The Rise Of Screens In Your Home

Screens are getting smaller, smarter, easier to control and much more useful.

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The 1950s introduced the first of the screens that would come into our homes and bring visual content to the consumer. It is estimated that more than 1 billion TVs have been sold since that date.

TV opened up the outside world to people in the homes from locations that they may never have heard of. It advertised products they didn’t know they needed and informed them of issues they did not know existed. Screens have continued to be the main source of absorbing and educating people on areas of interest or subjects they know nothing about. TVs now have become smart and digital and have opened up the world of interaction, viewer choice and watching content when you want to watch it.

The family sitting down to watch the TV together has not been replaced as much as you might expect. Research has shown that families will still watch key TV content together, but now they are not alone. They come armed with smartphones and tablets to get even more information on the characters, actors, locations, future plans. Answering all the questions that used to be asked — what else have they been in? Where is Dallas? When were shoulder pads fashionable?

So, what is next? Well, the big invention in the 1980s/1990s was the remote control, which leaves area for improvement. We have gone from fighting over the remote to trying to find the right one. So the next step is the most liberating — getting rid of the remote control completely. A few years ago it would have felt radical, but with games consoles leading the way with more intuitive interactions, taking this technology to the TV has started to happen.

Not only does it know that you are there, where you are sitting, but also what your favourite programs are and that you only watched half of the last episode of Elementary before you fell asleep. TVs also knows that your 10-year-old children are too young to watch the latest Hunger Games and will not show the content whilst they are in the room. The TV has now become part of the family.

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So now let’s move to our mobile screens — the latest extension to our person. Mobile phones have gone from a practical device to keep in contact when out of the office or home to a vital communications tool. I was asked once that if I lost my wallet or phone, which one would I be most upset at losing. Without hesitation I would say, ‘my phone!’ It captures my life from when I need to wake up, where I am supposed to be, what I need to remember, pictures of the latest things my kids did over the weekend, to the latest chat from friends far away. How did that happen?

More than 1B smartphones are shipped annually, and it is not isolated to the premium end. You can now buy a smartphone for as little as $25. It seemed like a stretch when we talked about having $100 phones back in 2011. Now people are running around with phones to match what they are doing. When you head out for a night out you grab the phone you don’t mind losing. When you’re on business you need a phone so you can access your email. Maybe you need an all-you-can-eat data plan if in the United States. And if you’re planning a day out at the beach you’ll want a waterproof phone with a better camera because you know you will be taking lots of pictures of the kids building sandcastles.

Personalisation has gotten very personal now. Your mix will be different from mine. And then there are the life-changing aspects that lower-cost phones and tablets can create in locations where other telephone communications are not possible. They open up education to children who would not have been able to get computers. It is estimated now that more than 91% of the world’s population has access to a mobile phone mobile!

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This is a great infographic with loads of interesting facts: http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-2013-mobile-growth-statistics/. Phones, in a similar way to TVs, have transformed the way that we access and enjoy content. They allow you to take the content with you rather than having to rush home to see the content when someone else has decided it will be shown. And it allows you to interact with the content you are interested in what and where you want.

Mobile screens grew about four years ago with the first introduction of tablets. This new form factor of the larger touch screen has spun off a wide and diverse set of tablets ranging from productivity-focused products designed for the business user — most recently enhanced further with Microsoft Office support for the iPad — through to sub-$100 tablets designed for school children. This expansion of the mobile experience has been able to make use of the rich ecosystem and applications support that have been driven by the smartphone market and enabling reuse in a bigger screen experience for the consumer. I must admit I pick up my tablet first when I am doing Web surfing at home, and it contains a different mix of applications from my smartphone – showing a further level of personalisation.

Screens have been growing in size over the last 60 years. What is interesting is that smaller screens are showing some of the greatest level of innovation in the industry. I am talking about the wearables market. These devices are opening up the real estate offered by the wrist and glasses initially, but we expect to see screens potentially appearing not only in person but in supporting belongings such as bags.

Screens will continue to be our main window to our digital world wherever we are – I look forward to seeing the continued innovation in resolutions, content and form factors that will take our visual experience to the next levels.