Smart TV: Opportunity for the Users and the Business

04. December 2013

With the new technologies and fast data connections we can also run the application on TV, which we know from the world of web browsers and mobile phones - from social applications like Twitter or Facebook through the applications mediating the access to film archives, Internet radio, Skype, Games, up to the applications which allow viewing news and electronical editions of newspapers, watching traffic reports, navigating real estates offers or sport results, weather monitoring, selection of last-minute trips or searching of public transport.

What is Smart TV?

Smart TV (sometimes called Connected TV) is a television that combines a digital reception of video signal with internet access and access to the app store. In this perception resembles to the mobile phones which also combine traditional telephony services and GSM world with Internet access and the ability to install applications. Every company producing televisions has today on the market series which can be termed as smart – the best known are Samsung SmartTV, LG NetCast, Philips NetTV, Sharp Aquos, Panasonic Viera and Sony Bravia. In current television entertainment are present at least two basic trends. The first is the distribution of film content on as many platforms as possible. Its aim is arranging video content outside of traditional nationwide (terrestrial, cable or satellite) broadcasting. These services are referred as OTT, which emphasises that the film content is distributed by using the existing transmission networks and the network operator stands outside of the business modael and does not participate (except for lump-sum payments for transferred data) directly on the profit arising from the service providing. Film content is often within one application complete with other services such as news, weather, EPG or even games. Another often discussed concept is so-called multiscreen (sometimes also second screen), which refers to the fact that the traditional reception of digital signal on TV is not the only possibility of watching film content. It is via the data transmission accessible for applications on Smart TVs, mobile phones, tablets or game consoles. The second important trend is then using televisions as a platform for applications that were previously dominated by mobile phones and web browsers. At the intersection of the two are efforts of radios to penetrate on TV screen with additional content.

TV content, radios

First look at a trend known as OTT and multiscreen. It has been mentioned that the film content is trying to succeed on a wide variety of devices – from phones and tablets via smart TVs, set-top boxes, multimedia centers such as Boxee, GoogleTV or Roku up to the game consoles PlayStation 3 or Xbox. OTT applications are involving in many directions. One of them is unrestricted access of film archive and broadcasted content. An example of this might be a BBC application iPlayer with the slogan "Making the unmissable, unmissable", in our country for example portals or Applications and content can be downloaded for free. The operation is financed by other sources and by broadcasted advertising. The aim of applications is to complete and expand the audience base, offer additional services and expand brand awareness of the provider. In another direction are going applications that focus on additional content and fans interests. Accesses information from the broadcast backstage, portraits of actors, trailers, news from the private life of celebrities, all connected with social networks. Here remains DVB broadcasting as the main medium for watching the show, however the discussions, content searching and his commenting and browsing additional information is transferred to the mobile phones and applications on Smart TVs. And finally the third direction is then users access to the paid content – here is accent on image quality, easy browsing and finding movies, personalisation and security with DRM. An example might be a multimedia box AppleTV or applications available on multiple platforms such as Lovefilm, Voddler, Netflix or here Workload Voyou service provided by the company CME. It is essentially a shift of traditional DVDs and video stores on the Smart TVs screens. However the biggest difficulty remains the reluctance of many customers to pay for digital content that can be relatively easily and comfortably downloaded for free (although illegally) through the web stores. Transfer of payments for online streaming movies from traditional DVD and Blu-Ray discs is the inevitable process – an interesting statistic offers in this regard the United States, where this year the number of payed online movies exceeded the number of sale of physical medias.

Not only movie content...

A number of other applications targets televisions – while on the market for mobile applications has been for a long time true that for each activity can be found an app, this does not apply by far for applications for Smart TVs. There is still unutilised potential in this field and the situation is reminiscent of the period that preceded the start of application portals for mobile phones. Everything does seem to be a matter of a few years as it was in the case of the world of phones and tablets. Why not order a pizza while watching TV? Or why not to check the weather forecast, financial reports and traffic conditions before traveling or find the nearest bus service while watching TV? Everything is familiarly known from a web browser or mobile phone – but do we have such applications on our TV? Another type of applications that go on TVs represents displaying of status of so-called smart house. Central applications on television allow to control lighting, temperature, blinds, ventilation, doors or pool and security of your home, including an estimate of energy prices and proposals for possible savings. The author of the article is an employee of the company Mautilus. Translated version from COMPUTERWORLD article on Smart TV