The television has been improving since it’s introduction in 1928. First black and white, then color, and since then improving picture quality levels. Today, we have HD and BlueRay rendering images of such high quality that our eyes cannot capture all the detail.
Over the past five decades, getting consumers to upgrade their televisions hasn’t been all that difficult with the advent of these new technologies. But these days, it seems to be much harder. While there has been quite an effort around 3D television (remember the SuperBowl ads?), this effort doesn’t seem to be gaining any traction. To prove this point, Philips just sacked their entire 3D division.
Perhaps it won’t be hardware improvements or picture quality improvements that will entice consumer to upgrade, but software improvements. Yahoo for television and Adobe’s recent software release are giant strides in this direction. These software will bring to the masses what many gamers already have: internet on the TV. Interactive tv is manifested in many ways including music, video and game purchases, interactive game playing, news, weather and more.
Like PCs, televisions have reached a point in their technology development where the hardware isn’t the limiting factor anymore – rather it’s us. Our eyes can’t perceive much better quality than HD, nor can our minds process email any faster than we do today. And the hardware for most applications become commodity. The netbook trend is a superb example of this.
All this makes me think it will be interactivity that drives innovation on the TV for the foreseeable future.