Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th Aug 2014 16:31 UTC
In the News

Things were looking up in early 2013 for the team behind webOS, a pioneering but star-crossed mobile operating system. After surviving the implosion of Palm and a rocky acquisition by HP, LG stepped in to buy the team. The consumer electronics giant seemed like a white knight with a plan: To make webOS the core of LG's next-generation smart TV platform, and use the brains behind webOS to create a much-needed engine of innovation at LG. To create a unit that was meant to help the company to beat competitors like Samsung with Silicon Valley smarts. A disruptive force.

Eighteen months later, the acquisition looks a lot like a failure.

I wondered why it got so awfully quiet after that CES showing.

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Comment by drcouzelis
by drcouzelis on Fri 29th Aug 2014 17:06 UTC
drcouzelis
Member since:
2010-01-11

My favorite quote:

Sources told me that LG had a policy in place to reward managers with bonuses or even promotions if their features were part of the final product. The result was a constant feature bloat, as everyone tried to add on one more thing.

What a scary way to develop a piece of technology!

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by drcouzelis
by Pro-Competition on Fri 29th Aug 2014 17:18 UTC in reply to "Comment by drcouzelis"
Pro-Competition Member since:
2007-08-20

That does explain a few things, doesn't it?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by drcouzelis
by jgagnon on Fri 29th Aug 2014 19:43 UTC in reply to "Comment by drcouzelis"
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

I be similar rules brought about the bloatware of the big-name PC makers.

Reply Score: 4

From the comments section
by WorknMan on Fri 29th Aug 2014 17:32 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

I wish that more resources could be put into higher-quality panels rather than features. A $49 Roku makes a lot more sense than some never-to-be-updated facsimile that will probably be abandoned as soon as the TV finishes shipping.
-
Right, that’s my opinion as well. I don’t want a “smart” TV. I want an excellent display that I can connect to a “smart” device like a Roku. That way I have an excellent TV for 10+ years and a “smart” device w/ capabilities that I want, that can be upgraded or replaced many times over the lifetime of the TV.

Reply Score: 9

RE: From the comments section
by phoenix on Fri 29th Aug 2014 19:14 UTC in reply to "From the comments section"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Exactly. A large panel with excellent colour gamut, contrast, etc that will last 10+ years. And enough inputs to connect whatever devices I want. You could even remove the TV Tuner itself, for all I care.

Reply Score: 6

RE: From the comments section
by Alfman on Fri 29th Aug 2014 21:12 UTC in reply to "From the comments section"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

I still disagree, because external smart devices are inherently unable to offer as much integration as a broader smart standard could. So long as we're stuck with dumb TV's we're going to be stuck with poor user experiences across many devices. "Smart boxes" like the roku will never be able to provide a truly integrated experience. I'm sick of juggling and loosing many remotes. So long as smarts are contained in external devices, the features are inevitably fragmented into isolated islands. An awesome feature from the local cable company provides is displaying caller ID on screen, but the feature only works when watching cable tv, when we watch the roku or dvd...it's not integrated there ;)


You assume it will become technologically obsolete quickly, but maybe you aren't thinking of the right kinds of applications. Think of it more as a multimedia standard to make it possible to interconnect devices around the house. It's NOT going to replace an xbox, however it should integrate with an xbox. When you plug in an xbox into your home network, that should automatically pop up on your smart tv. Your smart tv should be able to run an app to stream the xbox video to your TV and then forwards your controller information back, so you don't have to physically lug your xbox (or any external boxes) around to use it on all your smart TVs.

A smart tv could open up a wealth of innovation in home automation. Say if I want to set an alarm to wake me up in the morning by playing music tracks on my stereo, turning up the heat, turning on the lights, and starting the coffee maker. These are all possible today, but the technologies remain isolated and there is no common integration - each requires separate configuration and feature support. With a smart TV I could install an app that allows me to set my schedule in one place, done! If it snowed overnight, it could perform all these an hour earlier to give me more time to shovel the driveway! HDMI patch cables are obviously never going to get us this level of integration. Once standards exist for interconnecting smart devices, there wouldn't be a very compelling reason to not have a smart TV to go along with all the other smart devices around the house.

I would love to be on the team to design these things, I can think of plenty of other applications. The key isn't to have an ultra-powerful computer in the TV, but instead to recognize that the TV can offer excellent integration without a heavy duty CPU. It doesn't matter if the CPU can't handle the latest crysis, as long as it offers flawless integration with a game console or computer that does.

Don't get me wrong, there's huge risk today for early adapters to get stuck with proprietary smart tvs that flop and never gain traction. You need to be extremely forward thinking to appreciate what a smart tv could offer; but hypothetically if there were industry-wide open smart standards for tvs and other devices that had strong multi-vender support, I think even you (and thom who has spoken against smart tvs) could learn to appreciate them ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: From the comments section
by kurkosdr on Fri 29th Aug 2014 22:36 UTC in reply to "RE: From the comments section"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

You assume it will become technologically obsolete quickly, but maybe you aren't thinking of the right kinds of applications. Think of it more as a multimedia standard to make it possible to interconnect devices around the house.


To be honest, I think even the video playback feature of a Smart TV will be obsolete sooner than you think. Just when you thought H.264 was going to become the gold standard... oooh look... HEVC just got released, it offers a little bit better quality and completely breaks back compat. Then there are home streaming standards which also change. And there is also stuff like 48/50/60fps video which is around the corner. Sure, these won't replace old formats right away, but they will do it gradually.

Then there is 4K. With the speed obsolence happens in multimedia nowadays, I won't be surprised if all 1080p content goes poof in 4-5 years or so, so a device that can at least downconvert 4K to 1080p might be handy.

And then the real kicker is new video web streaming services (aka the next Netflix or whatever), which won't work with your smart TV if the TV manufacturer doesn't want to play ball with the service owner.

Smart TVs are like those uber-expensive hardware players people get tricked into buying. Just a reminder, hardware players went from DVD-Video -> Divx (with numerous versions, only version 6 doing Xsubs) -> Bluray -> MKV and MP4. Hope you didn't buy an expensive one at every stage.

There has been so much obsolence in multimedia, that paying big bucks for any multimedia device (besides amplifiers and SPDIF home cinema decoders) doesn't make sense.

Wake me up when the extra money a SmartTV costs is the same as an external Hardware Player. Otherwise... no. Not a smart move at all.

Edited 2014-08-29 22:44 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: From the comments section
by WorknMan on Fri 29th Aug 2014 22:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: From the comments section"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Yeah, manufacturers would have to keep updating their old TVs, and there's absolutely no incentive for them to do that, unless they're going to charge for the updates.

The reason why I don't want all this 'smart' stuff built into my TV is the same reason I don't want it built into my computer monitors. They're better as the equivalent of dumb terminals.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: From the comments section
by Alfman on Fri 29th Aug 2014 23:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: From the comments section"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

Yeah, manufacturers would have to keep updating their old TVs, and there's absolutely no incentive for them to do that, unless they're going to charge for the updates.


Assuming the devices were open (yea I know today's corporations love to lock things down), then it wouldn't matter at all if manufacturer supported it after sale. There'd be plenty of aftermarket support. This is why open devices and standards are so important; proprietary solutions leave you stuck in their hands.

The bigger question is whether manufacturers would be willing to commit to an open platform to begin with. They might prefer to go the restricted/walled garden route, if that's the case then I agree it would ruin everything.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: From the comments section
by Alfman on Fri 29th Aug 2014 23:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: From the comments section"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

To be honest, I think even the video playback feature of a Smart TV will be obsolete sooner than you think.


No worse than an TV with an HDMI port, surely. Yet people still buy those.


And then the real kicker is new video web streaming services (aka the next Netflix or whatever), which won't work with your smart TV if the TV manufacturer doesn't want to play ball with the service owner.


I'm hoping for an open standard, which I concede may not happen. Hypothetically though if an open standard did take root and was widespread, then netflix couldn't afford to not support it. If they did not, then they would become obsolete as others come in to take their place.

Smart TVs are like those uber-expensive hardware players people get tricked into buying. Just a reminder, hardware players went from DVD-Video -> Divx (with numerous versions, only version 6 doing Xsubs) -> Bluray -> MKV and MP4. Hope you didn't buy an expensive one at every stage.


Again, I don't think a smart TV needs to be a primary source of content, it just needs to be part of an integrated smart platform. Keep in mind were not ruling out external boxes at all. They're fine to the extent that they're useful. For example, I wouldn't want my wall mounted smart TV to have a DVD drive, but hopefully basic functionality would replace the features of a roku.

To the extent that it's a concern, there's no reason the smart tvs couldn't include a sort of vendor neutral standard slot for upgrades and even switching out the TV's smarts with that of another vendor. Admittedly, this level of standardization may be wishful thinking, but it'd be technically possible and we've done similar things before (ie pcmcia). In the end, having an external box would always be a possibility so the ONLY negative I can think of is price.


Wake me up when the extra money a SmartTV costs is the same as an external Hardware Player. Otherwise... no. Not a smart move at all.


A smart TV doesn't have to be as cheap as an external hardware player, it only has to be cheap enough to displace the dumb TV. Eventually this will happen. Digital TVs are already being built with computers anyways, I honestly think the marginal costs won't be noticeable once smart tvs are mass produced and we're over the early-adopter phase. Every TV will be a smart TV.

My biggest concern is that they're build on open standards rather than vendor locked proprietary ones.

Edited 2014-08-29 23:34 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: From the comments section
by zima on Wed 3rd Sep 2014 14:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: From the comments section"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Admittedly, this level of standardization may be wishful thinking, but it'd be technically possible and we've done similar things before (ie pcmcia)

Hm, I think my current LG (dumb) TV has PCMCIA for some purpose - never investigated it TBH ;) (would have to dig out the instruction manual...)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: From the comments section
by zima on Fri 5th Sep 2014 23:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: From the comments section"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

PS. From the instruction manual: that PCMCIA slot is for "Common Interface module" / Conditional Access Module, compliant with DVB-CI or CI plus, for watching coded (for payment) services in the mode of digital TV (but apparently not even available in all countries)

So it's DRM ;) - I suppose that's one thing the industry can standardise upon?... :/
(but at least, from the info at the end of the manual, the TV runs on Linux and such ;) )

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: From the comments section
by Sauron on Sat 30th Aug 2014 01:25 UTC in reply to "RE: From the comments section"
Sauron Member since:
2005-08-02

WorknMan,

I'm sick of juggling and loosing many remotes.


Exactly. Which is why we need smart REMOTES and NOT smart tv's.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: From the comments section
by Alfman on Sat 30th Aug 2014 02:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: From the comments section"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Sauron,

Exactly. Which is why we need smart REMOTES and NOT smart tv's.


You know, one doesn't really rule out the other. And anyways a universal remote is a poor substitute for the features I'd like to see. Frankly "smart remote" would struggle with presenting us with information the way a smart TV could.

For those who didn't pick up on it already in earlier posts, the vision is "smart everything". The smart TV is but one component of an integrated experience. I get that today's smart tvs fall well short of this vision, but I'm speaking more of what should be possible in the future if manufacturers could only agree to work together to develop standards and build vender neutral interoperability.

In a smart everything home, it would make very little sense to have a dumb tv - it would be a missed opportunity to provide rich feedback in prime locations. Sure you could buy an external smart box for each dumb TV, at the begging that could be the most likely transition and I don't have a problem with it. However assuming you really believe in the smart home vision to begin with where everything else is "smart capable (tm)", then it would not make much sense to not incorporate support into the TV, particularly as marginal costs drop.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: From the comments section
by tidux on Sat 30th Aug 2014 08:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: From the comments section"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

> what should be possible in the future if manufacturers could only agree to work together to develop standards and build vender neutral interoperability.

That'll be about six weeks past doomsday, then. Right now they have every incentive to induce as much lock-in as possible.

Reply Score: 6

RE[5]: From the comments section
by Alfman on Sat 30th Aug 2014 14:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: From the comments section"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

tidux,

That'll be about six weeks past doomsday, then. Right now they have every incentive to induce as much lock-in as possible.


I've expressed this concern in every single post. Even if we have open standards, it's not enough for only one or two manufacturers to implement them. Many of the benefits will be lost if there isn't widespread defacto support. Once an open platform reached critical mass, every manufacturer would have a strong incentive to support it, since consumers would come to expect good integration. But before then how do we open a path to get there? This is the toughest problem I see, so we need to take suggestions on this.

Maybe there are some device manufacturers who would be willing to get on board, not all of them stand to benefit when proprietary solutions win.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: From the comments section
by zima on Wed 3rd Sep 2014 14:58 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: From the comments section"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Hoping for semi-open solution from one vendor winning? (like Android)
...but Google TV kinda already failed, do you see anybody else willing to do it?

Coincidentally, I get ads in this article for http://www.fibaro.com/en/the-fibaro-system/motion-sensor which seems like a closed home automation system... (and that eye looks creepy, GlaDOS-like! ;) )

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: From the comments section
by Alfman on Wed 3rd Sep 2014 18:28 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: From the comments section"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

zima,

Instantly reminded me about microcomputer revolution Wiki articles ...and we still don't have it, connections turned out to be much harder than anticipated
...


Yea, I know. Right now, there isn't much hope for cross-device integration & automation without standards. Standardization is the key, but who really knows if that's achievable given how many corporations don't like to play well with others.


Hoping for semi-open solution from one vendor winning? (like Android)
...but Google TV kinda already failed, do you see anybody else willing to do it?


Well, I would think it would need to be a consortium for it to have any chance of becoming a vendor neutral standard that would be universally supported. I don't see apple/ms/google/samsung/etc adopting it unless (A) it already had tons of market share, or (B) they each had a stake in the platform, assuming they'd even be willing to sit together to make it happen. Another issue is whether they can be trusted to build a platform where they don't usurp the role of gatekeepers.

We'll need to revisit this 20 years later to see if anything's changed :/



Coincidentally, I get ads in this article for...which seems like a closed home automation system... (and that eye looks creepy, GlaDOS-like! ;)


Very creepy indeed!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: From the comments section
by coreyography on Sat 30th Aug 2014 02:50 UTC in reply to "RE: From the comments section"
coreyography Member since:
2009-03-06

The key isn't to have an ultra-powerful computer in the TV, but instead to recognize that the TV can offer excellent integration without a heavy duty CPU. It doesn't matter if the CPU can't handle the latest crysis, as long as it offers flawless integration with a game console or computer that does.


I haven't shopped for TVs in the last few years, but my "smart" TV takes close to 10 seconds to give me a picture once powered on, and about 4 or 5 seconds to change channels. Similar lags plague the menus. The last thing I'd want in a smart TV is a low-powered CPU (though common and cheap quad-core ARM SoCs, courtesy of the smartphone market, may make this a moot point).

My other big objection to what passes for smart TVs today is that they come with complex, Internet-facing software that probably no longer gets updated more than a couple of years after the TV hits the market. So, just like wireless routers, they are potentially a security nightmare if people keep them for the normal amount of time people keep TVs. You would have to carefully firewall your TV from the Internet (oh, and don't let anyone use that browser built into it), and possibly the rest of your home network as well in case it gets turned into a bot.

And finally, some things, as others have alluded to, are better left simple. KISS principle and all that.

What's my Luddite view of a truly smart TV? Lots of tech devoted to _giving me a good picture_; quality screen with even backlighting and good contrast and black levels, superb video upscaling, easy-to-use color calibration tools. And FAST response to remote commands.

Convenience features:
* A thumbnail mosaic of what is coming in on every input, sort of a PIP on steroids, so I can select the right one immediately instead of trying each one and waiting.
* A tabular list of channels detected in the last scan, with call-letters and optionally user-defined descriptions of each, so I don't have to go digging for the channel card the cable company gave me everytime I want to watch a more obscure channel.

I also agree with the commenter that said we need smarter remotes. A universal remote, which had preprogrammed codes for other devices (and could be electronically updated with new lists of devices over Bluetooth or USB), as well as learning capabilities for oddball devices is something I'd pay extra for as opposed to buying a Logitech Harmony or something.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: From the comments section
by Alfman on Sat 30th Aug 2014 04:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: From the comments section"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

coreyography,

Firstly, your post, though critical, was highly constructive. I thank you for that since it seems hard to get past the basic negative perceptions. All of your points are valid. If I were developing a smart tv, I'd want you on the team to make the product better ;)

Many of the problems will get ironed out as the industry matures and smart tv manufacturers compete on the quality of their implementations. It will get better - I just hope the end-game converges on open standards rather than proprietary ones since open technologies offer the most choice and foster the most innovation.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: From the comments section
by blueX on Mon 1st Sep 2014 23:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: From the comments section"
blueX Member since:
2014-02-10

coreyography,
Many of the problems will get ironed out as the industry matures and smart tv manufacturers compete on the quality of their implementations. It will get better - I just hope the end-game converges on open standards rather than proprietary ones since open technologies offer the most choice and foster the most innovation.


I have seen smart TV's and seen that they can work well in cases, though bad apps (takes 2-3minutes to load the app) or broken apps (crashes somewhere between the start and the end of the movie and you have to restart and try to figure out where you were, often 2-3 times per movie) ruins the experience today.

I support "dumb" screens plus a dedicated box. Samsung/LG/etc competes over who can put the most in a box, but they still need to keep costs down. User experience? Things might work, if you're willing to wait for it. Kinda like the old, slow DVD/BD players. Sure, newer players is faster and especially DVD's loads almost instantly. But this is a display, a TV. It will never get faster, and paying $40 for a DVD/BD-player is still not the same as paying $1000 for a TV. Yes, people that pay ~$1000 for their TV is not the same people that pay upwards of $5000 for it, and those on the high end would probably invest more in the player connected to it.

My point is that to most, it would make a lot more sense to have a good screen and have a box they could switch out. And unless you could replace the motherboard of a TV in a "PCMCIA style", this would make a very costly investment become obsolete way too early. Just looking at software updates in the world of tech today makes this a dream. Not even a standard platform could keep TV's up to date (just look at android and even updates installed on users windows computers).

I can vote for a common standard like a notification system or something like you proposed, like letting people know what is happening in their home and messages from incoming "sources". Also ajusting lights, airconditioning, sunscreens, locking/unlocking the front door... Useful cases, but only if the TV worked as an interface for those functions. If I bought a "cheap" TV and it took me 5minutes to unlock the front door or if I requested a song to be played and nothing happened, until 20minutes later the system came out of a hang...

On another note, with Microsoft and the smart-device stuff, the last thing I hope is Windows "Home-Device-Server" to become the standard of home automation. I've used Microsoft and Windows products all my life since DOS/W3.11, and I believe if MS gets the key to all those switches, we're doomed ;)

Sure, TV's should be smarter regarding IO to/from other devices, but I don't think it should be as "smart" as you propose =)

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: From the comments section
by Alfman on Tue 2nd Sep 2014 03:29 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: From the comments section"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

blueX,

I can vote for a common standard like a notification system or something like you proposed, like letting people know what is happening in their home and messages from incoming "sources". Also ajusting lights, airconditioning, sunscreens, locking/unlocking the front door... Useful cases, but only if the TV worked as an interface for those functions.


I agree, but ideally we should not hard code specific interfaces for these applications. There's just no way manufacturers can anticipate all these use cases up front, which is why a smart tv must not be restricted to fixed/bundled applications. Users must not be reliant on the manufacturer for applications, this path leads to vender lock and obsolescence. Consumers need to be able to add/remove 3rd party applications to interface to their smart devices, even if those are from a competing manufacturer!

If I bought a "cheap" TV and it took me 5minutes to unlock the front door or if I requested a song to be played and nothing happened, until 20minutes later the system came out of a hang...


Why wouldn't we just mandate certain minimum requirements and benchmarks to be completed in order for implementations to be certifiable? I would hope that the certification process was thorough enough to weed out garbage implementations like this. If you by a smart tv that's not certified, well then you are on your own.

Sure, TV's should be smarter regarding IO to/from other devices, but I don't think it should be as "smart" as you propose =)


I don't really understand what you are proposing then. The device integration features need the TV to get involved. Personally I'm against hard coding specific application interfaces into the TV. Say some manufacturer brings out some unconceived awesome new invention to do XYZ. They will be constrained to the pre-existing interfaces already hard coded in millions of deployed TV. Alternatively they'll use a new interface and try to convince manufacturers to implement it in new TVs and hope they'll push out an update for old TVs. Consumers will become confused and frustrated. Inevitably some will be left out in the cold and be forced to buy new TVs if they want the new features. This is exactly the scenario everyone is worried about and we need to avoid.

The 3rd party application approach is good because the manufacturer wouldn't need to be involved. A user can buy the aforementioned XYZ, install the app on any certified smarttv, and have new device integration up and running. This model works for the life of the TV. I'm open to other suggestions, but this seems to be the best way to maximize the TV's integration potential with things that haven't been invented yet, paving the way for innovation. By limiting what a TV can do, or limiting it to hardware adons, it discourages would-be software developers from participating.

Edited 2014-09-02 03:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: From the comments section
by Morty on Sun 31st Aug 2014 09:41 UTC in reply to "RE: From the comments section"
Morty Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm sick of juggling and loosing many remotes.

You are looking at it wrong, smart TVs will never fix that. As so many have pointed out, the smart in TVs get obsolete much faster then a decent display. You will soon need external devices to compensate.

What you want is not smart TV's, you want dumber TVs. Basicly a great screen with on/off. No remote needed, let the extern Smart device handle that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: From the comments section
by Alfman on Sun 31st Aug 2014 20:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: From the comments section"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Morty,

You are looking at it wrong, smart TVs will never fix that. As so many have pointed out, the smart in TVs get obsolete much faster then a decent display. You will soon need external devices to compensate. What you want is not smart TV's, you want dumber TVs. Basicly a great screen with on/off. No remote needed, let the extern Smart device handle that.


I wish you hadn't skipped everything that I said. Understand the smart tv features I'm going for, it's not about replacing high power consoles and I've already said this. If you want to criticize my vision, be fair and at least take the time to understand what it is before echoing the generic "smart tvs are bad, dumb tvs are good" matra to me.

What you want is not smart TV's, you want dumber TVs. Basicly a great screen with on/off. No remote needed, let the extern Smart device handle that.


Sticking with dumbtvs indefinately and not adopting open smart tv standards will perminently impede the potential for a better user expirience, once you understand that you should have a better appreciation for where I'm coming from.

For starters, adding features to a dumb tv with external boxes is tedious. Lets say we have a cable box, roku, xbox, dvd player, a baby monitor, a DVR, and add a home automation kit for the fun of it. There's the irregular external boxs, cabling, power supplies, all hungry for power, and then numerous remotes; it's all very annoying, and needs to be repeated for every TV where you want those features. The messy logistics of it all will probably result in many consumers opting to simply forgo those features entirely even on TVs where they'd be desirable (like in the kitchen). With the standards I'm proposing, smart tvs would allow these devices to be accessed throughout the house. And the boxes which serve absolutely no other purpose than to interface with the dumb tv, well those could be replaced with smart tv apps.

But that's only part of the problem, even if we put aside all the wiring/remotes/etc, we're still left with a fragmented subpar experience. Having callerid popup on the TV is nice, with a dumb tv, this has to be implemented through an external video source. Fine, some cable company boxes already do this today. But it's a hack. What if I have another video source selected like a dvd or the roku? Those devices don't know when someone is calling, even if they wanted to implement the feature. You could stick all the devices behind the cable box so the cable box can always overly the caller id, but you've merely shifted the problem. Now if someone contacts you for skyping or a game request on the xbox, you'll miss those notifications when any other HDMI source is selected. This configuration would break the TV's picture in picture. Also, have you ever seen a DVR playback a show with caller id that occured during the original showing? That wouldn't happen with an out of band smart tv mechanism.

So I hope we can agree that without smart tv standards, many use cases don't work very well. Short of dismissing those usecases as unimportant to you, you have to admit that a dumb tv is limiting. If you want an external smart tv module to connect to your dumb TV, that doesn't bother me. I said it earlier that this would be a very common transition route. However as I said before, when marginal price drops low enough there will be no reason not incorporate smart standards into all new TVs, enabling them to integrate with all other smart devices. Future generations will be glad to leave the dumb tv past behind, even if naysayers don't admit it today ;)

Reply Score: 4

anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07


For starters, adding features to a dumb tv with external boxes is tedious. Lets say we have a cable box, roku, xbox, dvd player, a baby monitor, a DVR, and add a home automation kit for the fun of it.


A smart TV doesn't change this, unfortunately.

The only thing that would change this is having a system that can do all of that and then it can be done in a device that is attached to a dumb TV, allowing to upgrade this universal system and the output device separately (e.g. change from a TV to a new one or to a projector, etc.)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: From the comments section
by Alfman on Mon 1st Sep 2014 11:56 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: From the comments section"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

anda_skoa,

"For starters, adding features to a dumb tv with external boxes is tedious."

A smart TV doesn't change this, unfortunately.


Why not? A feature that can be implemented via a smart tv app requires no wires. For example, if I have a webcam at the front door, I could just install an app for it on all my smart tvs. This is much simpler are far more elegant than wiring up all my dumb tvs with external boxes.

As for consoles, yes they could be connected directly to your TV. But a neat thing about smart tv would be that devices don't have to be wired up locally, stick them in a closet in the basement! Smart TV standards should be designed to make this use case absolutely transparent to the end user. The TV would forward controller I/O back to the remote console, and the console would stream video to the TV just as though it were local. A side benefit of this configuration is that now all smart TVs in the house can interface to the console with no additional wiring.


The only thing that would change this is having a system that can do all of that and then it can be done in a device that is attached to a dumb TV, allowing to upgrade this universal system and the output device separately (e.g. change from a TV to a new one or to a projector, etc.)


Well, if I'm right and marginal costs come down, it won't be an issue. But let me bring up another point: The *only* way an external box is going to be able to implement all the smart tv functionality across all devices, like I'm talking about, is if all our devices implement the smart tv standard. Now if we accept this reality where we have smart tv capable devices deployed all around us, then it becomes really hard to make the case that we should keep dumb tvs + external boxes.

To the extent that everyone is still afraid their TV will become obsolete, then I guess it needs to be addressed. However I'm not really convinced that a smart tv standard would become obsolete in backwards compatibility breaking ways any more than say our beloved HDMI standard. In any case, you can always add on an external smarttv box later. To the extent that you were willing to buy a dumb tv + box_v1 and then upgrade a few years later, you could do the same thing had you started with a smarttv_v1, nothing lost.

Another idea I brought up earlier but no one commented on was the possibility to standardize vender neutral smarttv hardware. Ideally the hardware would be open and you could updated to 3rd party firmare, but as we all know this isn't always the case. I concede closed implementations would be a weakness, but at least with standardized hardware slots all compliant tvs could have their hardware updated even after their manufacturers stopped supporting them.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: From the comments section
by Alfman on Mon 1st Sep 2014 23:06 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: From the comments section"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Self,

Well, if I'm right and marginal costs come down, it won't be an issue. But let me bring up another point: The *only* way an external box is going to be able to implement all the smart tv functionality across all devices, like I'm talking about, is if all our devices implement the smart tv standard. Now if we accept this reality where we have smart tv capable devices deployed all around us, then it becomes really hard to make the case that we should keep dumb tvs + external boxes.


I didn't get to write this clearly because I was rushed. The point was that in the future, as the number of smart tv capable devices climbs and the cost of smart tvs come down, it will make less and less sense for people to opt for a dumb TV that cannot interface directly to these devices without an extra smart tv converter box. I'm not saying you can't do it of course, but it probably won't save you any money over just buying a smart tv outright.

Anyways, I enjoy this topic quite a lot because rather than debating the past & present, smart tvs gives us the opportunity to envision possibilities for things that haven't taken off yet. While I seem to be in the minority here, I think smart tvs will happen. My biggest concern is if we end up with competing proprietary standards and vendor locked platforms over ubiquitous open ones.

Edited 2014-09-01 23:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: From the comments section
by zima on Wed 3rd Sep 2014 14:38 UTC in reply to "RE: From the comments section"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Think of it more as a multimedia standard to make it possible to interconnect devices around the house. [...]
A smart tv could open up a wealth of innovation in home automation. Say if I want to set an alarm to wake me up in the morning by playing music tracks on my stereo, turning up the heat, turning on the lights, and starting the coffee maker. These are all possible today, but the technologies remain isolated and there is no common integration - each requires separate configuration and feature support. With a smart TV I could install an app that allows me to set my schedule in one place, done! If it snowed overnight, it could perform all these an hour earlier to give me more time to shovel the driveway!

Instantly reminded me about microcomputer revolution Wiki articles ...and we still don't have it, connections turned out to be much harder than anticipated ;)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcomputer_revolution#The_home_comp...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_computer#The_Home_Computer_.22Rev...

PS. Thanks for the explanation the other day ( http://www.osnews.com/thread?594778 ), too bad I'm probably too stupid to fully understand it ...and wouldn't be much use on your team ;)

Reply Score: 2

The Cursed List
by Vanders on Fri 29th Aug 2014 17:38 UTC
Vanders
Member since:
2005-07-06

It seems that, like the Amiga, we can add WebOS to the Cursed List; destined to wander this Earth, being screwed up royally by whoever touches it.

Edited 2014-08-29 17:38 UTC

Reply Score: 12

RE: The Cursed List
by Pro-Competition on Fri 29th Aug 2014 17:48 UTC in reply to "The Cursed List"
Pro-Competition Member since:
2007-08-20

That was the first thought I had also.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by _txf_
by _txf_ on Fri 29th Aug 2014 19:54 UTC
_txf_
Member since:
2008-03-17

I really hate the trend for smart displays. Honestly I think just about everyone upgrades their displays far less frequently than the devices they're connected to.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sat 30th Aug 2014 00:49 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

I don't give a damn about my tv being able to log into Facebook, Twitter, or any of that other stupid shit. I don't care if I can navigate to a weather app because my house came with windows which work perfectly fine for that. I have zero interest in checking email on my tv. A tv with usb ports, bluetooth, ethernet and the ability to display pictures and play media that I plug in or stream to it? Super! But, no thanks. I don't want a tv that also tries to be my pc/tablet/phone. I don't want a tv that monitors/logs everything I do so it can spam me with advertising. I don't want a tv that spies on me and my local network.

The only thing I need or want from my tv is an awesome picture and the necessities that allow for a home theater environment. I'll let my tiny little inexpensive htpc handle the rest thanks. Call me old-fashioned.

Reply Score: 3

who cares
by DaFreak on Sat 30th Aug 2014 09:18 UTC
DaFreak
Member since:
2008-04-08

I have one of the LG WebOS-TVs (55LB730V) and as written in the gigaom.com-article critics & owner are loving the system. It's smart and intuitive.
A huge local test-mag "Stiftung Warentest" placed the smart TV to number 1! So many new customers will buying the WebOS-powered devices. That's a great news for WebOS and I don't think the OS wouldn't be in this bright light if it would be 'yet-another-smartphone/tablet-os' like before.

Edited 2014-08-30 09:18 UTC

Reply Score: 4

So promising
by tkeith on Sat 30th Aug 2014 15:14 UTC
tkeith
Member since:
2010-09-01

It was a dark day when Apotheker took over HP and killed webos. The whole wannabe IBM strategy went no where and HP is still lost as a result. Back when they bought palm, HP had grand plans for it, including full computers tablets and more. HP would have had a huge jump in the tablet market and we would have a legitimate third OS in the mobile world and maybe even a fourth os in the "desktop" space.

Reply Score: 3

RE: So promising
by lispykid on Sat 30th Aug 2014 18:48 UTC in reply to "So promising "
lispykid Member since:
2009-02-02

Amen!

Reply Score: 1

RE: So promising
by zima on Tue 2nd Sep 2014 00:30 UTC in reply to "So promising "
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

There are three in the desktop space?...

Reply Score: 2

Screwed up
by agentj on Sun 31st Aug 2014 13:04 UTC
agentj
Member since:
2005-08-19

It's more than likely that everything was screwed due to political reasons - no one was willing to take responsibility for anything, take any action whatsoever and proper decisions were gone in endless loop of emails.

Reply Score: 3