Connected TV puts 3D to shame

James Cameron and other industry shills want you to believe that 3D is the future of entertainment. But as we all know, mainstream adoption of 3D television has been painfully slow.

In contrast, sales of connected TVs are reaching new heights, with shipments on track to hit 40 million units in 2010 and 118 million in 2014.

Connected TV set manufacturers are also developing new service platforms, while a number of broadcasters launched their own standards and portals this quarter, such as Hbb.TV and YouView.

“It’s an exciting time for the connected TV sector,” Paul Gray, DisplaySearch Director of European TV Research, told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

“It’s a battleground where TV set makers, internet video companies, free-to-air broadcasters, pay-TV and the IT industry are all rushing to stake their claims. IPTV is [clearly] moving from being a technology to becoming recognizable service offerings.”

However, despite the growth of the connected TV segment, no clear front-runner has emerged.

“It [certainly] has been a long, challenging journey so far, especially with new competitors like Google TV joining the battle. Set makers will have to acquire new skills such as negotiating content deals in order to succeed. 

“I think most of the TV supply chain senses that this is a seismic shift in the usage of TV that will be far more significant than 3D, which will not alter TV function or usage patterns.”

According to Gray, the connected TV market is likely to split into two distinct categories, with basic sets carrying enhanced services such as Hbb.TV, YouView and VuDu.

Meanwhile, smart TV systems will offer configurable apps, sophisticated search, navigation engines, and advanced user interfaces.

“[We have] defined a smart TV as one that can retrieve content from beyond walled gardens, has intelligent search and recommendation, is upgradeable by its owner, and is able to network seamlessly with other devices in the home,” he added.