Driving Connected TV Adoption through Sophisticated Simplicity
Panasonic, Samsung, Google, Apple and Microsoft. All are big names in the technology industry and all are betting on Connected TV to provide a big, future revenue stream through over-the-top (OTT) video. So what is OTT? It is simply the consumption of video resources over the Internet to TVs and other devices as opposed to traditional over-the-air, satellite and cable sources. Recently, Google announced that they were working on revamping their YouTube site by adding a set of “channels” around specific topics like sports. Also, they are planning to spend almost $100 million to fund content development designed exclusively for Internet delivery.
What about Features, Functions & Benefits?
At NAB 2011 in Las Vegas last week, there was a lot of discussion about various technologies and architectures. Do I have the “Connected” in the TV from the likes of Panasonic, LG and Samsung? Or do I have the “Connected” in a separate device from the likes of Apple, Google, Boxee and TiVo? Or do I have the “Connected” in a gaming system like Wii or XBOX 360? Or maybe it is a new “Connected” set-top box from a cable or satellite TV provider such as Comcast, DirecTV and others? Other discussions revolve around where does the content reside…locally or in the cloud? Do I control the ecosystem like Apple or do I have a more open system that plays well with Netflix, Hulu, etc.
Of course, the correct answer is all of the above since there will be consumers that will want to buy in various ways. The real question is how do you accelerate the current slow adoption of “Connected TV”? From a recent WSJ article, according to Nielsen Media and comScore, in February 2011, Netflix had only 24 million unique visitors spending a little over 9 hours viewing content. That is just a small part of a potential huge TV viewing public.
Unfortunately, there are challenges to making widespread adoption a reality and it comes down to Features, Functions & Benefits…in short, the delivery of advanced features with simple function for a compelling benefit. And, by the way, everyone in the ecosystem needs to make a fair living at it.
Unlike the transition from standard definition to high-definition TVs – where you literally could see what you were going to get, the value of Connected TV is harder to “see” for the consumers. Simply recreating the web-surfing experience on a TV is asking the consumer to change their passive viewing behaviors for limited return. Connected TV needs to provide more advanced interactivity features and applications that can exceed the current TV viewing and web experiences. Moreover, consumers want more premium content to view in a timelier manner. Finally, none of this matters if the user interface is clunky and confusing.
Simplicity Requires Sophistication
When you are competing against the simplicity of the power and channel buttons of the almighty remote, simplicity rules. To make an electronic programming guide that can offer superior interactivity, internet-based applications and easy access to protected content, simplicity requires sophistication. By removing the complexity from the viewer, you place it into the device requiring a higher level of software sophistication.
From an embedded systems perspective, it means faster, bigger and more secure storage in the devices. Speed and size is imperative to maintaining the user experience and security is important to prevent unauthorized access to content. Spansion is committed to providing current and future solutions to meet these needs. For example, our Spansion GL-S NOR Flash memory family has a large 1024Kb secure silicon sector to allow device manufacturers to have a protected, unhackable area for their IP and rights management access codes. And, Spansion’s MirrorBit® charge trapping process technology enables new milestones in cost-effective, high capacity and superior performing flash memory.
In the end, what these new “Connected Devices” will look like remains to be seen. Today, the cable and satellite operators provide the access to premium content and are innovating in their own way to ensure people connect with it. From allowing you to start a program in one room and pause and finish in another, to viewing On Demand titles from a mobile device, the accessibility of content will only increase. As the “Connected Devices” become more sophisticated and provide a compelling benefit to the consumers while creating a valid business model to the content providers, widespread adoption will only increase.