is going to be one of the most widely debated candidates in 2011 gaining huge consumer interest and tremendous commitment from TV manufacturers (LG netcast
, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and others) with forecasted shipment in 2014 to cross 122 million units. Forrester also predicts that more than 43 million US homes will have at least one connected TV by 2015. In Smart TV – Part I
, we reviewed the journey in TV Technology and its adoption pattern, now let’s overview the key expectations and trends in Smart TV ecosystem.
LG Smart Tv + Remote
Smart TV envisages an integrated environment fusing Internet (web browser) on TV with simplified search and inbuilt apps for most popular Internet destinations like Netflix, YouTube, twitter, Facebook etc. among others. Smart TV is a powerful platform and has potential to realize exciting features like TV based video calling and integration with second screen interface among others. Watch this video of LG Smart TV
to get a glimpse of most common functionalities offered.
TV as it is Today?
TV holds a unique place in a household and is central to family entertainment. TV as we know has been associated with some basic tenets like
TV has shelf life – Television is bought with presumption of upgrading every decade (sometimes longer), and not every couple of years
No Effort ◄►No Brainer – You switch on the television, find what is available from listed options and watch what is of interest. From user perspective the basic intent is entertainment and not too much interactivity or searching through multiple options – since having too many options is often a pain rather than an advantage!
Now enter Connected TV paradigm and some of the basic rules begin to change
Interactive Search – Enter name or category of a favorite program or artist or genre and press search and the system present options with time and channel where the program is on, across any DVR recordings, across personal content stored in connected devices, content aggregator or service provider catalog listings (Video and Demand) and any related content available on the Internet.
TV Expanded – Bringing Internet on TV, has expanded its horizon with ability to perform tasks which are generally done on a Laptop or PC. TV as a device now symbolizes an interactive, intelligent media and computing hub with capability to perform additional tasks along with the standard broadcast viewing functionality it always did.
Connected TV – New Trends and Opportunities
Smart TV Trends
Connected TV brings new trends, evolving business models and opportunities for device manufactures, service providers, broadcasters and content owners
Companion Devices –Content distribution and consumption channels are evolving and handheld (smart phone, tablet etc.) devices are positioned to play a prominent lead role as secondary TV companions complementing the viewing experience in addition to bringing social media interface and an intelligent remote control. The concept is not limited to second device but extends to multi-screen and even Nth screen strategy. Second screen offers convenience of usage as well as a huge opportunity for premium content owners and aggregators who need to expand service reach beyond the set-top box without undermining their subscription business, while at the same time overcoming the challenge of maintaining value of content in a connected, multi-screen, multi-channel environment.
TV Apps Stores –TV app stores are steadily growing and gaining popularity with TV manufacturers including Sony, LG, Google, Panasonic and Apple (and even broadcasters like Comcast) taking advantage of this shift by adding a layer of web-enhanced features to the traditional viewing experience and offerings. A growing market will slowly emerge for killer applications both freely downloadable and paid; enabling consumers to access on-demand and interactive content bundled with streaming capabilities for video, social networking, games, sports, news, lifestyle and more.
Advertising –Internet connectivity and liner broadcast brings in depth of content and user experience giving power to render advertising contextual, localized and personalized. Nielson also plans to incorporate monetization potential data from tracking videos viewed on TV portals on mobile devices into its C3 ratings reports in 2011 which may give further infuse credibility for advertising growth in this space.
Content Aggregators – Content discovery will become a key service differentiators, and hence the means by which service providers and content aggregators of all kinds will compete for eyeballs and market share. There is a huge potential in what will be the future of the EPG, how will data aggregation and metadata management work and how broadband-broadcast guides will get displayed in a simple, easy to use format.
Challenge to IPTV and Traditional Pay TV providers –Traditionally IPTV has provided walled approach to Internet connectivity limited to service provider controlled video on demand and aligned services. Smart TVs enabled with extended security (Conditional Access) has the potential to function as IPTV set top boxes and hence offer challenge to IPTV device and service.
Content Owners and Broadcasters –Content aggregators and Broadcasters have a significant role to play in deploying services for discovery and consumption of content in connected TV ecosystem. Content owners who have been comfortable with proven and established distribution channels of programming via cables and satellites have a new online channel to explore and expand their audience. Google has recently launched Video on demand service for movie rentals (3000+ movies) through YouTube and seems to br working to add (its own) channels to lure new viewers and better compete with cable and other broadcasters for its Google TV offering.
Broadcasters could be the biggest winners from the convergence of Internet and television, providing the means to deliver catch-up TV and more compelling interactive TV services. It provides the opportunity to re-capture the audience (eyeballs) missed through traditional linear television programming.
Emerging Platform – Android is seen as promising platform with growing base of developers building killer apps for the TV platform (Samsung and Yahoo have a head start). Similarly commercial offerings from companies such as Logitech, Sony, LG, Boxee, Samsung and Intel have indicated products in the area that will give television users search capabilities, ability to run apps, interactive on-demand media, personalized communications, and social networking features.
While most of the existing connected TV platforms are closed following ‘walled garden approach’ next generation products will offer platforms which are more inclined towards open ecosystems. Google TV based on the Android platform (running Google Chrome web browser) and MeeGo Smart TV Working Group are entrants offering open frameworks, which will foster greater co-creation and developer community efforts in building ecosystems to run web on TV.
Smart TV has the capability to become home media hub and entertainment gateway enabling centralized access to all content spread across PC’s, storage devices, broadcast and power content for secondary (handheld devices) and multi room servicing. It brings seamless integration with Internet content, broadcast programming, personal content, and virtually unlimited applications—all viewable on one TV screen. Smart TV is well equipped to enhance the overall TV viewing experience and foster new collaboration among device manufactures, content aggregators, service providers and broadcasters to bring content and interactive experience for consumers