The lounge is now a minefield

As we connect more devices in the lounge, we seem to be increasing the complexity of every interaction in what should be a space all about “lean back”

Disclosure: I work on YouView and this post is talking about personal experiences of connected TV devices (including competitors to my employer). Views are mine and not those of my employer.

I’ve recently moved house, and it’s only taken 1 month to get provisioned with wired internet. What did we ever do before we had 3G dongles to tied us over, and smartphones to lessen the connectivity gap? Anyway, I’ve got my internet, I’ve got a Samsung TV that runs apps, and an Apple TV.

The result? My lounge is confusing. I can watch YouTube on my Laptop, my TV, my iPhone or the AppleTV. I have to decide the “how” before the what. The TV does Lovefilm, the Apple TV does iTunes (which has taken more movie rental money than I’ve paid in years on the device that “doesn’t have much content”)

I can control my Apple TV from my iPhone, play iTunes content from my laptop on Apple TV, or pull content on the TV itself via DNLA from my laptop. I can twitter from my TV. Not with anything useful like what I’m watching, but I can multi-tap or t9 my thoughts onto the big screen.

Most of my interactions leave me thinking that second-screen is where it’s at. Tapping away into my iPhone doesn’t distract from the screen, and that’s vital in a shared environment like a lounge.

Finally, as a result of changing routers and network changes I actually said “Yeah, my TV doesn’t cope very well with renewing DHCP”. I almost choked having said that, because it’s not the kind of thing that you should ever say about a TV. TV should be reliable, simple. It’s the device to turn your brain off of an evening, not to engage in hand-to-hand network debug just to get things to work.

Connected TV is where things get interesting: we’ve just got to make them genuinely interesting, and not like ‘interesting’ problems your maths teacher gave you.

2 thoughts on “The lounge is now a minefield”

  1. I think this is why I’m still wanting to find a single device to attach to the TV to deal with big screen content. Too much complexity, or too many options, just leads to the process being frustrating.

    I like the iPhone/iPad as remote setup too, especially where you can browse the library / schedule / etc. without interfering with what’s being displayed on the large screen. That should be all about the watching.

  2. What did we do before 3G dongles? Stole WiFi. And before that, dialup, which rarely cared about where you were dialling up from.

    I eagerly await a nice simple box to plug into my TV to watch non-broadcast sources. At the moment, I can get iPlayer on the Wii; anything else has to be played off my laptop – usually via Boxee – which isn’t particularly straightforward to set up.

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