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The TV Apps Economy Will Be A $14 Billion Business (forbes.com)
18 points by bgamido 1488 days ago | hide | past | web | 22 comments | favorite

I'm really sorry, but it won't. Not in its current form.

Microsoft, intel, Sky(in the UK) and Google have been trying to promote this since the late 90's and they've failed.

There is limited scope to have a few widgets on a dashboard. Thats about it.

Think about it, when you sit down to watch TV, you want to be absorbed in the programme. You don't want to be distracted by silly popups asking you to "fill in this for to get x" or "wipe the screen to interact with this advert"

We have lots of smart TVs in britian, and most of them are just used as TVs. They interfaces suck balls (I'm looking at you samsung with voice activations)

There is a trend for "second screen" interfaces. Where a smartphone/tablet can receive content relevant to whats on TV. That is far more likley to take off. Its still equally useless and annoying for all but america's got talent and the like.

If the TV content is good, then there is no need for second screen/twitter popups (Dangerous catch I'm looking at you, seriously, fishing is shit, and no amount of popups is going to make it more dramatic.)

The one thing I am glad of in the UK is the BBC. American TV is so utterly broken its unbelievable. As a demonstration of this: go and find a UK edit of top gear, then compare it to the US.

Top gear is full of content, but in the US it appears that this is bad, so they cut out half the stuff and replace it with plot spoilers and recaps every five minutes. The BBC did an edit of the first series of myth busters, they chopped it down to 25 minutes, just by getting rid of the stupid recaps. There is so much filler in american TV.

TV is about content, and content discovery. Distractions are bad. unless they are more interesting than the TV you are watching (assuming the proliferation of antique hunting/storage unit buying programmes won't be too long)

Top gear is full of content, but in the US it appears that this is bad, so they cut out half the stuff and replace it with plot spoilers and recaps every five minutes. The BBC did an edit of the first series of myth busters, they chopped it down to 25 minutes, just by getting rid of the stupid recaps. There is so much filler in american TV.

Quoted for truth. I am constantly embarrassed by how awful American TV formats are - most of the drama is just as bad, with a few startling exceptions.

Assuming the article's thesis is correct, I think that where the article says "The TV apps economy will be a $14bn business," you could just as well change it to say, "Apple is going to create a new $14bn P&L in the next few years." Here's why:

    Microsoft, intel, Sky(in the UK) and Google have
    been trying to promote this since the late 90's
    and they've failed.


    They[sic] interfaces suck balls (I'm looking at
    you samsung with voice activations)
Apple didn't invent the smartphone, or the tablet, but they made them good. (I had a smartphone in 2002 and a tablet PC in 2003, and they were terrible! And they continued to be terrible until Apple came in and redefined the markets.)

If anyone is going to win the 'smart TV' space and make second screen apps generally palatable to a broad base of consumers, it'll be Apple.

One thing that's interesting to consider is that Apple can't be making much, if any, money on the Apple TV. They also can't be making a ton of money on iTunes-sold content, although they finally did admit recently that the iTunes Store is no longer a break-even business that exists solely to sell hardware. And Apple, traditionally, has loved having fat margins. So, where are they going to make money in this?

Oh apple are making a nice margin on iTunes content!

    “iTunes inclusive of Apple’s own software generates
    as much as 15 percent operating margin on gross revenue.”

    Apple’s gross margins...peaked at close to 50% in
    late 2011 but have now shrunk to 37.5% in the
    company’s most recent quarter.

Apple or somebody capable of channeling Steve Jobs. Yes. Exactly.

My Samsung "Smart" TV and AT&T Uverse (cable) are terrible at everything other than playing video once I've finally found it. Not because the hardware and data are crap - but because the software is a UX nightmare.

That's a solvable problem. One which Samsung and AT&T are clearly not capable of solving, but solvable nonetheless.

I never understood why those hardware companies like Samsung won't bring in some talented or established external design team to work on the UI and general behavior of their software. I mean those guys have to realize that while software can be THE selling point of their devices, it will always fall short as long as it's just an afterthought.

Bolting on an external design team almost never solves the problem. They don't know how to navigate the company, the engineers don't trust them, and the execs rabidly defend their territory, which they see the acquisition encroaching on.

The external team sticks around for 2 years (or whatever) until they've completed their earn-out, and then they bolt.

Think about it like this: it takes the design team six months to figure out who to talk to. By then, the product team is locking down the next version of the product. The design team spends the next year prototyping beautiful features for v.Next. v.Next rolls around, compromises are made, the design team is inevitably broken up in a re-org, and, by the time they're ready to actually contribute, their two years are up, and they split.

Because they've been infinitely more successful at waiting for others to solve it and then just stealing or buying the resulting solution.

Because they are designing by committee. Samsung surely already has World-class designers on their team. However those designers don't have dictatorial power to make hard decisions and tell entire divisions of the company that they are SOL. But that is what would be required for them to put out something great.

That is why it is so much easier for startups to innovate than big companies.

Well, I see that point, however it's just hard for me to grasp - clearly Samsung (like many other hardware manufacturers) have to acknowledge that their bottleneck often is design and UX. Yet they have all the resources to change that readily available.

On the other hand, the longer I think about it the more I come to the conclusion that pleasing and intuitive design just isn't a major focus for those brands, and maybe not even for their customers: After all it's not something you can put as a bullet point or spec on the back of the packaging.

Not saying that it is not solvable, but the damned IR remote is a limitation. A big one (no "pointing" whatsoever and huge input latency).

Maybe a first step towards an acceptable UX could be using a new communications standard for remotes. Something like copying the current generation gaming consoles' controllers. :)

> The BBC did an edit of the first series of myth busters, they chopped it down to 25 minutes, just by getting rid of the stupid recaps.

Now there's a service I'd pay for! It wouldn't even have to sell the edited content, just an edit decision list that given the original video skips over all the dross on playback.

Ads and BS aside, Top Gear is legendary and they just get it right on so many levels that no licensed localized version can keep up with it (there is Australian and a Russian one). It's like if you tried to make an adaptation of Goodfellas only not by Scorsese and without Liotta, De Niro and Pesci.

100% and I am grateful for the likes of the simpsons, family guy, archer, 24, community, lost(well sortof) band of brother, CSI & big bang theory, just to mention a few

I'm not implying the british TV is the only way.

I'd actually forgotten about the US produced version of topgear. I think I lost interest at the after they started playing lots of heavy metal to try and jazz up the "drama".

sorry I edited out the bit about good tv series, noticed your post was more about the surrounding crap than the quality of the shows themselves :) I've recently watched some UK series and they're great: Hit&Miss, The Fall, Utopia, and some conspiracy one I forgot the title. too bad many of great UK shows aren't recapped (US usually exploits the franchise to death, the number of seasons of The Office as an example). to capture some bits about the difference on how British vs American tv works, check out 'Episodes' ;)

Apple TV with games, that will be the big part. It will be a new console and one that is more open. It will win if they do it right, they will own handheld and console/screen platforms

Controlling or flicking apps to the Apple TV from your device/pad and then playing. Or using an app like that in school, business presentations etc. AirPlay was just the first step.

Further on that leads to remote controlling very large screens, movie theater waiting games, street big screens, big screens at concerts/sports venues. I think they are underestimating it... Screens everywhere with apps/games tightly tied to remote control devices on your phone.

Apple TV will use native and common languages not just scripting like Roku although there will be many scripting libraries that will pop up. I'd love to work on some of this and can't wait.

Side note: I think Microsoft being closed and XBone is further missing a huge opportunity here... they are the only other one that has the full device setup like Apple (hardware, software, devices, pull) but they fumbled it over and over. Including the older Win7 being on C# only and non native for one -- xbox being closed. It's too late for them. Apple TV can accidentally disrupt the entire game console market and TV app market introducing all sorts of things and standards for controlling screens.

If you have a good idea for a television app you can build it and publish it now on Roku. No need to wait for some revolution or anything.

To get started in Roku development just takes a Roku device for testing (cheap) and free registration as a developer [1]. You build applications using a custom language (BrightScript) that is similar to Lua or VB. Once you're done you can publish your app for free or charge for it. Publishing channels that show up in the main channel store requires Roku testing and certification, which can take a few weeks sometimes.

My experience developing apps on Roku has been pretty positive. The biggest negative is the non-standard language and environment (they should have gone with an existing language IMO). Another issue is that you can't show foreign language content, they now have a DISH Network exclusive agreement for foreign channels.

[1]: http://www.roku.com/developer

This may be true but 95-99% of that revenue will go to those apps allowing access to video content (Netflix, Amazon, Lovefilm, HBO and many other services around the world). Whether the remainder is 1% or 5% will probably depend on whether there is a good enough interface for games developed.

The 10ft user interface sucks (and is always going to suck) compared with handheld touch device so it is a lousy platform for interaction. It may even be that browsing of the content provided by apps increasingly moves to the tablet while playback remains on the big screen.

TV+Internet convergence... now with Apps.

Not really sure what makes it different from the other times this has been tried. Those Cable companies are really good at stomping out any innovation.

Cable companies are terrible at getting good software on televisions. They are obsessed with control. They flirted with OCAP for years and after a decade it was all a waste.

Two new models for TV apps I see are:

1. Games that are specifically fitted to replace TV. They'll probably be non competitive, fit for nearly passive consumption, with great story and visuals. Machinarium is one example, and i heard good thing about the walking dead story wise.

But there would be a need to finding all those games and marketing them to TV viewers.

2. Israeli TV production houses seem on some disruptive path. For example hatufim, the TV series homeland was based on, cost $50k per episode, vs $2.5 million per homeland episode. Those financial limits make israeli producers focus on good stories, which is the reason Hollywood does lots of deals with israeli companies.

On the other hand, such cost structure makes it much easier to try new things: releasing all episodes at once(really helps to be absorbed with content), new finance models,new ads tech,new ways to access global audiences, new kinds of stories.

And TV as apps could make it easier to build such models.

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