Google TV Exec Says Televisions Could Become the Central Hub of the Home





The television industry wants their products to be more than just a place where you watch the latest movies and shows. It wants TVs to become the central hub of the smart home.

Smart speakers — like Amazon Echo and Google Home — in many ways, occupy that role now, and help manage the smart home through voice activation. But TV makers are looking to wrest control back, and Google TV executive Rob Caruso said televisions could be the anchor point that ultimately connects all of the devices in the home, from smart doorbells, thermostats, water meters and more.

“We’ve been talking about this for years, both directly at Google, but the TV industry has been talking about this for years as the TV being the center of the home,” Rob Caruso, who leads product and user experience for Google TV, told Cord Cutters News in an interview in January during CES. “Is it the home hub computer?”

CES saw the TV makers take some steps in this direction. Samsung said its higher end smart TVs would work with its SmartThings smart home platform. A number of TV makers added far-field microphones on their TVs, which pick up your voice similar to an Amazon Echo speaker. That means no longer having to find your remote and push a mic button to voice a command. But it also opens the door to you shouting out different commands like adjusting the temperature or turning off the bedroom lights.

Caruso noted that smart displays from a few years ago started to hint at this prospect, and there’s a belief — or hope — that a lot of that functionality just moves into the TV.

He also pointed to Matter, a tech standard that allows competing companies to build smart home products that talk to each other, and Thread, which is a low-power networking protocol that allows devices to connect with each other with minimal energy needs, as advancements that will help shift TV’s role in the home further to the forefront.

“It’ll be interesting a year from now and we’re sitting here and saying, with all these new capabilities coming to that hardware, what is it that the platforms like us and apps ultimately can start to do beyond streaming video?” Caruso said.

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