Tuesday, 31 July 2012

ANT Galio Move shortlisted for CSI awards

We’re pleased to announce that ANT Galio Move has been shortlisted for the Cable & Satellite International awards in the ‘Best interactive TV technology or application’ category.  The judging is to take place by a panel of experts over the next month and the winners will be announced at this year’s IBC event on September 7th.

Most people now live in a connected home with 70 per cent of tablet owners and 68 per cent of smartphone owners using their devices while watching TV. ANT Galio Move uses these additional screens to complement and enhance the viewing experience.

ANT Galio Move is an application that allows viewers to stream live and recorded TV direct to tablets and smartphones anywhere in the home. The app connects directly to the TV device using a WiFi connection, meaning that the companion device is able to carry out a wide range of second-screen functions, which haven’t previously been possible. For example:

  • When watching a football match, for example, you can take the game with you while you make a cup of tea, meaning you never miss a kick. Simply press the ‘Watch Here’ button on the companion device’s touch screen UI. The match will continue to play on the main TV as the rest of the family continues to watch while you can watch it in parallel on the companion device
  • Perhaps you’re not interested in the football at all, and if that’s the case, simply select another channel and stream it to the companion device instead. The main TV remains unaffected and you have access to the same selection of live programmes to view on the companion device
  • As well as all of the live programmes, the application can also be used to watch programmes recorded onto the STB or connected TV hard drive

Since its launch at the IBC show last year, ANT Galio Move has been extremely well received by the market. We have continued to develop the application and are looking forward to showcasing new exciting features again at IBC 2012. We’re delighted with the results and will be keeping our fingers crossed at the CSI awards ceremony.

For more information on ANT Galio Move  please visit the ANT website.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Households getting smarter with their TVs

Internet connected 'smart TVs' are growing in popularity with 5% of UK households now owning one, according to stats in Ofcom’s new report.

As smart TVs grow in popularity, so does the physical size of the average TV screen.  More than one third (35%) of TVs sold in the UK in Q1 2012 were either 'super-large' (33" to 42") or 'jumbo' sized (43" and over). In addition, smartphone and tablet ownership are also up, 39% and 11% respectively.
The connected home is no longer just a pipe dream. Smart TV sales are steadily increasing and more importantly the number of consumers actually using the internet enabled features is increasing too. Over two thirds of people are now using the internet capabilities of their smart TVs - a result of more engaging, relevant content being provided for viewers combined with improved consumer understanding of the benefits of plugging an internet cable into the back of their new TV.

The rise in smartphone and tablet ownership presents an opportunity to not only watch TV on these devices but to join the TV and the connected devices together for a converged TV experience. Tasks such as scanning the electronic programme guide or scheduling new recordings should take place on the touch screen user interface of a smartphone of tablet device to avoid disturbing what the TV is best as – displaying great television pictures.

By Simon Woodward, CEO of digital TV specialist ANT Software

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Sky’s the limit for brand new Now TV service

This week we have seen another contender enter the arena to battle it out for our on-demand attention. BskyB launched its own streaming service – Now TV – challenging the dominant players in the market, Netflix and LoveFilm. Now TV will be made available on PCs, Macs, smartphones, iPads and YouView. Consumers will be given the option to either watch unlimited films for £15 a month or pay up to £3.49 for individual films, with the "pay and play" option. With the launch of the new internet service, Sky is going beyond its pay-TV subscription roots. It’s a smart way of maximising its premium catalogue.

Having seen LoveFilm and Netflix make a huge splash this year, the launch of Now TV is a bold step for Sky to take. The move is a sign that Sky’s looking to get more from what it already has. More bang for essentially the same buck.

Whilst the launch is exciting news for consumers who don’t want to subscribe to Sky’s packages but do want access to Sky’s content, it’s also an interesting development for the digital TV industry overall. The launch is another sign that the market for on-demand services is rapidly growing.

Monday, 16 July 2012

It’s good to share as the connected device market prepares for growth spurt

A report by the analyst group IDATE reveals connected TVs will account for 63% of the new over-the-top services market by 2020. In addition to that, the global TV services market will amount to €355 billion by 2020, up from €233 billion in 2011. On average, over the next eight years, it means the market is set to grow by 4.7% annually. When you consider the wider economic climate, that’s an ambitious target to reach.

The driving force behind this however will be what the report calls the 'rest of the world' countries, including China, India, Russia and Brazil. These countries will increase their share of the global TV services market from 20% in 2011, to 42% in 2020.

One of the reasons for this growth is the development of on-demand-video services. IDATE’s deputy chief executive, Gilles Fontaine, believes "new on-demand services will increase their share of the global video market from 3% in 2011 to 12% in 2020.”

China and the Asian markets will be of particular interest as they continue to develop. Burgeoning middle classes in China and the modernisation of other economies in the region means there is, in every sense, a whole new market to explore.

We’ve said in the past that we expect to see a sharp curve on the adoption cycle of connected TVs. Consumer take-up stagnated in the early years, partly because the consumer education piece didn’t run parallel to the technology innovation. This is now being addressed and the benefits of connected TVs are already starting to light up living rooms. It’s now up to the industry to continue to develop additional, relevant, TV services to meet the forecasted demand.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A big “phew” from the people behind YouView

YouView is finally set to launch. Chairman Alan Sugar and Managing Director Richard Halton showcased the new television service backed by territorial broadcasters (BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV) and three communications companies (Arqiva, BT and TalkTalk) to the press for the first time this morning. While trials continue, YouView has committed to the first STB’s being available to buy at the end of the month, around two years later than originally planned.

YouView is some four years in the making having been known initially as project canvas in 2008, with a view to launch in 2010. It will allow viewers to access 100 digital TV and radio channels as well as a selection of on-demand content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5. Today’s launch focussed on its EPG that enables users to scroll backwards in time as well as forwards, so they can catch up on shows they may have missed in the last seven days. You can see some glimpses of the EPG here.  Subscription packages are yet to be announced and may hold the key to whether the service is able to offer anything that isn’t already available in the market today. Subscription free STBs will cost £299, meaning it’s very much a premium product. 

After some technical delays, the product is now ready to go to market. Crucially, it will miss the anticipated pre-Olympics surge in TV device sales. But it’s thought the new TV service will also provide film studios and TV production companies with the ability to set up their own channels, an interesting development for the UK market.