Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Predictions for the year ahead…

From ANT CEO, Simon Woodward

With CES over for another year it’s clear that 2012 is shaping up to be another exciting year for the TV industry. Connected TV was very much a key theme at the show alongside some 3DTV advances and some pretty stunning new TV’s including the 55 Inch Samsung Super OLED.

TV technology has undergone a huge amount of transformation in recent years, with the evolution of screen form factors, display and image definition; and it’s not going to slow down in 2012. We’re seeing growing demand for connected TV services and consumers are turning their attention to the features of their set-top box (STB) and the services it provides to them.

2012 will be a tipping point for the connected TV market. Multiscreen TV services are the next step towards the ‘TV everywhere’ vision that the industry aspires to, where consumers will be able to access content whenever and wherever they want. Multiscreen services undoubtedly offer new opportunities when it comes to features and content – for consumers, device manufacturers, broadcasters and brands.

With some of the world’s biggest technology players looking to stake a claim in digital TV services during 2012, new doors are opening for brands when it comes to engaging with consumers. Up until now, we’ve been stuck in a chicken and egg situation when it comes to the development of interactive TV advertising. Marketers have been slower than expected when it comes to exploiting the direct-to-consumer presence that connected devices offer, with many waiting for consumers to show an interest. But without engaging content, the fact of the matter is that consumers have nothing to interact with.

The next generation of STBs is set to deliver a wealth of new services that will enable brands to interact in innovative new ways with consumers while they watch their TV. This means bringing to the table a greater variety of services that will enable viewers to shape their own viewing experience. For advertisers it’s important to remember that there’s a fine line between personalisation and ad-overload, so they must work with broadcasters to take advantage of these new technologies and deliver intelligent connected TV strategies.

It’s important that the experience we value most about TV watching – that opportunity to sit back, relax and escape – remains at the heart of these new services.

Friday, 13 January 2012

GoogleTV 12 Months On

This time last year I witnessed GoogleTV for the first time at CES 2011, my blog ‘Greetings from Vegas’ raised questions about whether consumers really want to interact using a keyboard and a mouse to watch TV. It’s been a challenging 12 months for GoogleTV with one of its first customers, Logitech, pulling out following poor consumer feedback. At CES this week I’ve seen a couple of Google 2.0 implementations. Sony has returned, which has been a surprise to some, while LG demonstrated its efforts for the first time.

After using both demonstrations it was interesting to see how they have both attempted to tackle the usability issues with new, innovative, remote controls. Both have squeezed a small QWERTY keyboard onto the back of the remote which still feels too small to be usable without reading glasses and small thumbs. For the control of the onscreen cursor LG have a wand style pointer while Sony has moved to a mouse touch pad. Sony has also added voice recognition for search and added motion control for games.

While the weeks demonstrations are an improvement on last year’s launch, it was notable that both suffered on-screen error messages on a regular basis, while they are of course only demo’s rather than finished products, it’s clear that there is still a considerable amount of work to be done to meet the hype of the GoogleTV marketing machine.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

UK launch of Netflix likely to ruffle loveFilm's feathers

Netflix’s online film and TV subscription service was launched in the UK yesterday. While this will certainly ruffle LoveFilm’s feathers this month, it is what falls out of it, that will be interesting. I expect the entire connected TV market to be shaken up this year as viewers get a plethora of next generation TV services offered to them. TV technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated in response to consumer demand for a more interactive, on demand viewing experience and we expect to see a wealth of innovative TV services follow in the footsteps of Netflix.

The connected TV has been critically overlooked in the past; as viewers were buying these devices but not being educated on how to connect them and enjoy the connected experience. 2012 will no doubt be the tipping point for the connected TV - as viewers realise the opportunity to explore and discover exciting new applications and services through their TV set, whilst still being able to sit back and relax.