Podcast Audio | Posted by Phil Leigh on January 28, 2009
A recent (1/20/09) Wall Street Journal article projects an 18% decline in worldwide TV set sales this year. However, manufacturers can improve that performance by promoting a popular method that enables Internet Video to be watched on the TV.
Specifically, consumers are discovering almost by accident that flat-panel TVs conveniently mate with laptop computers. Thus connected, the laptop WiFi connects with the home router and thence to the Internet. In such a configuration the TV functions as a giant monitor for the laptop thereby permitting any Internet Video or website to be viewed. Essentially, the laptop becomes a Media Controller. A remote mouse and keyboard completes the scenario in an entirely comfortable lean-back experience from the living room sofa.
There are four reasons why consumers select laptops, as opposed to alternate devices, for TV-to-Internet hook-up. First, they provide unlimited access to the Internet. Second, they are commonly available. Third, the laptop is surprisingly inexpensive compared to alternate appliances, especially considering its general-purpose capabilities. Fourth, since consumers have been surfing the Web for 10 – 15 years, they are comfortable with a browser.
TV set manufacturers can improve their own sales prospects by promoting the laptop’s Media Controller application in at least three ways.
First, they should provide clear instructional videos online showing consumers how to connect the laptop to the flat panel TV. The videos should fully describe the entire process, including dual screen set-up. They should be abundantly available online and not merely at the supplier’s website. For example, each manufacturer should have a YouTube channel.
Second, they should vigorously advertise the capability of their sets to easily mate with laptop computers.
Third, most importantly, they should plan to ultimately integrate such capability into the set itself. In the final analysis the laptop-as-Media-Controller is a “forcing factor” that points to a feature that is likely to be mandatory in future televisions.