|Screenshot of Google TV remote|
In a TV household, the power is at the end of the remote control. The closest person to the remote is the TV boss. Google TV has published an app which transforms your smartphone into a remote control. It is available for your android phone as well as for your iPhone. Nice app. Backlight, voice command, etc. And everyone in the family can have his or her own. Another family war can start, the one who shoots first wins...
Remotes are outdated: too many buttons. Confusing. Level zero when it comes to ergonomy. And there are also too many remotes for the same screen: for the TV set, the VCR, the DVR and the set-top box, (not to mention, for the panelists, a remote controlling the "people meter"). They are not always synced, contradict each other. It is a mess. Today's remote is a lost cause.
To win what is described as the "living room battle", Netflix has managed to have a Netflix button installed on remotes operating Blue-ray disc players , Internet-connected TVs (Sharp, Sony, Toshiba), Boxee or Roku set-top boxes, etc. Netflix claims to have 250 "Netflix ready" devices. Comcast has released an iPad app and one for android devices. Subscribers can customize their TV listing (synchronized with the website).
Demand side TV instead of supply side. In fact, the remote control as we know it cannot handle a TV market with hundreds of channels, VOD, teletext, DVD player, PVR, all kinds of consoles and, now, the Web. The so-called connected TV sets with Google TV, Apple TV or HbbTV interfaces are like a media marketplace; they need a browser, a search engine. Tablets and smartphones are the best solution, providing remotes and TV guides all at once. The viewers are getting used to this new kind of ergonomy. Nowadays, TV viewers are trained by the Web : they want to click, to personalize their homepage with apps, fling a file, save and share their favorites, they want to be localized, recognized (cookies !), they want to subscribe, unsubscribe... In 2008 Apple already published an app called "Remote", working via Wi-Fi, which uses iTunes to control music stored on a computer.
From the Web to TV, we observe the progressive transfer of habits, of know-how, of habitus. In the mechanism of digital media inheritance, the Web seems to become the dominant gene, TV the recessive one (for the purist, think "allele" instead of "gene"). This approximative metaphor suggests that the Web is now the form in which TV appears.