I know it’s early to make declarations over what 2012 will be remembered for, but you get the impression that we may, yes may, look back at the week of International CES in Las Vegas as the beginning of the “controllable” TV era. By controllable, manipulating your TV set and what you watch off it with your hands, fingers, face, arms and legs along with, or instead of, your remote, smartphone or tablet. Every major TV set maker upped their smart TV models with at least one application of body control. They believe the public will like this alternative to devices you press or tap, a la Kinect. Now let’s watch what the public does.
We also may look back at next month as the launch of scripted TV’s new place to make big– streaming hybrid PC/smart set transmission. Hulu and Netflix will premiere new series in February over their respective infrastructures, available simultaneously on the computer and TV set. Netflix comes to the table with quirky crime thriller Lilyhammer; Hulu with politics-focused workplace dramedy Battleground. Netflix has more scripted originals lined up for later this year and early 2013, while Hulu executives hint their pipeline will fill up with additional entries soon. Two immediate thoughts: independent producers unable to break into broadcast and cable networks have their long-desired nirvana mechanism if this works out, and et tu, Amazon.com?
Google TV finally got their International CES coming-out party this month, a year behind original expectations. Three big set players in their corner at last, namely LG, Samsung and Vizio. Two new chip-making affiliates, opening doors for more sets to intro Google TV later this year. What made it possible? Google TV’s producers realizing that their product is at the core, an open platform for interactive TV applications and enhanced, attractive Web sites, and coming up with version 2.0 to be exactly that. Those 200,000-plus Android application developers now have a shot to adapt their smartphone material to TV and fire up imaginative ITV services. Original ITV apps are turning on–150 so far–and people are warming up to them. Keep an eye on OnLive, the cloud-centric games venture launching over the next few weeks. Could be a major Google TV viewer magnet.
What’s with the heap of post-CES punditry suggesting this event is heading over a cliff? Did a lot of reporters drink the Las Vegas water, then conclude it’s all downhill because Microsoft and CEO Steve Ballmer won’t be there anymore with a big exhibit or pre-event keynote? Get a reality check. International CES, in a still meandering economy with 8.5 percent unemployment, drew 13,000 more people and 400 more exhibitors than 2011. Didn’t see much reporting on what Microsoft offered on the show floor, or in Ballmer’s presentation. You better believe CES is one healthy animal with good prospects for 2013 and beyond. One thing that would make CES even better and healthier–more female keynote speakers. They’re out there, waiting to participate in a big way.
Internet Week New York, one of the best annual festivals displaying the convergence of the Web, TV and mobile, shot itself in the foot last year thanks to awful PR execution that limited the amount of coverage the event received. Don’t look now, but unless the dates get rearranged in a hurry, another shot will go off. IW’s 2012 schedule runs from May 14-21, opposite the jam-packed week of broadcast and cable upfront ceremonies. And the closing IW day (May 21), with the Webby Awards, also conflicts with the start of The Cable Show in Boston. Unless IW blinks and moves back to June, where this festival has successfully existed all along, get ready for another reporter revolt.
Food Network, can we please put an end to your nightly mini-marathons devote to one show, which seems to be the policy the last month or so? Know there’s a lot of hungry fans for Chopped, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Restaurant: Impossible, but don’t you think they want a touch more variety in their lineup, especially when exposed to three Chopped hours or six Diners half-hours in a row? In Diners’ case, six in a row Mondays and Fridays?
Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!