Sony has joined the Netflix stable of device suppliers who will offer consumers a direct TV to Internet viewing experience. In this case, its the Netflix lineup of more than 12k movies available for their subscribers viewing pleasure. At $8.99/month, its not a bad deal.
Not the First: But Sony is not the first, nor will it be the last to make their LAN or WiFi connected living room devices really useful. The Microsoft X-Box 360, LG, Samsung, and Vizio TVs as well as Roku Set Top Boxes (the $99 Netflix box) have previously signed on for this streaming VOD subscriber service.
Early Market Consolidation: I believe we’re seeing the embronic stages of a market consolidation for living room devices. Consumers have been befuddled by the number of internet connection devices and their unique functions. Do I need a special box to browse the Net on my TV? Can I stream internet content directly from my PC. I have a game player already hooked up to my TV and my broadband service, what else can I see on my TV from the net?
Keep it Simple: The key to consumer acceptance (and increased sales) may be to keep the conversation simple. When Polaroid introduced a prototype “Connected TV” at CES in 2008, it had a vast array of capabilities built in; EPG, DLNA picture – mp3 -video display, Parental Controls, Internet Browser, and on, and on. To their credit they only wanted to show one use case: Pause Live TV.
Retailers Need a Simple Story: If a consumer is ready to purchase a new LCD TV, just having one unique (and easy to explain) feature, Pause Live TV, could clinch the sale. Unfortunately, Polaroid’s fortunes were decided by events not tied to their marketing prowess.
Show the Difference: Differentiation of consumer entertainment experiences will get the early adoptors’ attention (and cash). If successful, these will become the standard and ‘must have’ features of these device classes.
Netflix might want to take a bit more time preparing their ‘prepared statement’: “…blah, blah, blah,… new and exciting ways for Netflix members to instantly watch movies and TV episodes in their living rooms on their TV’s.” WOW with Netflix I can now watch TV on a TV! Who writes this stuff?
Keep pushing forward