In terms of TV, Xbox is doing something that Apple TV has been doing for years, but Xbox is taking it to a new level. With Apple TV you have Hulu, Netflix, and Access. You can play games, watch TV, and read your emails. But the thing that the Xbox is bringing to users is their Kinect system, which includes a 3D video camera combined with voice recognition to allow users to control the screen with their hand and body movements. No mouse and no remote control—just hand and body movements.
This is taking the Xbox on a predictable path. In the late 1980s I predicted that IPTV (internet protocol television) was where we were going. Now here we are. And in the future, IPTV will continue to grow.
Looking at the hard trends around us, it’s clear to me that the real future of television is apps. Have you ever wondered why you can have 500+ cable channels and nothing to watch? It’s because you don’t have AppTV.
To understand how AppTV would work, let’s look at the iPhone. Two people can have an iPhone and have the same service provider. But those two phones would be completely different from each other. Why? Because when you have an iPhone, you customize it for your needs by picking the apps that are significant to you. You turn an iPhone into a MyPhone.
In that same way, with AppTV your TV will be customized for you. Think of it as an iPad big enough to be in your living room. Here’s how it will work: We will be using apps on the TV so that when you sit down to watch, you’ll have a customized viewing experience rather than hundreds of stations you don’t want to watch.
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Not only that, but there will be a camera on those TVs, just like the tablets and smart phones have today, and it will use facial recognition. So when you walk in the living room, it will know you are there and will self-configure the right apps for you. If the entire family is in the room, you’ll use your voice to let it know which apps you want to have available.
For example, if your family consists of five people—two adults and three kids—and the dad and one child are in the room, the system will have the apps for those two individuals available for them. The two people can then decide which of those shows they want to watch.
So IPTV and apps is the future of television. And what the XBox is doing today is part of that progression. As the technology progresses, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, as well as other manufacturers, will continually fine tune it, making the future of TV happen today.