Intel challenges TVs to incorporate Internet

In making the case for Intel chips in TV sets, Eric Kim from Intel claimed that there was a consumer demand for “full internet” in their TVs. I’m not so sure about that.

The “full online experience” comes with expectations of user input that a TV just can’t match. Unless I can plug in a keyboard and mouse that fit conveniently on a lap board, surfing the web on my couch is going to be much easier to accomplish with a laptop. Which is exactly what people seem to do when multi-consuming content. The TV is a specialized device, and as such, is best to serve up a tailored experience.

LG seems to be on the right path with their announcement regarding NetflixInstant Queue availability built directly into the TV set. This is a feature that enhances the specialized function served by the TV. As digital convergence increases, there’s a tendency to praise the ability to push a square peg through a round hole. But this approach turns a blind eye to both the quality and substance of the peg and hole. At the lab, we stress the importance of a cohesive content strategy in tackling this issue. But that also applies beyond the content to the platforms themselves.

It is conceivable that one day the TV might become an extended screen for the laptop as wireless technology advances. But until that day, siloed efforts on the set need to tailor themselves to the properties of the TV. And if Intel really wants to make the case for their processors in TVs, this is precisely the argument that will do so. By installing an x86 processor in the sets, manufacturers will be laying the groundwork for open development. Much of the development community for Apple’s OS X expanded dramatically after their switch from PPC to x86 processors, and a wide adoption of x86 processors in TVs would set the stage for a community of specialized app development. The key word being “specialized.” There’s more to the process than just the processors, but it would be a start, and a good one at that.