The Internet TV War Will Be Won with Great User Experience

As $AAPL and $GOOG get set to do battle on the internet TV landscape, many are overlooking the scraggly-looking underdog in the corner, $MSFT.  While I haven’t yet played with it, I believe the Microsoft Kinect could be the product to catapult Microsoft ahead in the war to merge the internet and your television.  Why? Because of great user experience.

Standard television is two-dimensional.  You scan up and down a row of channels.  Anything that adds a dimension, such as searching for a show, is a real pain in the ass.  There is a diminishing user experience of the standard television remote as the dimensions and complexity of what you’re trying to do increases.   Take the Samsung Blu-Ray Internet TV Platform that they are now advertising on Best Buy commercials (shown below):

Sure the UI is slick (kind of like and iPhone), but I can already tell that the UX sucks.  I’ve tried to search YouTube on a older version of this product and it’s a real pain in the ass.  While Apple TV has possibilities of a much better UX, with their ability to make an Apple TV “app” on the iPhone or iPad, this increases the cost of using such a platform at its full potential (as now you have to have an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to really  have a great experience).

I think Microsoft could win this one with their Kinect.  Kinect is like Nintendo Wii for the Xbox360 except there is no controller.  Instead there is a sensor that recognizes 48 points on your body.  You are the controller.  In addition to this, there is voice recognition software.  Screw having to type on remote or with your Xbox controller.  Just talk – how novel.   Watch below to see it in action:

The first time I saw this – I had one of those “a-ha” moments.  This device looks like a real pleasure to use.  Anyone who has used other Internet TV platforms knows that this is usually not the case.  Microsoft has thought deeply about the Internet TV since Web TV back in the 90’s.  They are already in a big chunk of living rooms, and if this device is truly a pleasure to use, and they execute it right with a killer platform, they could make a major move into the living room and have a major lead on the battle for the living room.

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