CES 2013 Observations: Smartphone Compatibility Becoming a Concern When TV Shopping

Smart TVs have played a huge role at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. As MMW reported Tuesday, one of the biggest standouts of CES 2013 so far has been Samsung’s 55-inch OLED TV with multi-view display.

Chances are, however, this event represents just the beginning of the connected television evolution now unfolding before us.

“As the plethora of apps and content grow, consumers are faced with the overwhelming challenge of discovering quality content that appeals to their interests. They are looking for ways to experience converged content, and they want to do it easily,” says Kim Hyun-Suk, Executive Vice President and Head of Visual Display business at Samsung Electronics.

As a result, consumers are starting to demand that their televisions offer more intuitive features and bountiful connectivity and content options. If it sounds like I could easily be describing another product category – smartphones – you’re exactly right. A rapidly growing segment of the population wants seamless integration of their televisions and mobile devices.

On the surface, this desire presents a host of unprecedented opportunities for quality content absorption. But, on the flip side, the integration of technologies in this regard could make for a sticky situation in terms of tech uniformity and compatibility in the traditional living room.

If you own an iPhone and smart TV from Samsung, for example, how much – if anything – can you do to make the opposite platforms play nicely together? Not much.

It was particularly noteworthy to me on the convention floor last night that Samsung’s entire line of phones and TVs were connected, making it effortless for users to view smartphone content on the TV. But interestingly enough, the hardware that allows older television to bestow new capabilities doesn’t make the TVs work with Samsung phones beyond the S3 and Note lines.

This stark reality, at least for the foreseeable future, has left some wondering if the process of procuring compatible technologies is about to make TV and smartphone shopping exponentially more difficult than it used to be.

Does our appetite for smartphone-to-TV linkage represent a clear illustration of why it’s important to be careful about what we wish for? Or are concerns over smart television and smartphone compatibility worth enduring for the incredible content consumption experience afforded by the connectivity of these two devices?

You be the judge.