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“Days of the Dumb Box Coming to an End”

Steven Turner

Steven Turner

Open-eyed TV consumers must be watching the metamorphosis of their idiot box, as it’s slowly tiptoeing from the humdrum corner of their living room toward the center stage of their home.

A veritable smorgasbord of disruptive technologies is leading this change to ensure a transformed experience for the consumers.

SimulTV from Interconnect Media Networks (IMN) is one such offer that allows people to watch TV with anyone, anywhere, anytime on any web-enabled device. Can you beat it?

In order to understand the extent of evolution taking place in the TV marketplace, RMN Digital invited IMN’s  founder and CEO Steven Turner to discuss the latest trends. Here he comes in an exclusive interview with RMN Digital managing editor, Rakesh Raman.


1. As TV technologies are evolving at a breakneck pace, is traditional TV facing extinction? 

Traditional TV means different things to different people. I am sure if the same question was asked when the first color TV sets came out, the answers would have been very similar to the answers you may get now. But now, TV is evolving into new areas. We are leading the way by going beyond the industry norm to a more engaged and fully integrated experience. But with that said, TV will never truly change. What changes is the experience and how we, the user (not the viewer), interacts within it.

2. Are social technologies ready for commercialization or are they still at the experimental stage? 

The experimental stage is long over. We may still be in its infancy stage but as advertisers and users gain familiarity with any given social product, the product will grow at a faster rate along with the many ways to commercialize around or within it. This will lead to the product evolving or being replaced by a more advanced version that solves a need in the user’s life.

3. What kind of evolution do you foresee in the digitally driven home entertainment systems including the TV box? 

Well this is a far reaching question. Some facts will always hold true in technology and those are that it will continue to evolve to become faster, smaller and more advanced. This being said, as I have stated for the past eight years, the days of a dumb box are coming to an end.

For anything to take up real estate in a user’s home it will need to be multi-functional and have the advantage of not being outdated every year by a new model. Some models out there pride themselves on getting you to replace your current device every time an upgraded one comes along.

This works well in the mobile market, but the home is not so easily changed for most people. We tend to view the home as a sanctuary of sorts, where everything has a place. So if you want to have a product in your home, it needs to meet that value mark. SimulTV does this because we work with the hardware you already have. There’s no need to add or replace with the latest version.

4. While all vendor offerings – from mobile devices to Web to TV to gaming systems – are replete with social features, do consumers really want that kind of excessive social connectivity? 

You can say this is excessive seeing all the features that are included on so many devices. Today most brands want you to use a particular software or device that only connects to similar software or devices. SimulTV lets you reach across these walled cities to video, text and audio chat with friends and family. I like to think of this dynamic as a world of social villages and SimulTV has pulled them all together into a true social city.

5. Are business models and the ecosystem – including tech companies, consumer electronics players, content developers, consumers – ready for new-generation home entertainment systems? Or are we still in the embryonic stage? 

The embryonic stage started with the remote control decades ago. I would characterize us as being in the prepubescent stage right now. We are preparing for a growth spurt over the next 10 years that will have its highs and lows depending on which part of the industry you look at and in what point of view.

6. What’s the USP (unique selling proposition) of IMN’s SimulTV for the market that is already flooded with similar offerings? 

Now this is where SimulTV will face the hardest time as there is nobody doing what we do. The hard part for us is teaching others not what we do, but what we are not. We are not just a VOD player like Netflix. We are not just a LIVE TV platform like cable. We are not just an e-commerce site like Amazon. We are not just a video conferencing system like Skype. Nor are we just a video publishing software system like Ustream. We are so much more and we are going to change the world for the better.

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Steven Turner (pictured above) is the founder and CEO of IMN, a Virginia-based media company. He is the creator of SimulTV, positioned as the next evolution in social television and a product of IMN.

This interview is published under the RMN Digital’s “Thought Leaders” series in which top tech market leaders of the world express their views on different burning issues and market trends.

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