IPhone-Like Apps For Traditional TV? Confusing For Viewers

Make the TV more like a PC, Mac, or the device of the day -- the iPhone -- with applications for the TV screen, and what do you get? More value -- or just more confusion?

The lean-back experience of TV as we all know has been pushed - - and predicted -- to change into a lean-forward effort, or at least a sit-up-and-take-notice mode.

A growing push to add applications to traditional TV viewing, making it more like the laptop or mobile phone, sounds like a lot of eye and ear candy. But it's more complicated -- as cable operators, telco and satellite programmers as well as set-top manufacturers will have a lot to say about the process.

Forget about the technical stuff for a second. From a business perspective, these new TV applications look like they'll come down to -- what else -- another revenue-sharing concept.  This happens all over the place on the Internet, especially when sharing content. In turn, this revenue sharing comes down to advertising sales.



The app effort for traditional TV hopes to be another way to suck some advertising revenue out of traditional media platforms. In part this is because no cable system, satellite, or telco operator likes to part with much money these days for content.

But this doesn't mean TV providers wouldn't like to make a buck from their consumers by providing them with a nice photo/video storage app, an NFL Fantasy League app, a music editing app, a or PGA golf app.

But consider what this looks like to consumers. All those potential permutations -- different television programming retailers as well as different TV hardware companies in the form of set-top boxes -- and what you end up with its another head-scratching mess to mull over.

TV consumers not only want ease of use; they'd also like an easier picture of the future and what technology will be around in future years, or at least  a couple of TV seasons from now.  Betamax or VHS? Blu-Ray or Divx? It's more confusing than that.

Spending $9.95 on a money manager iPhone app could be a good idea today. But where will that app be a year from now? One thing's for sure: The iPhone will still be around.

When it comes to traditional TV, the fascination with possible new technologies seem to be overshadowed by gambling on which multiple system/hardware combinations will win out in the near-term.

The new push on the lean-back experience is now making everyone sit up and take notice -- but there won't be much real action for a while.

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