16 November 2012

SmartTV, NetTV and others...

On a previous post, I talked about Global User eXperience (GUX) on phone, tablet, pc ....and TV.
In fact, I have almost no experience on TV so I thought it was the time for some research.

We all heard about GoogleTV and AppleTV but in fact, companies like Samsung, LG and others already made some unique connected TV back in 2009.

According Wikipedia, connected TV is now commonly called smart TV (like for smart phone?).
What I also learnt is that a smart TV could be smart by 2 ways : internal or external.
Internal means a TV with wifi/LAN and UI (Samsung TV, LG TV...)
External means a box of any kind with HDMI and Wifi/LAN (GoogleTV, AppleTV, Samsung BluRay player, LG BluRay player,...)

I first thought external box was crap. We almost all have a DSL/cable box which already do what a smartTV box could do.

I then looked for what is important for us : how develop (and monetize this development) for smartTV ? And this is where the nightmare began.

There is almost no standard.
Philips (NetTV), LG, Sharp and some others works together to try to define a standard but they only found Html5 !
Apart the way I dislike (hate ?) webapps, I was unable to find informations of what is really supported (which video tag for example, the more important tag for a TV no ?).
Samsung gives a little more information : 2011 Tv support css2, 2012 support css3.
Great ... But js engine isn't the same on all tv and...what are the exact devices of 2011 and ones of 2012 ?!
In phones, we had the same problem and the only way to solve it was (and still is) throught user-agent.
What about smartTV ?!

In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Adobe made a lot of fuzz in MAX about their works with Samsung and LG.
Today, some TV supports Flash in browser, Flash (lite) standalone SWF and/or AIR for TV. Which ones ? Which versions ? It's almost impossible to get the informations.
Samsung and LG talk about Flash and AIR on their dev doc but it's almost impossible to know the exact support (version, api, ...) of a specific device.
A side note about AIR, if you ever find informations about native extension, on device side, so from manufacters...send me mail ! While there is full part on the LiveDocs and a doc full of details about native extension development for TV (for linux), nothing on Samsung nor LG side, while they are premium partners.

Then comes the OS. This time, they all agreed to use Linux 2.6....but which distro, which drivers, which options ?
Don't dream, you won't be able to make TVLinux.
What about the UI ? Proprietary.
Some use Android, but 3.x only and it is so bad on TV than LG is moving to webOS (yes, the dead OS of HP)

The only positive point is the eco system : stores are ready and packagind/delivery process are in place. Everything is ready to make money.

So, is it a good thing to develop for smartTV ?
Well, in fact, I should had started by the beginning : what are the customers ? Are they ready to view in-app ads or pay for a TV app ?
Everywhere on the net, smartTV is seen as... crap !
Buggy UI, UX from middle age, too expensive... Consumers prefers their laptop or PS3 to (not so) smart TV.

After all I read, while I was about to buy a Samsung smartTV and a LG bluray player, I'm now looking to device like the mk42.

So, to summarize :
No standard
No useable system info
No more service than a cheaper device you already had (dsl box, ps3, laptop...)
Good dedicated store
No consumers

You should urgently...wait !
...or take the bus for an undefined destination : success or fail

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