get the full Monty with presence as well. Let’s just say I’m watching the Dark Knight. It would be great if my mom, who is calling only to see her granddaughter, would know that I am BUSY and would not try to call. It will improve my communication with her at these times tenfold.
It will also make it easier to call people simply because my presence system doubles as an address book in this case (another must have application that I will shrink-wrap into this one).
3. WiFi Connectivity Suite
No WiFi, no gadget.
We are at a time when every piece of equipment comes with some kind of wireless connectivity, and WiFi works best. The same way I wouldn’t buy a digital photo frame that connects with USB but doesn’t support WiFi, I wouldn’t want to start dealing with cables to connect to my TV.
As my home is already a nice and cozy WiFi zone, having the TV in it would make it much easier to handle photos, see movies or access documents from my living room without the need of the laptop I am currently using to write this post.
4. Internet Content
Access to Internet content. I don’t want to live in a closed garden created by the service provider. I want to be able to access content over the Internet. Whatever the video or photo format, or type of text syndication (RSS, Atom), I’d like to be able to access it.
How exactly the browsing thingy works, I don’t really know – it is yet to be seen (this relates to number 6 on this list), but I definitely want the Internet on my TV.
This is something that is starting to make some noise, now that Intel and Yahoo are working together towards this goal.
Widgets are a way to get more applications out there faster. If it is done right, the TV will become a platform that can be used to consume information and not only entertainment in the form of movies and shows. Widgets will enable the use of APIs for third parties to build a plethora of applications from which I will be able to pick and choose what works best for ME.
As we move towards a complex platform, with virtually all the content ever created (see the next item), there is a need for robust search.
Today we Google the web when we’re looking for something – we don’t go item by item – we simply write the text, hit “search” and voila! It’s in front of us.
The same is required for the future TV. Search in this case should be context based and should take into account my preferences (something that is known to my TV all too well).
Without search, there is no real future for IPTV.
Today, to record a show, you need to be present in your living room, holding your remote control – not necessarily at the time of the show, but this is still limiting.
What I’d like to see is the ability to control the set-top box I use (and the rest of the boxes that clutter my living room) directly from the internet. I want to be able to sit at my office, remember that there’s something interesting on TV, and – record it (Unless the next item on my list happens).
At the same time, it would be nice to be able to know how many hours of the day the nanny is using the TV – something I really want to limit as a parent.
8. Loosemore’s Impossibox
Just look at Sagee’s post about Loosemore’s Impossibox. Although he is targeting the mobile handset, let’s first have it on our TV?
And again, once every possible show out there is accessible to my TV, search will become the only way to find it.
Well, this is my list. Further reading include:
- Briefing.com has an interesting list of convergence features that fit IPTV. Most are important to me as well.
- JR from iLocus who believes that managing multiple TV service providers is important. I’m not really sure, but I might be mistaken, and not for the first time.
What do you think? What would you want to see on your future TV?