Is Web3 ready for prime time?
Using some of the TVs announced at CES, the world’s largest technology trade fair held in Las Vegas, you can easily access the Metaverse and NFT Wallet with just a remote control. Competition among manufacturers to produce TVs with various added functions is accelerating.
Over the past year, several manufacturers, notably Samsung and LG Electronics, have added Web3 features, such as access to NFT marketplaces and the Metaverse, to Internet-enabled smart TVs in addition to the usual streaming apps and voice control features. . To make its TVs attractive to tech-savvy, potentially influential customer segments in the long run.
Meanwhile, the Web3 companies see smart TVs as a vehicle for mass appeal. Samsung and LG are the top two TV makers in the world by market share. TV showrooms are full of smart TVs these days.
In September 2022, LG will add access to the NFT Marketplace to smart TVs. It recently upgraded this feature to include support for Blade wallets. Previously, it was only compatible with Wallypto, LG’s own wallet.
Blade is the wallet of Hedera, the underlying blockchain of LG’s NFT Marketplace. Why is LG choosing Hedera over the Ethereum blockchain, which dominates NFT market share?
Hedera is joined by dozens of companies, including LG, video game maker Ubisoft and Google. Hedera’s NFT platform may be smaller than major NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and Nifty, but it prioritizes security and energy efficiency, which makes it attractive to big brands like LG. Why?
Metaverse on Smart TV
At CES this year, Samsung and LG announced upgrades to their NFT wallets. Samsung’s marketplace also offers NFTs in 8K resolution. Other than the two, however, no other manufacturers have ventured into NFTs so far. Given the woes of the NFT and cryptocurrency markets over the past year, it should come as no surprise.
Additionally, most major TV makers compete on price, which means cutting out features that might otherwise be considered useless. We won’t see much adoption of NFT functionality in smart TVs until more customers start using their TVs and wanting the ability to easily access NFTs.
But that demand may come from elsewhere. It’s the metaverse. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are the majority of discussions about hardware related to the Metaverse, but smart TVs can be used to browse the world of the Metaverse as easily as switching channels. It may become possible.
At least, there seems to be that possibility behind LG’s Web3 efforts. LG’s smart TV will be equipped with Orbit, which is said to be a ‘door to a 3D interactive world’. Users can use the same on-chain digital identity across virtual worlds (apps) and even move items from one world to another.
This is a definite step towards a mass-market metaverse that many high-end VR headsets simply can’t cover. And it was the only meaningful product in the mass-market metaverse that was announced at CES. CES is mostly hardware or conceptual, and to be honest I don’t know much about it.
Big vision and real devices
What’s missing is a big vision and something that connects the devices people actually use. The Metaverse is certainly great for virtual reality, but the market is still very small compared to major tech categories such as TV for a magical piece of technology.
11.2 million VR/AR headsets sold in 2021. TVs, on the other hand, are 217 million units. If even a minority of TV buyers chose to access the Metaverse, it would greatly benefit adoption.
Of course, no one will buy a TV just because they have access to the Metaverse, so its success will depend on its ability to offer an experience as compelling as a traditional TV show.
In that context, the partnership between Orbit and LG might be more of a fireworks display than laying the groundwork for a Metaverse deployment.
Considering it was announced in Las Vegas, it feels like it.
｜Translation and editing: Akiko Yamaguchi, Takayuki Masuda
| Image: LG CEO William Chow unveils new products at CES (Pete Pachal/CoinDesk)
｜Original: How Smart TVs Could Help the Metaverse Crack the Mass Market