Lean Back in Your Living Room

November 10, 2010
Google's recent launch of Youtube Leanback has sparked much chatter about what it will take to make Internet TV popular with the public. The discussion centers not on interfaces, capabilities or aesthetics - but rather on engagement and convenience. Internet TV needs to not only entertain in a way that is uniquely different from traditional television programming - it needs to connect people on a personal level. Want to see pictures of the party from Friday night? Or watch a new music video that a friend recommends? Internet TV will allow people to bring those experiences to the most comfortable part of their house - the living room. Jeremy Toeman, a Mashable writer notes that if you pull all the rich media from a person's Twitter feed and deliver it to their living room, you have created a personal experience where an individual can access their friends' interests - whether that be YouTube videos, Twitpics or news articles - in a browse-able gallery. But to do it right, the experience must feel different than surfing social networks and YouTube on an office computer at work - after all, many people spend all day in front of phones, email, Twitter and Facebook. "The industry must understand the psychology of the couch. It is the one location where people want to be entertained, often passively." Tim Bajarin, a contributor for PC Mag, believes that Google should optimize its apps in the future as part of the selling point. He criticizes Google for its 'wait and see' approach - accusing Google of not instructing people on how to use their Internet TV. "In its approach Google says to the consumer "here is the Internet on your TV, you figure out what you want to do with it.'" Instead of focusing on the 'what' of Internet TV, the industry should be focusing on the 'how' in terms of selling it to the casual fan. People will not care if Facebook or Twitter is part of the Internet TV package - but they will care if you can tie it into their day-to-day life and deliver it to their living room.