CE Manufacturers and iTV
Press Day was packed with press events by the large CE manufacturers. In the midst of corporate big wigs, soccer stars and Justin Timberlake, I learned more about where CE manufacturers are headed in terms of their interactive television strategies.
- Feature sets trump size: Remember the screen size wars? Peace reigns. Rather CE manufacturers are going after features. Think of the transition that computers made over the past 20 years: we bought based on processor speed and hard drive size but now look for a feature set that best matches our needs. Ditto with TVs. Interactivity is high on the feature list.
- Connected TVs now in the majority: LG announced that half its models will feature both Smart TV technology and Cinema 3D while Panasonic stated that 90% of its 2012 TV line-up will be connected (branded VIERA Connect). Both trumpeted improved browser experiences, new content partners, social TV and enhanced search as key consumer benefits. More below.
- Content drives feature usage and thus demand: Whether it's 3D programming or connected TVs, these manufacturers know that without content, a cool feature just isn't so cool. The press events were replete with content partnership announcements. See details on Panasonic below. These partnerships are a combination of portals and content providers so the mix is still in flux. Who do you think will win? Google TV anyone?
- Focus on better user interfaces: With all these new opportunities to connect, viewers are easily overwhelmed. While I haven't had an opportunity yet to check out the UIs, the manufacturers worked overtime to emphasize their intuitiveness.
- 3D is here to stay but so too are glasses (for now): It's tough to juggle your iPad dual screen experience with special glasses. But there are glimmers of a glasses-less future with mobile phone and laptop 3D announcements that don't require special glasses. For 3D not to inhibit iTV, we need to ditch the glasses.
Connected TV Details
To give you a better sense of these connected TV partnerships, here are new app and partnership details from Panasonic's VIERA Connect courtesy of their press kit:
- Myspace TV – Makes the television experience social, putting viewers in control by allowing them to discover, share and comment on their favorite television programs virtually. Music-focused, leveraging Myspace’s unparalleled music rights and leading library of 100,000 music videos and 42 million songs. (See above screen shot.)
- Disney Publishing Worldwide – Access to a library of interactive stories and comics featuring Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, and more.
- YouTube™on TV – New UI and redesign with full access to the YouTube user experience previously enjoyed only via the web.
- Flixster - Movies and TV shows stored in the cloud streamed directly.
- Miramax – Access critically-acclaimed films. Social features such as clip sharing, games, and bonus content.
- HSN Shop by Remote® - Browse and shop from thousands of brand name products.
- SnagFilms – Hundreds of movies, on demand, for free, from SnagFilms' acclaimed library of independent films.
- Web Browser – Optimized-for-TV web browser.
- VIERA Remote App Version 2.0 – The VIERA Remote App lets you use a smartphone or tablet device as a remote control.
- Expanded Social Network TV - Skype – Watch live TV while also using the VIERA Connect Skype video calling feature in a split screen format.
- TV.com – Search and recommendations feature.
- Ooyala – Enable video publishers to easily reach viewing audiences through the platform.
- Brightcove – Integrate with Brightcove Video Cloud online video platform.
Will Keller, President, Interactive TV Commerce, is the go-to expert for t-commerce sales strategy and execution. For more iTV insights, subscribe to Inside the Screen or follow him @iTVcommerce.