YouTube’s 4K MacGuffin

YouTube’s embrace of 4K at this year’s CES is akin to what Alfred Hitchcock called the MacGuffin: a plot device that creates suspense or tension but is incidental to the real story.

Crowded airspace in the living room

The wireless connection between mobile devices and the TV is emerging as the high ground in the battle for control of the digital living room, and there are already several major combatants trying to occupy it, including Apple, Google and Microsoft (SmartGlass).

Air power in the living room

There are three leading technology contenders for air supremacy in the living room: Apple’s AirPlay, Microsoft’s SmartGlass, and DIAL.

Microsoft remembers it’s in the games business

Console gaming remains an intensely competitive business. And if you lose that competition, it won’t matter how well your console is designed to tap into other businesses. If gamers don’t buy it you can’t sell them non-gaming services.

Cord cutters start to grab for the cord

Over-the-top video has become a prize in the ongoing and escalating tug-of-war between the networks and pay-TV service providers over carriage fees. Each side sees in OTT a potential point of leverage over the other.

In the digital living room, there’s something in the air

The next phase in the evolution of two-screen video is likely to focus on inverting the current relationship between the big screen and the little one. That is, tablets and smartphones increasingly will be used to acquire and playback content directly, from the internet, while relegating the TV to the subsidiary role of display device.

Google draws the wrong lesson from Apple

Google seems to have taken to heart Apple’s emphasis on design. The Nexus Q is a smooth black orb that looks like a small bowling ball with cables coming off it. Positioned carefully to hide the cables it could almost be a piece of pop art — alluring, enigmatic, asking to be touched. Yet Google may have missed the more important lesson of Apple’s success.

Today in Connected Consumer

What happened to Apple TV? For all the anticipation of a major announcement about Apple TV at yesterday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, basically we got nada. Instead, Tim Cook talked about almost anything but Apple TV. This being Apple, the company’s silence on Apple TV has generated a new parlor game based on speculating over why it didn’t say anything about Apple TV. I’ll have more to say on the topic in an upcoming Weekly Update. But for now, I think commenter Dan G. in Janko Roettgers NewTeeVee story is onto something. Microsoft raised the digital living room bar considerably at E3 last week and I think Apple did not want to come in under the bar.

Today in Connected Consumer

In my Weekly Update this week I give Microsoft its props for its latest digital living room moves. But there is plenty more connected-TV action to come.   Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference opens on Monday and many analysts are expecting a major TV-related announced. And dark horse Intel may be getting ready to make a major move with a new set-top box with built-in facial recognition technology that can target ads at specific viewers in a household. Meanwhile, cracks are growing into major fissures within the TV business itself over the availability of premium content on digital platforms. Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen has gone to war with the networks over the increased amount of pay-TV content available online, while former ABC Entertainment chairman Lloyd Braun warned a group of network executives earlier this week that they’re not making enough of their content available online. Expect the debate to get louder.