Platforms not services to rule connected home

Online TV revenues to double in five years

Platforms that aggregate services rather than any individual device will play the most important role in the connected home over the next five years. Research released by analyst house Informa Telecoms & Media this week predicts that as yet unreleased platforms like HbbTV, Project Canvas and Google TV will play a significant part in the future of the connected home.

Although certain device-centric strategies like Microsoft’s Xbox 360 have already gained some traction in the battle to control the living room, Informa believes that platforms like Google TV and HbbTV, with expected high penetration rates, services from numerous third parties, as well as significant resources behind them are the likely winners in the connected home.

No single device or manufacturer will dominate the connected home, with closely fought competition expected between several key players. And while Google TV is likely to be a compelling service, it is with some provisos. Informa analyst Andrew Ladbrook expects that asking users to search the TV with a keyboard “Will require huge changes in user behaviour and could dampen its mass-market appeal.” While secondly, Google’s relationships with content providers needs to improve, though this will not be a problem if content providers see Google TV as a way for them to make money from online video, Ladbrook said.

“The launch of Google TV in the US in the coming weeks as well as Canvas and HbbTV in Europe next year, means that consumer choice of on-line video in the living room will be vastly greater than ever before.

“The idea that the device manufacturers will be able to control the connected home is just not realistic. Consumers want choice which means being able to watch a wide range of content. The notion the content is confined to one device goes against this,” Ladbrook said.

Get more information on Informa’s research on the connected home

“Some players have tried to use their devices as Trojan horses to gain a foothold within the living room and become the gateway of the connected home. As part of this strategy, devices were launched that did not support third-party services but rather promoted their own, device-specific, video stores or services. This approach has by and large failed to impress users and usage has been limited,” Ladbrook added.

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