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The Battle To Rule The Digital Living Room Is Like Afghanistan

There's a lot of competition for our eyes afoot in our very own living rooms among some of the world's most savvy marketers. Apple has launched a new version of Apple TV and one gets the feeling Steve Jobs would like to see this iteration elevated above "hobby" status. Google plans to embed its services on televisions from Sony. And Samsung is developing its own apps for its TVs and trying to woo software developers.

"The digital living room is a lot like Afghanistan. Some superpower tries to take it over and set it straight, but the people don't want to be taken over," says Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader. "It's a very slow evolution."

The problem, according to Wharton faculty and other experts in this piece, is that consumers are not likely to change their television habits very quickly. So far, for example, they have not shown much interest in having a computer on their TV. "It's a hard one for people in the computer industry to understand," Jobs says.

Andrea Matwyshyn, a legal studies and business ethics professor at Wharton, argues that it's fruitless to crown any of these rivals as a future king of the digital living room. "How people will use these tools is [as yet] undetermined. When devices are introduced to the living room, there may be unintended uses."



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