In the mobile business it’s common to hear statements like “smartphone adoption happening faster than predicted”. In that specific case the fallacy is likely that of mistaking Internet devices and smartphones for the same thing, but the shift in itself is interesting. Consumers are moving en masse from devices that could mostly only do one or a few things well to open devices that satisfy our needs to connect.
I predict the same thing happening not only to the small screens in our pockets, but our big screens hanging on our walls. The thing we still call “TV”, which even with the latest sets that can connect to specific Internet services, is pretty non-smart.
Depending on where you live (and if you’re an early adopter), you’ve either upgraded once or twice over the last ten years. One move to flat screens and one to HDTV, or both upgrades at the same time. The industry is at the moment in the startup phase of another upgrade, to 3D.
I claim that 3D is not the next must-have feature, the one that will get consumers to upgrade their sets again. I claim openness – the same disruptive shift that is currently happening in the mobile industry – is about to happen to the TV industry as well. 3D will tag along, the actual device tech is not that much more expensive if you’re going through the early adopters once again, but it will not be in the driver’s seat.
Disruptive shifts are hard to predict, and they cause havoc in the market place. Established truths and important players might get switched around, and existing predictions get thrown off the mark. That is, the exact same thing as we’re currently seeing in what’s – in error – called the “smartphone bloodbath” by Tomi Ahonen (who is otherwise my first stop when I need numbers!).
Current predictions of the potential size of the 3D TV market are based on consumers reacting to the 3D proposition itself. If you throw complete openness in to the mix, where the big screens on our walls become as intelligent as the small screens in our pockets are becoming, I’d claim the size of that market – as well as the speed of its creation – is severely underestimated.
Openness will fuel the next TV upgrade cycle. It will, as usual, be quite disruptive.
PS: Don’t miss out on the additional discussion seen in the comments below!