It doesn’t matter which company makes a PC (Apple, Microsoft, HP), the input device is the mouse and keyboard. It doesn’t matter which company makes a smart phone (Apple, Google, Microsoft), the input method is the touch technology. But every company associated with Smart TV (Google, Samsung, LG) has their own unique input device. This has nothing to do with the range of creativity; this just means that this market has not found an answer that can effectively control the full variety in potential contents Smart TV hopes to offer.
So what does this mystery input device entail? Let’s take away the confusion the market has created and go back to the basics. The foundation for any Smart TV input device is that it has to be: 1) handheld; 2) ergonomic; and 3) all-in-one.
The device needs to be handheld because of the ‘lean back’ experience of leaning back or lying down on the living room couch. The ergonomics deals with minimizing physical discomfort, thereby maximizing efficiency in the user interface with the living room setting in mind.
“All-in-one” consists of: mouse, keyboard, TV remote, and *game control functions.
*I starred Gaming because when most people think of the idea of a Smart TV, they somehow forget how crucial a role the gaming market plays (2007 Projections/2008 Projections/2011 Game Market Forecast) especially with the availability of the App store. Smartphones have been gaining traction in the mobile gaming market, and surprisingly, Nintendo is taking the hit for it?! To think of the immense potential that the TV App Stores will play should make the console game market competitors uneasy! The integration of the game market will become one of the major “killer contents” for Smart TV; to limit this market would indicate the company’s shortsighted vision (or lack of).
In order to control the “all-in-one” feature, you must incorporate the User Experiences (UX) that makes up the basic foundations to TV and PC capabilities: mouse, keyboard, TV remote, and (as explained above) game controller functions.
- Input Device must be: 1) handheld, 2) ergonomic, and 3) all-in-one.
- Handheld: because we’re leaning back or lying down on the couch.
- Ergonomic in regards to minimizing physical discomfort and thereby maximizing UI efficiency, with a strong emphasis on satisfying the ‘lean back’ experience of the living room setting.
- “All-in-one” consists of: mouse, keyboard, TV remote, and game controller functions.
And that’s it. However, each of the listed items acts as its own foundation to the Smart TV and therefore must be satisfied. To leave one out is to lead to an inevitable failure that has impeded in the Smart TV’s success thus far.
The situation laid down is much like Aesop’s fable’s, “Belling the Cat”: “It is easy to propose impossible remedies.”
…however, as we’ve broken down the basics, it might not be as “impossible” as it seems…