Screen Convergence Suddenly Interesting To Others Outside of ReelSEO

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Snarky? I always am, you shouldn’t be surprised. But it seems that some other news outlets which talk about media have gotten wind of this new-fangled thing called screen convergence…well whoopty-doo! We here are ReelSEO are so far beyond that we won’t even…hold on, phone call from Mark…

Hey, let’s talk about screen convergence everyone!

Alright enough tomfoolery (what a great word no?) and let’s get down to brass tacks (not that they serve any purpose other than upholstery really). It seems that there must have been some sort of session at a big name expo recently talking about screen convergence because suddenly the Interwebs are all abuzz with it. It’s the 2010 keyword for video methinks.

Anyway, we’ve been going this way for some time right? Televisions have been getting Internet capabilities to tap into the online video and computers have had TV tuners forever meaning you could watch broadcast and cable on your PC. So really, those two screens have been in some strange merging for some time (get on with it already!). Hell, even gaming is moving out of the realm of 20-something inch LCDs on cluttered desks and moving onto the big screen LCD (or plasma if you’re mega-cool) TVs in the living room. There are even new peripherals aimed at consolidating all your PC gaming, Internet video watching and TV into one.

Why are screens converging?

It’s an interesting question. If you asked someone at that place I made that off-handed reference to earlier (which I refuse to link to today…if there’s a link in this article, it’s Mark’s idea) they would tell you that it’s due to the economy.

If you ask me I would tell you that it always has been and remains inevitable. People who watch video, especially Americans, want to be able to see it whenever they want, wherever they are and as fast as humanly possible. The ‘Me’ generation might be over but the ‘GIMME’ generation is here to stay. So that means, if you’re a savvy content provider (which I know all of my readers here at ReelSEO are) you are making content that is easily compatible with the three screens.

What three screens am I talking about? Well it’s simple:

  • Television – The oldest of the home-based screens
  • Computers – The one we’ve all come to know and love
  • Mobile – The new kid on the block but the friend we turn to when we really, really need that video and we’re not near one of the other two.

Granted some mobiles now have larger screens than my first television and about 15,999,998 more colors (if you consider black and white colors that is).

Oh right, I was supposed to give my thoughts on why I think it’s happening. Wait, didn’t I just do that? Here’s a riddle for you that answer the question.

What’s the difference between a computer LCD display and an LCD TV?

The answer? It’s the same thing that you needed to think about when opening a business pre-Internet days…location, location, location.

Oh wait, but size does matter! Heh, I knew it! Most computer displays are great for a single person, but when you want to gather up the whole family or a group of friends and watch some streaming video it’s all elbows and as…er, head knocking. So why not pipe that streaming hot video straight to the monster LCD display (read TV) in the living room and let your friends breathe a sigh of relief that they needn’t be in such close proximity that the video is constantly interrupted by the question: Alright, whose hand is that now?

Of course, at times it’s just you, yourself and er, you and all three of you are in one head and have only got two hands and are in public (pervs, I know where your minds were going). So then you don’t need the monster LCD and you haven’t got the mini LCD (read sub 26-inch LCD computer display) handy. Well, why not use your phone to get the exact same content that you would be streaming on your computer, to your TV if you were at home.

Voila! Three-screen convergence!

I could, for example, watch a YouTube video (there’s a reason I chose them which I will get to shortly) on my computer, stream it to my TV via a VGA or HDMI (or if I’m ultra-rich I’ve already got a Sony Bravia with 3D and Internet connectivity or something) cable or, when I’m out of the house, watch it on my mobile (because there’s a YouTube app for every major mobile platform these days including the iPhone, see, I told you there was a reason for choosing them).

Now if you start looking at emerging technology which I often rant and rave about here, HTML 5, you’ll that it is helping to push those three screens even closer together.

With just one HTML 5 <video> tag you could squarely plant your content in front of couch potatoes, computer nerds (hey! I’m one too!) and mobile maniacs. That one little tag could suddenly mean that I was on my phone watching the exact same episode of FlashForward, Firefly, 4400, Heroes, Stargate Universe that you are watching on your fat-ass LCD TV and that my fellow nerdlings are watching on their computer-attached LCD (while power leveling in World of Warcraft or Everquest II probably).

So, is three-screen convergence accelerating? Oh, absolutely! Thanks to our need (or greed) to have what we want, when we want it and wherever we want it and new technology, namely the potential that HTML 5 brings with it and the fact that almost every mobile has some sort of application store where you can get programs that will stream video to your handset of choice, we can now be almost guaranteed to never have to be without our fictional friends, our hot word-of-the-day babes, our cute kittens doing stupid things, etc, etc.

Is this a new phenomenon? No, it’s been going on for some time. I like to think my father was a pioneer in this field. He’s got a massive LCD TV and loves to fiddle with sh…stuff. So what was his first act when he got it? Trying to find a media extender that would let him play any video he can get on his computer on it so that he and his wife could sit on the big, soft couch and watch it instead of her hovering over him while it plays on the computer’s screen. That was some five years ago now.

It’s only going to speed up thanks to the combination of Internet connectivity and pretty much every device with an LCD. I swear, one day you’ll be able to stream YouTube to your ultra-high-tech toaster or fridge because they too, have LCD displays. Personally, I’m holding out for the all-in-one robot that will follow me around and act as gaming console, mobile phone and yes….BFS…Big F-ing Screen. Then I’ll wholeheartedly say “Now we have one screen to bind them all”.

If you didn’t understand some of the pop culture references in this article, it’s OK. It just means you’re not a complete nerd like I am. If you would like clarification, drop a comment. :D

What’s is mean for ReelSEO?

Well, since we focus on advertising and marketing here it means that if  you’re an advertiser, you need to make sure your video ads will be as striking and compelling on the LCD TV as they will on the micro LCD (that’s my new term for mobiles since PC LCD is mini. This is how new-fangled lingo sprouts and grows folks). If you’ve got a message to get across you need to make sure that it’s easily understandable, whether your target demographic is strolling down the street (yes, I watch video on my phone while walking…sometimes. what? That’s not dangerous!), sitting in a cafe, at their computer desk with their spouse hovering over them or on the couch with a group of friends (again, whose hand is that, get your own couch cushion!) because this is the way the future is going. One screen to bind us all and in the darkness entertain us.

It also means that you need to think about the technical aspects of your videos whether they be adverts or virals to make sure they’re viewable by all the masses, not just some of us. Unless you know 100% that your target demographic is just sitting on couch this is going to be vital to your continued existence because you need to get those videos to where the consumer eyes are right?


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