Goodbye, TV Channels — And Hello, TV Apps

How a small change in language represents a universal shift in the television experience.

 

When I was a kid, my brother graciously taught me what a half-Nelson was. It was a lesson learned from our nightly wrestling matches over the remote control, which was essentially the scepter in our little game of thrones. I suppose that made our old tube TV the Lee family version of Westeros.

Part sport, part habit, fighting over a remote was a clear by-product of the way people watched television. Entertainment moved in only one direction, as anything flowing down through channels tends to do. So whoever controlled those lanes had all the power.

But television is evolving. Increasingly, it’s all about the apps now—browsable, downloadable, interactive TV applications. You can thank the swelling ranks of streaming services and devices for that.

The software applications they’re delivering to our living rooms are growing in number and prominence. And they’re starting to eclipse the passive, one-way broadcasts we once fought over for two-way, interactive experiences that let you share democratically among multiple users (née viewers) across mobile devices and computers.

It’s about time.

Changing Channels

We were long overdue for a change. In essence, television hasn’t changed for more than half a century. TV channels have always been pipelines for broadcasters to transmit programming along particular frequencies or bands in different regions. But as analog signals moved to digital, and those signals flowed through cable and satellite as well as the airwaves, channels remained channels.

Back in the 1990s, WebTV made an unconvincing argument for adding Internet TV to your living room like another channel, sort of. It was an idea before its time. But it succeeded in doing one thing: It seeded a notion that eventually grew up and became today’s app-fueled living room.

According to research firm NPD Group, the smart television business has begun to boom. In the beginning of 2013, there were 140 million Internet-ready TVs in American homes. By 2015, it will grow 44 percent, to 202 million. And by that time, nearly two-thirds of them will actually be connected to the Internet, compared to just 56 percent now.

How they connect is important. When it comes to television, “apps” are where it’s at, not ye olde “TV channels.” It’s just a shift in language, true—but it’s also a shift in thinking. Watching TV used to mean sitting back and absorbing whatever broadcasters—and later, cable or satellite providers—would deign to send through those pipes. It’s a passive experience, one that spawned mindless channel surfing and vegging out in front of the TV.

Thanks to smart TVs, streaming boxes and cheap TV sticks, users don’t have to sit around and wait for cable packages to update with new stations. We seek out and download apps. We browse, search or hit our playlists, so we can stream.

And we don’t just change channels anymore. We cast videos and songs, or switch apps, from one to another—bouncing between online videos, music, games, photos and home movies.

That’s not to say that there’s no place in this brave new world of television for passive viewing. Personally, as a long-time couch potato, I think tuning in (or, maybe, tuning out) has its place, and binge watching is certainly an acceptable substitute. But it may not look exactly the same for everyone. For instance, companies like startup QPlay—from the founders of TiVo—are working on merging passive viewing with streaming. Their premise: creating always-on “playlists” of online entertainment.

The Rise Of The Machines

Roku may be the only popular streaming TV box or stick that still calls its offerings “channels.” But make no mistake—they’re really apps. You download them. You can sync them. You can control them from your phone or, in some cases, cast them. (Users can fling YouTube, Netflix and PlayOn videos from their mobile devices to the TV.) You can even play Angry Birds on a Roku box.

Apps have become a major selling point—or its opposite—for streaming TV devices. When Google’s Chromecast came out last summer, only its ridiculously cheap $35 price tag could overcome its severely limited selection—just four apps at launch. Amazon’s Fire TV debuted last month with more choices. But its highly promoted voice search is drawing criticism for practically nonexistent support from non-Amazon apps (though that will change eventually).

As for smart TVs, the approaches vary widely. But since TV channels are pretty much the same, manufacturers can only differentiate their products by their hardware and apps. Some, like Roku’s upcoming Roku TV, will use proprietary platforms, while others, like Panasonic, use more open platforms, such as Firefox OS.

These products and platforms just scratch the surface. Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku top bestseller lists for streaming devices, along with Apple TV, whose maker finallystopped treating the box as a hobbyafter selling 20 million units for $1 billion last year. They’re joined by innumerable other TV dongles and gadgets, as well as full-fledged smart televisions from the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio, HCL and others.

Clearly, there are numerous ways to stream to our living rooms now. And all that is powered by apps.

As if that weren’t enough, we may see another new contender before long: Google is rumored to be working on another streaming product, likely a new take on Android TV. No one knows precisely what that will be yet, but we’re pretty confident that apps will take center stage. Hopefully we’ll know more when ReadWrite goes to the Google I/O conference next month.

Streaming Apps And TV Networks: “I Wanna Be Like You!”

As for the app developers themselves, they’re stepping up to become bigger players in the TV industry in their own right.

Original content is like the new black, with Netflix’s Emmy award-winning series House of Cards grabbing the public’s attention, as well as hit Orange Is The New Black. Amazon has also been hotly pursuing original programming with a slew of shows, while Hulu trotted out original programs in its very own “Upfronts”—an event usually hosted by TV networks to parade new programming and celebrities in front of advertisers.

As streaming companies mimic the TV and cable networks, the latter have been working on their streaming offerings—from local apps like KTVU (which is the only way I get my local news these days; I never watch the TV broadcast) to online video from major cable channels like HBO.

The Game of Thrones purveyor has become such a breakout TV-to-streaming crossover hit that Amazon Fire TV’s omission of HBO GO marred its product launch. (Take a deep breath, Fire TV hopefuls: Turns out, Amazon will at least offer some “older” HBO programming via its Prime Instant Video subscription. The HBO GO app will reportedly follow later this year.)

Even cable and satellite operators—which were an online holdout for a long time—are now rushing to stream so they can complement, even save, their on-demand, pay TV services.

The Longshot: A Merging Of The Two?

It’s hard to talk about broadcast channels and streaming without bringing up Aereo.

The startup may have the ultimate solution for bringing these two content pipes together—that is, if it can prove that its model of grabbing over-the-air signals via tiny individual antennas and streaming them to users over the Internet is legal. If Aereo wins its Supreme Court case, it would be a rather huge blow to broadcasters, which charge cable and other TV providers to carry their stations.

TV channels could have an unlikely savior in Netflix as well. The streaming giant struck deals with a handful of cable providers to add its online video service to their set-top boxes, as part of their guides and channel lineups. The idea is to let users channel surf their way in without going into a menu to launch an app or switching inputs on their TVs. If others follow suit, it could re-position the software into streaming app channels, effectively blending the two.

And maybe that’s the best scenario, because it could preserve some measure of passive viewing while making streaming apps more convenient. On the other hand, the prospect of adding even more channels to the hundreds of standard ones could be the worst idea in the world. What’s crazy is that, on average, people only tend to watch 17 of the 189 channels available to them as it is.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty over how all this will shake out. After decades of stasis, television is suddenly a rapidly evolving space—fueled as much by ambition as advances in hardware and software. But through it all, one thing seems certain: The TV channel, as we know it, is destined to change.

Flickr images by users Robert S. Donovan (feature image), Sarah Reid (vintage TV) and Omar Bárcena (broadcast tower); Samsung smart TV and Amazon Fire TV images courtesy of respective companies; Kevin Spacey/House of Cardsimage courtesy of Netflix; streaming boxes image by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite.

by  May 09, 2014

SOURCE: http://readwrite.com/

 

 May 09, 2014

Anúncios

The New Generation Of Smart TVs Will Reinvent Online Shopping

Main Entry Image

As was seen at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the newest generation of smart TV consoles is reinventing the way consumers watch television and shop online. According to Strategic Analytics, smart TVs represented one-third of all global flat panel television shipments in 2013 and is expected to grow to 73% within the next three years. It’s clear to see that smart TVs will dominate as the standard household entertainment device by the end of the decade.

This is important to retailers because smart TVs give consumers the freedom to kick back and enjoy the ultimate convenience of shopping online while watching their favorite programming. For example, if they see something they like in a commercial, the path to purchase is through a simple click. “Our consumer survey data shows that around 50% of Smart TV owners across the USA and major European markets are currently using their TV’s Internet capabilities, so vendors must continue to add compelling applications and services to entice consumers to utilize their platforms,” Eric Smith, analyst (1). So along with ecommerce and M-commerce, T-commerce will be joining the fray in retail shopping innovation (2,3).

 

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

advertising.aol.com  | by  John Gregory

 

Seminário e Workshop – Samsung Smart TV Development

SAMSUNG-WKS01

A Universidade Lusófona e a Samsung Portugal, realizam no dia 6 e 7 de Novembro um seminário e workshop sobre Smart TV Development no campus da universidade, direcionado a alunos, professores e empresas parceiras.

Direcionado a um setor de mercado em franca expansão, que alavanca um enorme conjunto de oportunidades de mercado, a Universidade Lusófona e a Samsung Portugal trazem a Portugal uma equipa de formadores de desenvolvimento

O seminário e workshop, também direcionado a parceiros, é gratuito mas o número de inscrições é limitado.Smart TV para apresentar novas tendências e promover não só o conceito de desenvolvimento de apps para esta área, mas também para partilhar conhecimento e experiência no desenvolvimento concreto de aplicações, que será desenvolvido num workshop onde os participantes irão ter uma verdadeira experiência de desenvolvimento com recurso ao Software Development Kit da Samsung.

 

The Smart TV App Revolution Is Coming: Here’s What You Need To Know

SmartTVFeatures

The app store phenomenon, centered on smartphones and tablets, has been the biggest story in software for the past five years.

Its next logical destination: the living room, via smart TVs and set-top boxes connected to the Internet. Smart TV apps would represent yet another threat to the struggling pay TV industry.

 

In a new reportBI Intelligence looks at the data and trends behind the TV app market, explains why it’s still nascent and messy, and why significant growth seems inevitable. A successful TV app platform could significantly shift the balance of power in entertainment, and allow for much greater probabilities of success among newcomers versus incumbents.

 

 

Access The Full Report And Data Including The PowerPoint Version By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>

Why is an apps-enabled living room so exciting?

Consider the market:

  • There are some 800 million pay TV households worldwide, according to MRG.
  • In America, the average person still spends more than four hours per day watching TV, and more than five hours per day engaging with all screens, according to Nielsen.
  • TV also still represents the majority of worldwide ad spending: $350 billion last year, or 63% of all ad spending, according to Nielsen.

 

Innovation in the TV space is inevitable:

  • Consumers want it: A survey by Nielsen and YuMe found that 17% of Internet connected TV users plan to decrease or cancel their cable subscription in the coming year.
  • TV is ripe for app-led innovation: The old guard, represented by cable and entertainment conglomerates, will not be able to fend off improvements and user experience innovations like those that apps are bringing to mobile phones.
  • The devices are there: the Smart TV revolution will not just be led by new TVs with built-in Internet connections. Consumer will also adopt less expensive game consoles and set-top boxes like Roku and Apple TV, which transform traditional TVs into Smart TVs with access to app stores. At least 20% of U.S. consumers already have their TVs connected in one of these ways.
  • The operating systems and app stores are thereTVs would offer mobile-based apps a new screen to conquer. Apps would be able to sync across PCs, tablets, smartphones, and TVs. Smart TVs and set-top boxes will likely run on mobile operating systems, iOS and Android.
  • The players are in place: Apple and Google seem like logical smart-TV leaders — Apple through its skill of designing and marketing great platforms, and Google through its prowess in digital video and advertising. Also, pay attention to Samsung and Microsoft, among others. But consumers won’t gravitate to smart TV apps until the app stores are stocked with well-curated collections of great software.

 

But there are plenty of barriers to a successful TV-based app ecosystem:

The report is full of charts and data that can be easily downloaded and put to use.

 

In full, the report:

  • Looks at data on Internet connected TV adoption among consumers
  • Digs into new video consumption behavior and explains how an app-centered TV will leverage the trend toward digital video
  • Discusses the cast of characters — from media and cable conglomerates to manufacturers and software giants — trying to get into the smart TV space, and who will likely win
  • Looks at what consumers are doing on their app-enabled TVs
  • Juxtaposes alarming trends in the pay TV market, with healthy growth in Internet-enabled TV usage
  • Examines what needs to happen for smart TVs to emerge as a key app development platform

For full access to the report on Smart TV Apps as well as our archive of over 100 in-depth reports and hundreds of charts on mobile computing, digital video, and the Internet, sign up for a free trial subscription today. 
DAN FROMMER OCT. 5, 2013, 11:15 AM   in http://www.businessinsider.com