Connected TV sets continue to grow their share of the TV market, accounting for 39% of global volumes last year, which will rise to 87% by 2018.

Mr. Shyam Ananthanarayan, VP-Marketing , Product Engineering Business, Tata Elxsi
Mr. Shyam Ananthanarayan, VP-Marketing , Product Engineering Business, Tata Elxsi

From a passive, dumb device to a connected, intelligent, interactive home entertainment hub, TV technology has unquestionably come a long way in the recent past. But introduction of Connected TVs and more recent Smart TVs has brought a whole new dimension to the way Television has ever existed. Also, Connected TVs have greater potential to dramatically alter the role of traditional TV manufacturers in Content distribution & advertising via the ‘App’ experience. For instance, Tata Elxsi is one of the first companies to dedicate resources exclusively in this area, is the preferred vendor for app development for one of the leading connected device platforms viz. Panasonic VIErAConnectTM. Also, Tata Elxsi’s long-standing customer, a multibillion dollar giant Japanese original equipment manufacturer wanted to bring Indian local applications to their Connected TV platform. Tata Elxsi supported them by successfully handling marketing & development activities. Tata Elxsi has been successful in aggressively reaching out to content partners and bringing their applications on the TV platform with shorter time-to-market and minimizing the delay in partner’s response on technical and marketing related issues.

Interview with Mr. Shyam Ananthanarayan, VP-Marketing , Product Engineering Business, Tata Elxsi

1. Connected TV, what it means for customer? Can you detail the evolution of television industry?

It has been nearly a century since the birth of broadcasting. Amid the tremendous changes and innovation taking place in communications, the broadcasting and television industry will evolve and continue to play a critical role in bringing information and entertainment to all: to the rich and the poor; to rural communities and city dwellers; to viewers in their homes and on the move. Since, its invention in 1938, the year John Logie Baird had broadcast colour television signals for the first time in the history to the year 2014, television has evolved greatly to become more and more interactive and ‘smart’, both in terms of their design and performance. Today, if we look at the television industry globally and in India, one can see that televisions are becoming ‘smarter’ even as the displays get flatter. We have seen various era of television from white & black to colour TV, rise of cable television, the emergence of digital television and high definition television. The innovation and technology towards Television will continue to change and benefit consumers. Seven emerging trends that will have greater impact on the future of Television:

A)     Story telling will evolve to make better use of an omniplatform environment

B)      Ubiquitous screens will demand greater content mobility

C)      Social dynamics and synergistic experiences will drive more event based viewing

D)     Innovation in program discovery and television controls will drive new technique to cut through the clutter

E)      Bingeing will drive more innovation in measurement and personalization

F)      New entrants demanding unique content will drive innovation beyond the traditional studio system

G)     The day when apps will completely replace your TV channels is not far off. Driven by customer preference to view content that is not dictated by the network and proliferation of devices, television will evolve from being a mere directory to a search based content distribution medium. Consumers are increasingly expecting to watch TV content on their own terms. Network companies like ESPN, HBO and BBC have already spotted this trend and started to capitalize on it by introducing dedicated apps for their viewers

2. How it is gaining popularity in Indian Broadcast industry?

Connected TV has changed the content aggregation, delivery and consumption landscape bringing new players while changing consumption habits and expanding the consumer base to newer levels.  Connected devices like Boxee, Roku, Apple TV, Blu-ray players, Xbox and more recently Hybrid STBs reaped huge success as they enabled users to re-use existing TV sets (millions of HDTV set got sold with LCD, LED technology) with the power of  connected world.

Connected TV app stores are steadily growing and gaining popularity with TV manufacturers taking advantage of this shift by adding a layer of web-enhanced features to the traditional viewing experience and offerings. A growing market will slowly emerge for killer applications both freely downloadable and paid; enabling consumers to access on-demand and interactive content bundled with streaming capabilities for video, social networking, games, sports, news, lifestyle and more.

3. Can you discuss about technology overview of connected TV platform?

Connected TV is a television set or set-top box with integrated Internet and Web 2.0 features, and is an example of technological convergence between computers and television sets and set-top boxes. Connected TV device can also provide online interactive media, Internet TV, over-the-top content, as well as on-demand streaming media, and home networking access. The software that runs Connected TVs can be preloaded into the device, or updated or installed on demand via an app store or app marketplace, in a similar manner to how the Internet, Web widgets, and software applications.

The technology that enables Connected TVs is also incorporated in devices such as set-top boxes, digital media players, Blu-ray players, game consoles and other network connected interactive devices that utilize television type display outputs. These devices allow viewers to search, find and play videos, movies, photos and other content from the Web, on a cable TV channel, on a satellite TV channel or on a local storage drive.

4. Can we have the current market figure of connected TV users?

Connected TV sets continue to grow their share of the TV market, accounting for 39% of global volumes last year, which will rise to 87% by 2018, with vendors integrating the technology further into their product line-ups in order to maximise consumer uptake of the associated connected services according to reports from Futuresource Consulting. According to Digital TV Research, there will be more than 759 million televisions connected to the Internet worldwide by 2018. (Source link; Source link)

5. What are the benefits it offers to customers? What are the applications?

Consumer interest in television sets is reaching historic highs as they have more and more ways to benefit from TV set technology.Connected TV users are generally satisfied with the video content they find on the Internet to fuel their online viewing, and they are actually more satisfied with the movies and TV shows they find online than they are with the viewing options found on Video On Demand offerings from cable and satellite providers. As a result, the momentum for growth in Internet to TV-based video viewing is also significant. Some of features offering benefits to customers are:

Streaming Video: With most other TVs, users have to stream the content through a Roku box, Blu-Ray player, or video game system. Streaming video and other media is the main key features of Connected TV.

Social Media Content: Connected TVs will have access to different applications right on the television including apps for social media sites like facebook etc. Additionally, users can view slideshows through their Picasa or Flickr accounts and look at the images with the brilliant colors and clarity that only an HDTV can offer.

Web Browsing: Connected TVs offer the benefits of Web browsing. Some televisions, like the Sony Internet-ready TV with Google TV, allow users to surf the web and do quick Google searches.

Wireless Keyboard and Mouse: Connected TVs are controlled by their remote controls, but those that have full access to the Internet may have a wireless keyboard and mouse included. If not, some can be connected to a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse.

Some of the Connected TV apps are Automobile news, photos, reviews, Travel, Local language apps, Property (Real estate) and Games – Cricket, Bowling, Memory.

6. What opportunities it offers to embedded design industry players?

At a holistic level, Connected TV is a concept that is driven by high technology innovations. These innovations drive the Connected TV into areas of technology convergence that could have not been possible earlier. We see the Connected TV touching multiple fronts where embedded design industry players could contribute hugely. Right from semiconductor manufacturers creating customized semiconductor designs for the new-era computing, OEMs enabling middleware for the Connected TV’s, as well as operators willing to customize software for a better user experiences with Connected TV, we see opportunities across the ecosystem. In the future, standardization of Connected TV platforms will bring opportunities for app development and converged technology.

7. What is Tata Elxsi role in offering connected TV platform? What are your products benefits?

The digital future ahead is changing the media and technology landscape. As we enter the era where the global reach of connected TVs might overtake traditional cable and satellite broadcast, Tata Elxsi combines creativity and innovation to create user friendly apps on multiple devices and platforms, whether harnessing the power of social media, mobile, interactive experiences or cross-platform digital content creation.

Tata Elxsi is one of the first companies to dedicate resources exclusively in this area, is the preferred vendor for app development for one of the leading connected device platforms viz. Panasonic VIErAConnectTM. Also, Tata Elxsi’s long-standing customer, a multibillion dollar giant Japanese original equipment manufacturer wanted to bring Indian local applications to their Connected TV platform. Tata Elxsi supported them by successfully handling marketing & development activities. Tata Elxsi has been successful in aggressively reaching out to content partners and bringing their applications on the TV platform with shorter time-to-market and minimizing the delay in partner’s response on technical and marketing related issues.

Some of benefits & solutions offered by Tata Elxsi are;

  • Developed and launched 40+ applications for Indian and Global market
  • Applications launched under diverse portfolios like VoD, Music, news, social media, sports, infotainment, E-commerce etc.
  • Design and Engineering under one umbrella shortening time to market
  • Development of Connected TV apps with innovative User Experience (UX)

Tata Elxsi also been working on various application development platforms offering to help their app available on multi-screen platforms like Set-Top Boxes, Connected TVs, Smart phones and Tablets (iOS, Android, Windows etc.), Media Players (Roku, Boxee etc.), HTML-5, Microsoft Silverlight etc. Some of them mentioned below.

  • Video On Demand
  • Health & Fitness
  • News & Finance
  • Movie news, reviews
  • Sports
  • City information & Travel

 8. What is the current and emerging platforms to support connected TV?

Currently, there are both standard and proprietary platforms that are available. HbbTV,

Tru2way are some of the commonly supported standard platforms. Almost every TV vendor has their own platforms for Connected TV. . Most of the proprietary TV vendors expose their SDK for app development. Newer platforms such as Android TV are expected to open up the app ecosystem for connected TV and devices.

9. Can you discuss any opportunities you unveiled for this platform?

Tata Elxsi has been working on various application development platforms. We offer to help the app available on multi-screen platforms like Set-Top Boxes, Connected TVs, Smart phones and Tablets (iOS, Android, Windows etc.), Media Players (Roku, Boxee etc.), HTML-5, Microsoft Silverlight etc.

We are currently associated with App development on Connected TVs with Panasonic whom we have been partners with since launch, EBIF apps with a major vendor in North America, Testing & Deployment of next generation EPG for a large US based MSO etc]

10. What do you think about its near future landscape?

Higher levels of technology convergence and proliferation of mobile computing platforms would make Connected TV the center of interactivity and the communication hub for the home. Cloud computing will also play a major role in accelerating the pace of connected devices to the TV.

11. Would you like to comment on challenges?

 The major challenge is on the monetization of applications on the Connected TV platform for the content owners. Tracking ARPU increases across the connected TV applications is one of the major challenges faced by connected TV platforms tied to operators. As of now, it has been difficult to quantify the value of Connected TV realized by consumers. Tata Elxsi has been successful in aggressively reaching out to content partners and bringing their applications on the TV platform with shorter time-to-market and minimizing the delay in partner’s response on technical and marketing related issues.

 

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