I've been watching Connected TV devices for some time and just kept waiting. I honestly thought Google TV was going to be the game changer but there's two big problems: It's too costly and it doesn't do enough (primarily live tv). About 2 months ago I decided to buy a Roku box instead to test it out and really liked the ease of developing your own apps for the unit. After 4 hours of trying to get it connected in my living room with customer service I decided that not only was I not interested in using the device, but I definitely wasn't interested in developing an App for a device that doesn't function very well.
So I did what I should have done from day 1 and turned to the always reliable Apple product in Apple TV. I don't like how locked down it is and I feel like it could be so much more, but I have to admit that I love it. For $100 it's well worth it and only took 5 minutes to connect. We use it for two primary functions: YouTube and Netflix. It has some other features that we like, but don't utilize quite as much.
I recently saw this video on Mashable of an experiment run with people cutting their cable for a week and using Connected TV units:
An Experiment In Cord Cutting from Hill Holliday on Vimeo.
I agreed with those who took the experiment in that I'm not ready to cut the cable. Okay, I'm ready to cut the cable bill, but the $50/month or whatever we spend on cable is still worth it. There are two things that I believe with dramatically change connected TV devices in the next year and that's custom apps and live tv. Right now most content viewed on connected tv's is on demand content. This is great for 75% of the content that we view, but the other 25% of live content is also very important. While it's the live content that will help cut the cable cord, I believe that it will be the custom apps that will enhance our tv viewing experience in a way that will make us quickly forget cable and enjoy the customization of a connected TV. This about what your smart phone is capable of today and all of the apps that have since been created. We couldn't have imagined 90% of what was possible even a couple of years ago. I believe the same will be true of our Connected TV devices and I'm most specifically talking about Apple TV because that will continue to be my device for years to come (ok, maybe that's too much of a commitment for now).
What does this mean for Church Online? This will be a game changer!