Powerbud (A consumer) – You touched on something very quickly that I, as a consumer and owner of a “SmartTV” would like to offer one (mine) opinion on. Your industry seems to be rocketing towards the likes of the stereotypical used car salesman approach to hawking their wares. What the mfr’s seem to be doing is fabricating meaningless “features” in order to B.S. potential buyers into purchasing their specific brand. Let’s reference “refresh rates” for instance. How many of the so-called “major” brands now have their own terminology that they’ve fabricated with their sales pitch that every other brands terminology, or even “Hz” as being inaccurate? Answer: All of them. I happen to have a Vizio. I watch sports a lot which needs a fast refresh rate to reduce blur of the moving objects. Vizio isn’t the only guilty manufacturer who fabricated their own term “SPS” to fool buyers into thinking they’re getting something they’re not. And I fell for it. Sony does it, Panasonic, all of them. The industry as a whole is turning into a band of snake oil salesmen and they’re puzzled when we don’t buy their latest song and dance about what their tv does. The only thing that surprises me, is that people like you and the so-called “industry experts”, marketing and sales exec’s at the manufacturers still seem to believe that you know better what I want than I do as a buyer/consumer. It’s not rocket science as they say. I want a tv that I can view all sorts of images on, easily, without annoying and constant SW updates to be downloaded every time I turn the thing on. I want it to last for more than a couple years; I want a live person who speaks English fluently when I call Tech Spt. Those are the basics, but surprisingly few tv manufacturers seem to grasp these basic consumer needs. I recently bought a smaller tv for my bedroom. It’s an LG, 32″, 60hz, 720p. It actually starts up in a 5th of the time that my 47″ Vizio does and I can’t tell the difference between Vizio’s 240 “SPS” and LG’s 60Hz refresh rates. That tells me that SPS is nothing more than B.S., just like Sony’s version or anybody else’s version for refresh rate measurements. So, if I don’t TRUST the company making the product, why would I care who makes it?
Your industry keeps pumping out stuff that most people don’t care about, but their response is always the same: The consumer doesn’t know what they want, so we have to tell them. No, we know what we want. Your industry just seems unwilling or incapable of hearing or understanding their (potential) customer base.
(My Response) – Dear PowerBud – I am really glad to hear from someone who is not specifically a TV technology evangelist, as in most TV debates or forums they normally are of course. It is nice to get something clear and direct and I sympathise with you. I sympathise with you because I am both a TV technologist and a Consumer and am, in fact, a victim of the hype and bluff and bluster surrounding CE TV manufacturing. I need a new TV and I am reluctant to buy anything at the moment because of the many things that you raise. Actually we have ‘Gadgets’ across the board that are sold to us everyday that have little or no real benefit to those we are actually replacing. Look at the iPhone and Android fiasco and the mountains of perfectly usable tablets & phones we discard on a daily basis…Alas this is consumerism.
All CE Companies saw TV arrive at a plateau – Black & White, Colour, SD, HD, then…..3D and now… SmartTV…to which they added CE TV Portals and only Fragmentation and False Promises. They are creating hype in order to sell and yes in many instances it is feature-sets that cannot be classified as a major shift in technology – it is just new icing on the same cake. I certainly have been trying to moderate in our TV world and have blogged negatively about the fluff that the TV industry puts out…I was called “Ant the Rant” by a Trade Journalist for a while as my opinions were all contrary to those that hype up out TV Technology land…i.e. 3D was my pet hate – I blogged against it for years and was even close to the main protagonists but they drove it forward relentlessly. It is a failure and should not be sold in my humble opinion but it is being forced upon us. (my blog is at http://www.tvangelist.wordpress.com).
So right now the CE Manufacturers are straddled across the traditional Broadcast World of TV (Cable, Satellite, Terrestrial & IPTV) and the Over The Top World of TV (WebTV, InternetTV, IPTV, OTT). You might notice that IPTV features in both sections because they are moving from Broadcasting to Delivery of OTT content which is different) – The whole world of TV Technologists are paid to make the business turn and at the moment it is around Smart TVs, Portals, Apps and the belief that the TV will act as the Funnel of all things TV entertainment onto your average 36″ screen via the internet. (That is the average screen size sold in most of the world). The Consumer world of Retail TV is fragmented, confused and in a very ragged state that is not good for the consumer that is certain. On the other hand a good PayTV Operator who gets the hybrid mix right will certainly offer you a great service at reasonable costs, they will be responsible for Quality of Service and Provision but they will not please all the people all the time.
There has been quite a few initiatives around the Open Source aspect for Software in the Digital TV domain. Open Source is not Standardisation but in effect it is, if it becomes ubiquitous.
The lowest common denominator for the software is a decent OS stack and Engine. Canonical has the foundation upon which to build an Open Source model for the TV industry. Will ‘people’ allow that to happen? That all depends on the age old problem of ‘politics’.
If you use ONLY targeted advertising gauged to a persons preferences, likes, dislikes and viewing or surfing habits you will kill advertising.
There has to be a blend of old traditional brain washing and targeted.
If I have purchased a Floor Polisher I dont need targeted Floor Polisher ads…you all say wax, wax, wax – yes perhaps; if I used wax that is! What if I buy for someone else…I dont need the wax the other person does – how do you know I purchased – the advertisers DON’T – there is another flaw!
I recently looked at a vintage Mercedes Minibus and now I get Mercedes trying to entice me into buying or testing a new expensive Mercedes- Irrelevant, annoying and a waste of Digital Marketing time, effort and money. Citroen is doing the same…the van I bought (in a breakers yard) for cash cost 1,500 Euros…nobody in ‘advertising land’ can ever know that…get my point?
Now I want to surf for something where the follow-up is less annoying but I can’t think of anything except an ‘Ad Blocker’ Software.
Fluxx Connected TV White Paper (link below) is a supposed guide that explains how the industry can solve the Connected-Companion Screen buiness. Page 18 highlights exactly why there is a problem and does not give a credible solution, it merely points out technologies and what technology punters need to marry, fix or invent. For example the IPG – OK an IPG and Search – Which IPG, Which Search Engine there are lots of them and they are all different and they all claim to do the job! The UI/UX has been the fight of 2011 with NDS, TIVO, Inview, Espial, and many others all claiming they have the best system. A one size fits all is what is needed – harmonised, standardised system…but human beings will never allow that to happen. You can have any colour you want sir as long as it is black! Hahah!
I have been in Interactive Digital TV since 2000 and the Future of TV has little to do with the TV technology industry but more to do with the people working in this industry and their inate inability to work together for the good of the industry and the consumer. I have seen many a company representative overly complicate initiatives, work negatively in consortia so that initiatives fail, create situations that inhibit harmonisation, becasue they have a proprietary solution or preferred partner that they want to sell ahead of all others…and I have seen corporations get greedy when it comes to IPR and obtaining their slice of the pie to the detriment of these harmonisation initiatives. All the available technologies are iready for today’s successful interactive, 2nd screen market, however people are unable to make it happen. CE Manufaturers want to go it alone, Broadcasters want to go it alone, Operators want to control it all, Vendors believe they have the winning technology, Programme makers and Advertisers are lcaught in the quagmire of technology gurus all claiming they have the answer.
The Interactive Companion Screen jigsaw is being put together by people who are blinkered by their company loyalty. Only an independent, neutral technology body could ever harmonise the future of TV. If we can align the people we can create the environment and head in the right direction with the right technology. The latest round of attempts with Tablets and Smart-phones interactivity are failing miserably as everyone invents a new mousetrap and the interactive TV mess repeats itself once again…this is one phrase fluxx managed to get spot on.
What is likely to happen is that a dominat force a lot like Apple will be selected over all others as happened in the digital Music industry download debacle. However it may be someone unexpected such as Intel Media who are gathering the right minds to put the right strategy together for this particularly complex subject.
Broadcasters and Operators can gain HUGE Savings in CAPEX and OPEX with Companion Screen Interactivity
This is one of the best articles I have read on the trials and tribulations of the 2nd Screen-Companion Screen and their role in Television interactivity. As you might know I am a confirmed Interactive TV enthusiast, having been in this industry sector since its very early days. The main dificulty in Interactive TV has always been the ROI. How do you make money at it? For the Broadcaster and Operator it is fast becoming more and more clear, but they have to change their thinking with respect to this area of Television and embrace a change in direction. Why? Cost Saving without cutting head-count, service reduction can be achieved and an actual revenue generating service can be implemented. This makes sense for the long term financial health of teh Broadcasters & Operators. Companion Screen Interactivity (SaaS based) is a natural CAPEX/OPEX ‘cost-saving’ exercise. We know that Embedded Middleware in STBs and TVs is a very costly exercise for advanced services and interactivity. It is costly to License – Implement – Test – Run a Back Office and Pay to have Applications developed. It needs constant Software Support and there are, in the main, run-time costs associated with most Middleware systems. It is fragmented! For the Broadcaster/Operator Interactive TV OPEX (SaaS model) can be amortised against the TV-Everywhere/Catch-Up Services Infrastructure already in place. It makes sense to move to a SaaS based service as the Companion Screens are bought by the Consumer not by the Broadcaster/Operator. STBs and TVs can also be cost reduced as they will require less intelligence. Apps are/can be/will be downloaded for free. Advertisers, Programme makers and the Channels can exploit this synchronised, always connected 2nd Screen in the home. There may well be dedicated TV+Companion Screen sales at CE level in the future. Although this will take time to evolve as a market I believe it is a natural path for Interactive Services. Please read the Article linked below to get a good overview of the already fragmented market, the dificult marriage of many players and the reluctance of the Broadcasters/Operators who have not seen the obvious route they should be taking.
How difficult is the business of Digital STB/iTV middleware? How many attempts have there been to create a long-term sustainable business in this field, only for it to fail? Middleware is expensive, requires huge engineering resources, long implementation cycles, onerous testing and in-field evaluation. This makes middleware a difficult sell into the market because apart from any technical requirements there are many other players in the value chain that need to align beforefore there is any deployment and ultimately a middleware success.
Whilst this is the case, since TV went Digital, it has not stopped companies trying to make big business in this market segment. Since the 90′s many companies reached a certain maturity; their Middleware tenacity paid dividends and they seemed to be on the crest of a wave – then Kaboom! It was all over. This has been due to, in the main, a technology or market requirement change. In fact the Television Middleware market has seen a lot of these changes over the years with a plethora of new technologies appearing every few years. Embedded technologies such as MHEG5, PowerTV, Liberate, MicrosoftTV, OpenTV, Mediahighway, MHP, OCAP, ACAP, GINGA, EBIF, On-RAMP, Tivo, Moxi, GEM, HbbTV, Flash, HTML5 and others have all been put through their paces, struggled and have either failed or have been ousted by another. The Broadcast/Operator Markets get bored with middleware after a few years. Naturally new software and services evolve, new companies emerge in the form of young, hungry and agile businesses that are able to distract those middleware customers. The latest is SECOND SCREEN/COMPANION SCREEN and the CLOUD interactivity which is a cheaper ‘non-embedded’ solution much more favourable in terms of CAPEX & OPEX considering many Broadcasters and Operators already have On-Line services as part of their business today. However, once again alignment of many players is going to be the key to its success.
For those Middleware Companies who have not invested and merely followed the trends see their failure to innovate shrink back their business opportunities quickly. They fall behind by selling their Slideware. The answer is really quite simple and that is to have an innovation team in place, but this rarely happens if there is weak management in place. A significant disruptive issue is that the cost level of new-software royalties demanded by new players is radically changed downward and the middleware business teams start to feel the pressure. As the Business Development manager presents this market issue to a bemused Senior Management team he is told that He and Sales must sell what they have and stop complaining about the company portfolio! The deals actually slow down then the actual customers you have play with this market phenomena working you harder for less money. It is brutal! I have lived it twice now! The following is a list of things that happen when weak management fails to innovate…
- Management starts to bury its head in the sand, blaming the workers on the coal-face for lack of sales
- You are forced to focus on short-term results which drives out all ideas that take longer to mature.
- Changing a new technology direction evokes fear of cannibalisation of current business and this fundamentally prevents investment in new areas.
- Most of your resources are devoted to ‘day-to-day’ business so that few if none exist for innovative prospects.
- Innovation becomes someone else’s job and not part of everyone’s responsibility.
- Ideas are often quashed as outlandish and there is a retrenching by the old guard of the company.
- An efficiency focus eliminates free time for any fresh thinking.
- There is an avoidance of responsibility and therefore no process to nurture the development of new ideas.
- We look internally as we panic rather than starting with the market changes and customers’ needs and problems
- Try to sell people technology that you have, which is not what the customer wants so they go to your competitor.
- All incentives are geared towards maximizing the present business and reducing risk although it is not possible.
- Senior managers immediately look for the flaws in new ideas rather than teasing out their potential
- Budgets are squeezed, marketing is reduced, cost cutting is the answer.
- You start to sell what the customers want to hear; it become Slideware selling.
- You can excite the market but cannot deliver the technology in the time-frame required.
- Competitors overtake you, squeezing you out of new deals.
- When you do finally have the technology it is too late as the market has already chosen.
- The managers that speak up and highlight the inneficiencies are quashed and replaced with yes-men.
- The company struggles and the inevitable happens.
Rabbit TV Blows by Netflix, Hulu and Other Internet TV Leaders
In it’s first 30 days, it’s apparent that Rabbit TV is definitely in the Internet TV race – so much so that it’s already surpassed the top 2 leading Internet TV sites in User Time on Site.
Newly released Rabbit TV is fast out of the gate, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The only question is – will others like Hulu and Netflix be able to keep pace as Rabbit TV adds millions of subscribers in the coming year?
Rabbit TV’s partnership with “As Seen on TV” giants Telebrands and their massive national retail network has Rabbit TV shipping out currently to major retailers around the country, including Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Family/Dollar General to name a few.
Having only launched in January 2013, the company in the most recent days has shared that over 50% of its users are already spending more than an hour per visit, and sees this increasing dramatically as the company’s user-base compounds daily with new subscribers, says CEO William Mobley. Mobley goes on to say that the company’s eMedia guide, which manages and directs consumers to thousands of Internet TV content suppliers, is extremely popular with its subscribers, which reflects widespread acceptance of a shift whereby TV shows, movies and live events are, and will be delivered over the Internet for many years to come.
Study Says Twitter Is Fastest-Growing Social Platform in the World http://mashable.com/2013/01/29/twitter-fastest-growing-social-platform/ via @mashable
It was quite a few years ago now since I worked at a Polish Tech Company who had already designed a PAD with Windows on it (was early 2000s). It was always considered innovative by us but just a skunk RnD project. After all it would never take off now would it – who wants to use a device like that we said - Years later we have Tablets a go-go and here is a full review and worth looking at http://tablets-review.toptenreviews.com/