The End of the TV, the Computer and the Phone

I got a new TV for our mountain house the other day.  It is a Vizio Razor with Internet Applications.   The TV is wifi enabled and comes with a number of Internet “widgets” including, Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, Pandora, Vudu, and more.  It also comes with a remote that slides out like many cell phones, exposing a qwerty keyboard.  

Since we’ve gotten it, I’ve been Tweeting what I’m watching on TV and following my Facebook stream right from the TV.   The apps open in the margins of the TV, letting you watch the TV at the same time your Tweeting or updating your Facebook page.   It’s pretty cool.  But, the remote is cumbersome and I have an Ipad, so Tweeting and Facebook updates are becoming less frequent now that the novelty has worn off. That being said, what isn’t wearing off is the use of  Pandora, Netflix, the weather widget and Vudu.   Our Mnt home is our second home.   It doesn’t have a nice stereo system, it isn’t wire for sound, it doesn’t have cat5 etc.  In the past, we’ve watched video tapes and DVD’s and got our music through our Iphones and Ipods plugged into a Bose Soundstream.  Now, we come home from skiing call up Pandora on the TV and play a chill Pandora station, streaming it right through the television.   We also no longer have a need for our DVD players and VCR’s.  We now have an unlimited library of new and classic movies on Vudu and Netflix.   Most of the applications we’ve used on line via our computers and phones are now on our TV and that is changing the game for us.

Although it’s not perfect, the remote clunkiness is the best example, the distinction between TV, Computer, and Phone are is quickly evaporating.   The TV has traditionally been used to consume content.   The computer has been used to create content.  The phone has been used to communicate.   Increasingly, my computer has been used to consume as much content if not more than I create.   I am also communicating more and more with it.    Use of my phone for “voice” communication has dropped of tremendously as I use it more and more for content creation, (taking and sharing pictures, video’s etc), as well as non voice communication such as email, Twitter, Facebook and more.   Now, my TV has entered the fray.   For the first time, I’m using my TV to create content and share content as well as communicate.   Yes, I’m still mostly consuming on it, but that’s has more to do with it’s clunkiness than want or need.  I can see my TV’s becoming Skype enabled soon which will change the communication game in my families house.  It won’t be long until the user experience for content creation through the TV is less clunky and becomes more elegant.   As the kinks are worked out, as more and more content, communication and consumption are pushed on line we are only going to see a greater confluence in devices.

I think we are at the beginning of the end of the TV, the Radio (it can be argued the radio is already dead), the phone and the computer.  They will all just be devices, devices that allow us to consume content, create content and communicate.   There will be no functional difference between a TV or Computer or a Phone.  The difference will be in form and we will chose which to use not based on function, but on form convenience.   The need to communicate won’t drive me to my phone, but where I am will be the determinant.  The need to create content won’t drive me to my computer, what I’m doing at the time will.   The desire to consume content won’t just be my TV’s job anymore.  It will be whatever is most convenient at the time.    To my kids there will no difference between a TV, Computer, and Phone  — they will all be the exact same device just in different form.

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