TVs need better second screen interface, says Google exec

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Second screen interfaces on connected TVs should mimic what users are getting on their smartphones, George Panayotopoulos, Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) industry manager for entertainment sales, said at the PEVE Entertainment conference in London.

"One of the things that Google TV learnt in its first outing was that even a WiFi keyboard is a very poor interface to interact with extremely rich and deep content," the Google exec said in a story reported by Digital TV Europe. "I think some of the devices like Xbox Glass and YouTube's own mobile app that syncs with YouTube applications on TVs are very much a reflection of that need of the users to do increasingly complicated things."

There is a dual-edged sword involved here. Many users--especially young ones--are moving away from TVs altogether, which leads to something of a conundrum when determining which TVs should look more like mobile devices when those devices are already replacing the TVs.

"[T]he analogy of normally a teenager having a TV in their room--that's actually decreasing somewhat--because they have a laptop, because they have mobile devices, because they have tablets and they can access the same services through those devices. It negates the need, in some cases for them to be a TV in a room," Panayotopoulos said.

That teenager room, however, wasn't really the primary focus of the panel at the conference. During "Monetising the Smart Living Room," the panelists were more concerned about the primary screen, how it is being accessed and how second screen applications even relate.

"Everybody knows that there is a function and a reason for us to offer second screen apps, but I don't think there's some very, very good examples of how those are being used," Amelia Gammon, chief commercial officer of Saffron Digital, said.

Shazam Advertising Vice President Miles Lewis suggested one: music recognition.

"We didn't set out to create an app that links to TV or TV advertising, it was the consumer that drove us to that position. It was two years ago and we suddenly realised an awful lot of people were Shazaming TV," said Lewis.

For more:
Digital TV Europe carried this story

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