CES TV News: Android, Mobile and 3D Sans Glasses

Here’s the thing about CES. Most of what we hear is stuff we’ve heard before. The big question is always whether this time it’s for real or not. In this year’s early announcements, we get news that Lenovo is launching a TV set with Android 4.0, Belkin is starting a line of accessories to give existing smartphones and tablets the ability to tune into the new Dyle mobile TV service, and Toshiba is on track to  bring its autostereoscopic 3DTV to American shores this quarter. Now, any bets on which products will actually gain traction in 2012? Personally, I’d keep my Vegas winnings tucked away for now.

On the Android front, Lenovo is releasing its Ice-Cream-Sandwich TV set in China, with no word yet on a US debut. Beyond that, however, we’ve seen no evidence that consumers care about Android access on their living-room flat screens. Google certainly hasn’t made a go of it yet with Google TV, and the TV app environment in general is still pretty lackluster. There are lots of apps, but mostly what people watch is Netflix. While experts predict the next three years will be big for connected TV sales, we still haven’t seen a shake-out among TV app environments. Consumers won’t show a preference until somebody demonstrates a TV marketplace with several notably superior apps not available elsewhere. (i.e. apps with really good content a la HBO Go) I doubt Android’s going to be able to do that in 2012.

Dyle TV is an interesting one. The Mobile Content Venture announced just last week that it would start delivering live TV to MetroPCS subscribers, and at CES, Belkin is introducing a line of accessories designed to make existing devices capable of receiving the Dyle mobile DTV service. Unfortunately, broadcast mobile TV services don’t have the best track record. And now that the pay-TV operators are getting into the live streaming game, it’s hard to know if enough people will care about the DTV alternative. The big determining factor may be whether pay-TV providers can break the in-home viewing barrier this year. That, and how many live sports events are accessible for free.

Finally there’s the new Toshiba autostereoscopic 3DTV. (Image above from Engadget’s Friday post) Given the $10k price tag across the pond, we’re not likely to see big sales this year. However, I’m more optimistic about the long-term prospects for this one. Nobody wants to wear funny glasses to watch TV, and the initial excitement over 3D died down significantly in 2011. The technology’s got a much better shot at success, though, if we can ditch the glasses. And while $10,000 is still a lot of money, remember how far prices for HDTV sets dropped in a few short years. By CES 2015, we could be looking at a whole new 3D world.

4 thoughts on “CES TV News: Android, Mobile and 3D Sans Glasses”

  1. I wanna see what happens when something interesting changes. Like say Microsoft really is done with Silverlight and so Netflix decides to move to something else. And thus the existing players have to change. The ones on the PC will be fine. Ditto the Apple TV and XBox. But what will happen with TVs that shipped three years earlier and are no longer being updated by their manufacturer? Will the apps on that TV just languish and become unusable one by one? If HBO Go changes the way it validates your access or switches DRM or something else, will the app on your Samsung or LG TV still work?

    We won’t know the answer to this question for a few years, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens. I presume the TVs will in fact NOT be updated to fix the issue unless they are say less than a year old and on the current platform the TV manufacturer is using at the time. Despite the fact that people keep TVs 10 years or so.

    And when this happens it’ll confirm what we all kind of think, that TVs are really just monitors for our boxes. And paying more for anything beyond that is stupid.

  2. So you’re saying we need a standard TV OS that will get regular updates no matter who the manufacturer is. Yup. But that’s not going to happen in the near term, if at all.

    On the other hand, until there are a lot of apps that people care about, it doesn’t even matter much. Maybe Netflix has to stay on top of making itself compatible everywhere. Maybe HBO Go does too. Anybody else?

  3. Well, there’s MaxGo of course. And presumably any minute now Showtime and Encore will clone HBO Go. And there’s the possibility of Apps for say the Daily Show, and South Park, or CBS, or ABC, or CNN, or … all the channel brands repeating as apps.

    And things like OnLive, which just announced their app for Google TV. Allowing you to play modern games on your Google TV without a console in your home…

    Other things? Don’t know, hard to think what will happen over the next 5-10 years…

  4. … and of course the Comcast Xfinity VOD access app, and the of course RVU support to display content from DirecTV’s DVR on remote TVs without STBs, UPnP support for video streaming from PCs running Windows, DLNA support… etc etc etc

    Stuff changes.

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