20/01/2012

Designing the perfect UX for a TV

I've thought for a while that the progression of computers, phones and other touch screen or voice activated devices have left the trusty old TV behind. Sure you can buy "smart TVs" with in built apps, but they are still a long way from where technology has taken other screen based devices in our homes/lives. Even the sad old thermostat has moved forward.

I've often sat in front of the Sky+ and BT Vision interfaces and felt the 'design pain' that all designers feel when something just isn't up to standard. With all the talk around Google and Apple's TV projects in the pipelines my mind keeps turning over what the perfect UX would be for a TV. So here are my design ideas for how it could work. They are Apple bias, because they have the most robust ecosystem, but the devices are easily interchangeable.


1. The TV can act like today's standard digital TV by receiving scheduled channels
2. It can record content to schedule - as per Sky+, BT Vision, TiVo etc
3. It can stream content on demand (iPlayer, lovefilm, Spotify, 4oD etc)

Nothing radical so far, but here is where it gets better...
4. It allows me to buy (not just rent!) content - much like the iTunes store
5. It syncs with media content with my iPhone, so i can take my recorded and bought content out with me
6. My content can then be played out on other people's TVs from my iPhone  - using Airplay perhaps

No more remotes
7. The set can be fully controlled via voice commands (ala Siri)
8. Alternatively it can be controlled via my iPad, whilst allowing me to access additional services (Twitter, Facebook, Getglue or even ZeeBox) as I watch

It calls
9. Lastly a front facing camera that works with Facetime or Skype (potentially also connects with my Wii or Kinect, but that seems a bit of a weird hardware mash for the camera & sensors)

That's my vision. That's where I think TVs could be heading. I'm putting my money down, before the big guns start rolling out their offerings. At the end of the year I'm going to look back and see how much has been fulfilled.