Multitasking doesn’t have to mean multi-screen


    If you’re under the age of 40, then there’s a good chance your TV experience involves multiple displays. Rarely are we content in sitting back and having a passive experience while in front of the idiot box. In this age of the information worker, we’re far more likely to be productive while being entertained and informed. Whether it’s a laptop, tablet or smartphone, experiences like QandA on Monday night, paired with reactions on twitter are much more of a collaborative experience thanks to the connected world we now live in.

    The reality is that we’re using what we can to get the job done, but are currently forced to look down, look up look down, look up, it’s not an experience we actually like. The good news is that TV manufacturers like LG are trying to solve the problem in new ways with their lineup of Smart TVs.

    The multi-screen experience in reality is more like one device, then the next, then back to the first, so single-tasking sequentially. LG recently rebooted its Magic Remote for its CINEMA 3D Smart TV lineup and the redesigned control adopts enhanced language recognition capabilities. This changes the game when it comes to executing commands on your TV. Simple, natural voice replaces the need for typing which is always a difficult experience from 10 feet away. It’s like Siri, but for your TV. For the best productivity, you can use the remote with voice in conjunction with gestures, pointing, and scrolling to move through options and configure the screen just the way you like it, also known as controlling it like a boss.


    On average Australians are spending 4.5 hours of our leisure time each day in front of a screen, that’s on top of the almost 8 hours some of us spend at work in front of glass. With so much time being spent on screens it is not surprising that 75% of online Australians admit to multi-screening on a regular basis. It’s great to see TV manufacturers understand our thirst for multitasking and experimenting with additional ways at configuring the display to best serve those multiple tasks.

    Although voice control technology has been around for some time, only now is it reaching the point at which it is working to complement media consumption. The decision to put the voice recognition inside a remote is smart given the environmental noise often experienced in living rooms. Even something like Microsoft’s Kinect is challenging at times given the relatively large distance you are away from the microphones. Possibly our best opportunity to effectively multitask is to use our largest display in the house, the TV combined with the power of voice and control to move between tasks quickly. This means multi-tasking doesn’t have to mean multi-screen if the display is smart and runs multiple apps at once.

    This certainly isn’t the end of the road for this problem. I’d like to see more TV supporting app platforms and really focus on the quality social apps as well as the ability to snap multiple apps in different arrangements. Given modern TVs have multi-core processors, they should be more than capable of running a user-defined ticker along the bottom of the screen or twitter search in a sidebar. My ideal scenario is that TVs allowed users to configure multiple inputs in a megawall scenario. This would look something like this, with some sources coming over the air, while others come over IP. For ultimate customizability, users should be able to pick what apps they want on the megawall.. a clock, the weather, slideshow from flickr, or current playing song from Spotify. That is the future of TV and it can’t come soon enough.


    I have a dream to walk into the lounge room and command the TV via voice.. like ‘Show me news, sport, weather and my stock prices” and the TV would be smart enough to recognise how many apps I just asked to get data from, select an appropriate layout and present the information to me. With a  bit of training these voice commands could be optimised, something like ‘show me what’s on’ could display the list of not just all channels, but those that I like or better yet the currently available programs I could watch regardless of their location. DVR, IPTV, OTA it shouldn’t matter, entertainment and information should be easy to get access to and switch between different context.

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    This post is authored by techAU staffers. Used rarely and sparingly when the source decided to keep their identity secret, or a guest author who isn't seeking credit.

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