Ever-increasing broadband speeds are changing the TV landscape forever
On the one hand there is the threat of viewers being lured away to spend time on their PCs, smartphones or tablets when they were previously slumped on the sofa watching pay-TV. On the other there is the opportunity that broadband offers to existing and new entrant operators that can harness the power of broadband to deliver over-the-top services for the benefit of the consumer and the finance director.
Most major metropolitan areas, and increasingly the more far-flung regions, can now support the delivery of broadcast quality pictures over the internet to a greater or lesser extent. If you are delivering pictures to the TV screen there is no point in tying up broadband capacity with channels that can already be received, so you can use existing cable channels and blend them in to a wider offering.
There is a genuine demand from consumers for TV as a service, be it to a portable device, or the fixed one in the corner of the living room still known as the TV set. The difficulty is that viewers are not entirely sure what they want, using their PC. smartphone or tablet to catch-up on TV shows they may have missed and are often directed there by the broadcasters themselves, at least until a similar service is introduced on the TV itself. A number of consumer electronics players have seen this as an opportunity to wrest control of the television from the operators by presenting viewers with new ways to consume broadband-delivered content. By managing users’ access to broadcast and web entertainment through a single connected device the CE manufacturers are essentially setting themselves up as virtual IPTV operators and placing themselves in direct competition with the established pay-TV industry.
There is more to the Connected TV than just family photos and widgets. The combination of ongoing revenues, not to mention the possibility of speeding up the television replacement cycle, has led manufacturers to increasingly bundle in content. This has manifested itself in the availability of catch-up TV services, such as the BBC iPlayer or Sky Go. Coupled with the addition of movies on demand from the major Hollywood studios, and integrations with YouTube and Facebook, manufacturers are able to offer a strong content line-up. However, with current Connected TV technology there is significant disconnect between the traditional EPG and bundled OTT services and widgets, which makes for a disjointed user experience.