Friday, 29 June 2012

Will Google TV learn the lessons from 2010 launch?

Sony and Google have got together to launch Google TV beyond North America for the first time. It’s an interesting development and another reason why 2012 has become the year of connected TV devices. Whilst it’s an exciting development for consumers, people may still be a little wary about investing in the product given the reputation Google TV garnered when it first launched in the US.

When it launched in the US in 2010, Google TV had its share of critics. The initial release was derided for being too expensive, and perhaps more importantly several TV networks blocked the service from access to its content. Google’s launch partner, Logitech, pulled out after an unsuccessful launch, CEO Guerrino De Luca later told investors that launching on "beta" software was "a mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature" the software simply wasn’t ready for commercial deployment.

The UK launch, which will also be rolled out in Canada, Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil and Mexico in the coming months sees Sony provide the hardware. We saw some early implementations at CES in January. Consumers will be able to browse the internet, play games and access other applications as well as watching TV. There appears to be a limited amount of European TV content available at launch, which, as we saw in the US may prove to be a barrier.

It remains to be seen how the device, called the NSZ-GS7, will fair. However, with plans to launch a Blu-ray version at £300 later this year, it suggests Google and Sony are going to be throwing their considerable marketing weight behind it. The encouraging thing for all of us in the industry is that the connected TV market continues to grow.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Multi-screen is the way forward for our sporting summer

This weekend, we watched in disbelief as England crashed out of Euro 2012, yet again on penalties. So as we enjoy, or rather endure, this sporting summer, it’s interesting to note that one fifth of Europeans will be using connected devices to ensure they don’t miss a single sporting event, according to research carried out for Logitech by Opinion Matters . Whilst the Euros are now over for England, we still have Wimbledon and the Olympics to look forward to; and it’s looking likely that this sporting summer will be the tipping point for bringing the multi-screen experience into our living rooms.

The survey also revealed that 66 per cent of men control the remote. But by using new tablet and smartphone apps such as ANT Galio Move, arguments over the remote will become a thing of the past. Using a Wi-Fi connection, ANT Galio Move lets users stream live and recorded TV direct to tablets and smartphones anywhere in the home. This means that fans can watch the match on an iPad as they get refreshments from the kitchen while everyone else continues to watch on the main TV - no-one need ever miss a single kick again. Alternatively those that don’t want to watch the game can use the iPad to watch a different live channel or recorded programme. The app can also be used to manage recordings, access additional programme information and control the TV, all without interrupting the big game.

So with increasing numbers of consumers turning to multiple devices to watch all the sporting events over the summer, one thing we can be certain of is that the multi-screen experience looks set to stay. Perhaps slightly less certain however, are Great Britain’s chances for the rest of the sporting summer… For now, the pressure is firmly on Andy Murray to deliver a British victory at Wimbledon!

Monday, 18 June 2012

New services needed to capitalise on connected TV sales boom

More than every third flat-screen TV set sold this year in Europe (37%) will be Internet-compatible, according to recent figures compiled by the European Information Technology Observatory. But with connected TVs now set to boom across Europe, manufacturers and retailers are constantly having to up their game. One way to do this is to offer the consumer market more innovative features so that they remain ahead of their competition.

These latest figures show that connected TVs are becoming increasingly popular, and as a result, everyone wants a piece of the pie. This year, we’ve already seen the entry of Netflix into the UK market, the launch of Google TV 2.0, and an Apple TV is rumoured to be hot on its heels. So in an increasingly crowded marketplace, manufacturers are having to become more savvy by harnessing developments in new technologies and offering consumers a greater range of digital TV services. For a glimpse of future connected TV services it’s worth tracking the connected set-top box market: with a shorter development cycle it’s often where TV innovation can be seen first.

Multiscreen TV is set to shape the viewing experience of the future, with connected devices talking to each other to deliver truly personalised TV. By embracing new services such as tablet and smartphone viewing, connected TV sales will continue to thrive.

By Simon Woodward, CEO of digital TV specialist ANT Software

Friday, 8 June 2012

Tablet video views continue to grow

The latest report by online video company Ooyala is out and once again provides an excellent insight into how people are consuming video content on PCs, smartphones, tablets and connected TV’s.

The report includes some great statistics around the increase in long-form content viewing (videos longer than ten minutes) on tablet devices. This accounted for over half of the video content consumed. The iPad remains the dominant tablet device, accounting for 95% of tablet viewing.

We’ve seen strong industry interest in this area seen since the launch of ANT Galio Move, an application that allows consumers to stream live and recorded TV direct to tablets and smartphones anywhere in the home from connected TV’s and STBs. Tablet sales continue to go from strength to strength and new product releases have enhanced video content usage, Ooyala’s report states that following Apple’s March release of the iPad 3, the amount of video watched on tablets jumped 26%.