Your Smart TV Isn't So Smart, & That Driverless Car May Need A Chauffeur

Maybe you don't want to do everything with your TV. 

Perhaps you don't want to tweet through your TV, share photographs through your TV, or email through your TV.  (Your set is positioned kind of far away, isn't it? But your smartphone and tablet are much nearer, and something you can hold).

We always marvel about the wonders of technology displayed at the Consumer Electronic Show. But we wind up being terribly wrong about how consumers might use them. Actual consumer behavior comes way after the fact.

VCRs in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s had people believing we would all become network programming executives, creating our own daily prime-time lineups. That didn't happen.

More recently, what happened to those eyeglasses with video screens? (Hello, Google Glasses). Perhaps there was the belief then we didn't need the "first" screen of our TVs, or perhaps even the "second" and "third" screens of our PCs, smartphones or tablets; all we needed to do was move the screen as close to our eyes as possible to get maximum entertainment results.



You might think 3D technology is also in this category. It wasn't that long ago -- maybe two years back -- that the hot consumer items were 3D HDTVs. Now 3D doesn’t seem to be the flavor of the month – replaced by much higher quality 4K and 8K TVs, which provide 10 to 15 times better picture quality than current HDTV equipment.

Consumer technology moves on. One would believe that tablets are just big phones with big screens. Who would need that? Apparently everyone seems to. Not only that, but smaller mini-tablets are also popular.

Last year, we were left with "smart" TVs -- essentially sets with an Internet connection. These TVs promised to give us more of what we now can get from laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Maybe that's not the case either.  Many TV executives and consumers believe the current batch of smart TVs are 1) not that smart; 2) too gimmicky; and 3) hard to use and/or navigate.

This year CES has a bunch of driverless cars and other technology that allows cars to park by themselves, stay in a lane if we fall asleep, or automatically stop if we back out of a driveway and something out-of-the-blue gets in the way.

What high-concept, high-promise products will be getting a shrug of shoulders six months from now? Consumer electronic companies always wind up veering off the road a little.


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