Searching the big screen

I installed the new Apple TV in my living room over the weekend. The big deal with this new version, in case you missed it, is that it now runs a slightly more beefed up version of iOS called tvOS.

The reason this is a big deal is one word: apps. Developers can now build completely custom experiences for the Apple TV and perhaps, more importantly, get distribution into what may be, in a few years time, millions of living rooms around the world.

Four years ago I wrote how I thought that real estate would eventually move to the big screen. It’s taken a little longer than I expected, but I believe we are finally on the cusp of that becoming reality.

And so naturally, after I’d unboxed and installed my brand new Apple TV, the first things that I went looking for in the app store were real estate apps.

First, I tried the app from Zumper, the apartment search portal. I’ve been an admirer of Zumper for a few years now, ever since I first met them at Realogy’s FWD event. And so I was pretty excited to see them in the app store on launch day.

Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades and his team have been quietly killing it on the product side. Their apps are beautiful to look at, and extremely usable to boot. And their TV app is no different. More than anything, it showed a high degree of thoughtfulness and polish.

But here’s the bottom line: I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed looking at homes on my TV. It was awesome.

Truthfully, I was a little skeptical going in that it could be a good experience. I thought I would struggle with a lack of filtering or end up fighting a cumbersome search process. But the delight I got from flicking through big, vibrant photos of properties on my 55” screen quickly drained any cynicism.

It was so much fun.

Admittedly, the entirety of the experience was ultimately pretty limited. But I think that over time, as the platform and these apps mature, it will become really interesting and potentially transformative – especially when developers are able to integrate the entire experience with Siri and voice search.   

Now we’re talking about something truly game-changing.

“Siri, show me homes for sale in 97219.”

Tom Flanagan, of Bay Area brokerage Alain Pinel, wrote a post when the new Apple TV was first announced in which he suggested that this may be where the future of real estate search is heading. I think I’m now onboard.

There’s definitely a way for brokers to begin using this new platform as well. Exactly how is undoubtedly a topic of conversation I anticipate having with our clients over the coming months. I’m pretty excited by the possibilities.

In the meantime, however, I’m going to sink back into my couch and keep flicking.