It seems Intel has coined a new descriptor for connected home devices that defines a new category within the space. Personally, I like the term “Smart TV.” Trouble is many have started grouping unintended devices and platforms as part of the mix when reporting on Smart TVs. According to Intel, a Smart TV is able to:
- Search online and personal content as well as broadcast programming all from the same TV interface
- Access downloadable applications
- Connect to social networks while watching favorite programs or movies
- Control TV with a unique new remote control or voice commands
- Access an infinite amount of entertainment possibilities
In addition, Intel states:
- It’s integrated, so everything important to the consumer is connected and searchable on a single screen, from billions of hours of video to personal content
- It’s interactive, complementing broadcast programming with the ability to instantly find and watch television shows and movies, download Internet applications, and easily surf between channels and Web sites for a completely new way of using television, instead of just watching it
So, as you can see, any old network media streamer connected to your TV doesn’t count as a Smart TV device — i.e. Roku Player, Apple TV, Boxee Box, etc. The same would also apply to a TV that includes a separate app store or an infotainment interface that may have been ported for use on a TV, like Viewsonic’s Boxee-enabled HDTV shown at CES 2011 (note I miscategorized it as a Smart TV before I came to grips with what the term actually meant). I know supporters of these popular platforms will say I’m wrong, but according to Intel’s vision of what a Smart TV is… I’m right. It probably doesn’t help that Intel includes companion boxes, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes, in addition to fully integrated HDTV sets. But, when you look at a product like Sony’s Internet TV Blu-ray Player powered by Google TV or Cisco’s Videoscape set-top box (does not use Intel’s chips) for cable TV providers, it all begins to make sense.
Bottom line: Smart TV’s biggest differentiator over standard Connected TV offerings is its ability to enhance TV viewing with real-time data, related content, and interactivity from the Web. If it can’t do that, then it’s not a Smart TV.
Tags: Apple TV, Boxee, Cisco Videoscape, Google TV, Intel, Roku, Smart TV
Filed in: Industry Buzz, Software, Streaming Media Devices