Making TVs smart is a three-part series that looks at why smart TVs have failed to take off — and what needs to happen for these devices to realize their vast potential. You can read part one here and part two here.
When Google TV debuted back in 2010, it represented a radical take on smart TVs. Google wanted to combine live TV with internet content, and offer viewers a seamless way to switch from an ABC broadcast to a Netflix stream. The first generation of Google TV devices failed for a variety of reasons.
But all many people remember are those crazy remote controls.
That’s a lot of buttons: Sony’s first-generation Google TV remote control.
Logitech’s Revue companion box shipped with a full-size QWERTY keyboard better suited for an office desk than a living-room couch, and Sony’s Google TV devices introduced a monster of a remote control that had no fewer than 80 buttons.
Google has learned from these mistakes and, along with a number of other companies, is trying to rethink how people interact with their TVs. Keeping this kind of interaction simple as TVs get smarter turns out to be a big challenge. Cracking this nut could open the door to a whole new range of applications, which is one of the keys to getting users excited and finally turning smart TVs into a success story.
Changing the channel without knowing the number
Google’s initial decision to make Google TV devices with a full QUERTY keyboard was prompted by a problem anyone who has ever tried a streaming box like Apple TV or Roku knows well: Search, or even entering account credentials, is a royal pain.
Most streaming boxes come with remote controls that are built around a so-called D-Pad — buttons to navigate up, down, left and right. To search, devices use on-screen keyboards, leaving users with the slow, frustrating task of manually jumping from one letter to the next to type.
Read the full article at http://gigaom.com/2013/08/02/making-tvs-smart-part-3/