Smart TV Yardstick

A few months ago I “cut the cord” at home.

The day I cancelled my cable TV service I ordered Hulu to be able to get live TV programming streamed to me. While content to watch TV on a computer or mobile device, I was recently walking through a big-box store and saw a large LG 4K flat-panel “Smart TV” for a little over $300! A deal too good to pass up (especially since Superbowl Sunday was coming) I bought the Smart TV. I can now get Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc., right on the 4K TV. No computer needed!!!

However with this purchase another realization hit home VERY HARD! My church’s video on demand and live-stream services can be accessed via an icon on the Smart TV’s menus no different than the major content providers Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. For consumers with these new Smart TVs, a church’s content is just as accessible, on the same exact playing field as the biggest of the big boys. This is the technology equivalent of the local Pop Warner team finding out they are now playing the Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. A feeling of dread came over me.

All of a sudden the importance of audience shots, intros, outros, bumpers, the quality of broadcast-audio mix, having a host, etc., was that much more impressed upon me than it was moments ago before this purchase. Technology has now created an environment where local churches can and are competing for viewers attention directly against NBC, CBS, ABC as well as all the New-Media giants.

My take-away? Content and technical quality matters. If your church’s livestream was airing on CBS before the Superbowl would you do anything different than it streaming to Facebook on any given Sunday? Why?

We ultimately compete against the distractions in the home. We compete against Candy Crush, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, the mouse, click-bait and all the normal pressing matters of the day. In a congested media landscape the last thing we want to do is throw obstacles up (poor lighting, poor audio, cameras that shake, poor shot composition, not establishing the room, cutting to the wrong people during music solos, etc.) before our audience. They will (and do) click away.

As I’ve written elsewhere on controlbooth.tv “according to Worldwide TV Market Report authored by Futuresource Consulting, there will be over 100 million [Smart] consumer TV sets shipped worldwide this year. That number is equivalent to 2/3rds of the entire large screen market. Two of every three TVs being sold are currently [Smart]. Higher quality OLED and QLED technology consumer 4K TVs will experience a 41% compound annual growth rate between 2018 and 2022, culminating in around 8 million OLED and QLED 4K/UHD sets shipping in 2022. Among other findings, the report shows that HDR is expected to be supported in 60% of 4K/UHD sets this year.”

Want to be sobered up? Buy a Smart TV and watch (and listen to) your church’s live-stream on a large TV monitor. You may conclude it’s time to up our game.

When it comes to content and technical quality for your church’s livestream, what yardstick are you using?