New functionalities and applications are being launched on a regular basis, and it’s difficult for the normal TV viewer to see the market trends. How will the Smart TV experience evolve over the coming year?
Smart TVs are here to stay. By the end of 2012, there will be more than 100 million consumers in the world who regularly use Smart TV applications, and leading TV companies like Samsung, LG, Sony, and Panasonic are rapidly adjusting their model range to include new functionalities and applications to make the experience more attractive for consumers.
The first generations of Smart TV show all the typical signs of an emerging technology, with fragmented technology, evolving user experience and rapid innovation. New opportunities arise with each generation of Smart TV, and it is clear that the coming 12-24 months will bring a fundamentally different experience to consumers. Below are the top market trends that Accedo sees from its perspective as the leading application provider.
Smart TV companion applications
So far, only very few consumers use smartphones and tablets while using Smart TV applications. With the increased penetration of smart devices in the living room, more and more consumers will see the need to use the mobile device for interaction, browsing and personalisation, but the TV for video playback. Within the next 24 months, we believe that all major video services will offer the possibility of pairing your Smart TV with your mobile device to offer you the best of both worlds.
Full coverage from TV channels
One of the most useful applications on Smart TVs is the BBC iPlayer application. With a click of a button, you can access attractive content from the BBC directly on your Smart TV. We receive many questions why not all the other TV channels are available on all TVs. The simple answer is, of course, commercial reasons. BBC is publicly funded, but other TV channels require a certain critical mass of users before it’s worthwhile for them to launch applications. We expect that all major TV channels will be available on Smart TV within the coming 12 months.
Games are always attractive on any devices, but the games, which are currently available on Smart TV are limited in functionality. The reasons are limitations in the technology platforms and limited possibilities of monetisation. Our expectations are than the Smart TV models being introduced in 2013 will be powerful enough to run more advanced games. At the same time, the market size is starting to be large enough for major gaming companies to justify investing into this new platform, which will bring more attractive games to these platforms.
In normal TV, consumers are stuck with the TV channels offered via the TV operator. Some operators might offer hundreds of TV channels, but packed into different bundles, which is less attractive for the consumer. Via Smart TV, consumers can interact directly with content providers which supply attractive niche content. Since Smart TV platforms offer global distribution opportunities, content providers can find a market for their services outside the traditional TV distributors.
One example of this is EpicTV, a leading pan-European provider of extreme sports TV content. This is high-end, attractive niche content, which cannot find distribution via traditional broadcasting. Via Smart TV, they can offer the best experience to their customers, whilst avoiding the operators adding costs and complexity.
Cutthroat competition in movie services
If we were to choose one winner of the Smart TV trend, it would be the movie fan. It’s difficult to imagine that only five years ago consumers were stuck with DVD rentals or what was shown on the normal TV channels, whereas we now have 3-4 attractive movie services already available on Smart TV with more expected to launch in the next 12 months. Of course, companies will have to compete with price and the best selection. During 2013, we will see aggressive marketing campaigns from all the major providers to sign up consumers to their services.
The first mass market Smart TVs were introduced in 2010, but it’s not until the 2012 models that the technology has matured enough to provide a truly attractive consumer experience. The innovation trend continues and 2013 promises even more attractive functions and services.
This guest editorial was written by Michael Lantz, CEO, Accedo.
Author statement: Accedo is the global leader of Smart TV apps. Accedo has deployed more than 200 Smart TV apps on all major platforms.
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