TV always used to be a collective pleasure. Remember how families met around the next big thing, the prime-time event that grew up our minds and entertained the bulk. Interest rose with the whole offer: more colors, more channels, more catchup broadcast. Technology supposed to be a strong ally to stream these big events and used to get the best off them, threatened theatre, sports spots and children movies. And brought lots of opportunities in consuming TV: recording, ads shifting, original sounds and voices, quality of sound and high definition for picture.
As I’ve been involved in several business, including TVs matters, for 15 last years, I could follow lots of changes in programs, box, new comers and technology: from satellite to DTT, and live to VOD/catchup, it never stopped really to be a collective show, for a whole group.
But social actions and networking is nothing but individual acts, as we don’t show us, linking others or chatting in a group session. More individual, because one-to-one action, talk and debate. As if whole family could stare at a member that would enter into networking…and being passive for hours. Dumb, no interest of course.
I’m wondering how can be the result to come for the recent moves with manufacturers, that add contents or access to contents, to their TV devices (which already include set top box functions inside), as youtube, google browser and so long…I’ve been a witness for start of what we called interactive TV, which was a lab for “e-working or e-entertainent”, that took place in TV at the time and never been a real success…why? Because any individual act has nothing to see with “TV representation”, facing the family: what could be fun, to see someone making its shopping, boring the audience in the room…You see what I mean?
What I can say, living with these strategics moves is that social networking is definitely an individual pleasure. how can anyone spend time, watching a private conversation, talk or chat without being active? Is that’s because skype is starting to collaborate with LG and Panasonic, on HDTV devices, that it makes the next big picture and makes it “social”. Not at all, it stays like a private conversation with a big screen video conference.
I believe convergence has limits, in the way that technology grows faster than our agreement for. That’s not because tech can, that we want. And in the case of bringing social apps to TV screens, there’s a lot to bet in losing the essence of social: having a fresh private space of freedom and expression. Looking at youtube for my fav video doesn’t mean all the audience is gonna like it. Using Google on my TV screen will uncover my own research, as my own passions. That doesn’t mean it match with my surrounds. Are you ready to have a look at IM or your mails, in front of your whole family? Your bank accounts? At your private dates?
I tried to resume as short as I could, the main schemas of using “screens”, with the targeted utilities. We see that nothing is obvious, even if we can call it “all screens” or “any device”, focusing on the way we can (must?) use these for. I don’t declare anything as “definite truth”, but put me in front of my experience of TV business development. As years passed, and saw such more and more “clever” ideas, there is limit to convergence, and these limits are social, not technical. For Heaven’s sake we still can control machines and make them what we really want them to do, for us. Let’s consider them as “tools” (as social apps are…), and use them. So social TV is more a concept than a screen, in fact. And last but not least, a “3D” concept: Deep, Disturbing and Desired. An easy way to bring new shape to old stuff.
Let’s start your uncovered trip, to Social Screens Skip!