Thursday, 15 December 2011

UK leads Europe in TV innovation

A study released by Ofcom this week has shown that the UK is Europe's most screen addicted nation.

The UK leads the way in Europe when it comes to digital innovation, particularly in the TV space, you only have to look at the success of the BBC iPlayer to see why the rest of Europe keeps a close eye on the latest UK developments. So it’s no surprise that Brits are the most screen addicted nation. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2012 the entertainment experience is set to radically change as the explosion of online content hits our screens at home and TV addicts will benefit from a media revolution that has been brewing for some time. There are thousands of connected TVs sat in UK living rooms that need to be connected to the internet to benefit from the innovative new TV services in the pipeline.

2012 will see broadcasters and TV device manufacturers launch a wealth of new TV services. But it will be a balancing act between delivering more sophisticated online interaction and the traditional TV experience for broadcasters and manufacturers alike. As the TV is increasingly positioned as the hub of the connected home, broadcasters and manufacturers need to ensure they are providing the viewing experience consumers want.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Insights into the market drivers for TV in 2012

Lipstick sales used to be the bellwether for the economy. Now it seems, its televisions, as an evening at home in front of the widescreen connected TV has become the new Friday or Saturday night out.

Consumers are reigning in spending as a result of the tough economic environment. But according to the analyst community they are increasingly willing to invest in both large- and smart-TVs (perhaps the result of the need to create an engaging environment as they cut down on nights out to save on spending).

A recent study by analyst Frank N. Magid Associates found that 40 per cent of consumers are looking to buy a new TV next year, with more than three-in-five seeking internet TV features. Meanwhile, Digital Entertainment Group reports that US sales of HDTV sets with a 60-inches or larger screen are expected to have grown by 50 per cent this year to 1.3 million units.

Innovation is opening doors to new services for consumers. In 2012 we’ll see the emergence of more unified services connecting TVs to mobile devices, such as iPads and iPhones. Meanwhile we’re also witnessing greater levels of integration of TV services with gaming devices, such as Kinect for Xbox with its hand gesture navigation system shows the potential for future TV navigation.

Driven by the economic climate and growing technology innovation, the evolving TV experience is undoubtedly becoming an increasingly important feature in connected homes across the UK. As the industry casts its attention towards 2012, we’re excited to see what’s in store as this year draws to a close and a new one begins.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Adobe abandons Flash for TV

Much has been made of Adobe’s recent announcement that it is halting development of the mobile and TV versions of Flash, but it’s worth looking a bit closer to see what this really means for the TV market.

While some pay-TV operators have used Flash, they have been in the minority. HTML, Java and native solutions have been the most common approaches to UI development. Most Flash content on the web is not suited to TV displays or TV remote controls, and so Flash has often been a “tick list” feature in the TV market rather than a must-have. This becomes especially obvious when you start asking the question “what revenue stream will cover the costs of licensing Flash?”

Many people have asked what this means for YouView: the answer is probably “not much”. What Adobe have actually stopped supporting is Flash Player for web browsing: the focus has shifted to AIR and to applications. This is the category the YouView user interface falls into, so is likely to be unaffected by the announcement.

This is probably a wise move by Adobe: it enables them to concentrate on their key products (AIR and development tools) while minimising the pain of supporting companies with porting Flash to new platforms and integrating with new browsers. As HTML 5 and related standards have become almost ubiquitous, the demand for Flash has decreased in the Web world. This announcement lets Adobe strengthen their position in the world of app stores and in the changing mobile market. Flash-based technologies will still be a force in the TV world for some time to come.

By Steve Morris