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Bob Perez, sales and marketing manager at IMS Conferences – a branch of IMS Research, argues that while content hubs such as Google TV and AppleTV have a chance to revolutionise the way people watch television, there is still work to do before such services can become ubiquitous… 

The DVR changed the way people watched TV forever by freeing consumers from the prime-time prison that was their couch, and allowing them to watch TV on their own terms.

In the decade since the DVR’s introduction, we have seen a massive amount of content make its way online through services like Netflix, Hulu, iTunes & Amazon as well as network television websites. In addition, services such as ESPN3.com, MLB.tv & NHL Gamecenter now give sports fans the ability to watch their favourite teams live over the internet.

Consumers are now not only using the internet to access the traditional content they want, when they want, but also to find new and exclusive online-only content. However, the problem with most of these services is that there has not been a simple and effective way to stream such content to the living room.

Enter the Content Hub…
Content hubs such as AppleTV, Google TV, Roku, Boxee and many more all provide ways to seamlessly integrate online content into the consumer’s home entertainment centre. Not only that, both Apple & Google have announced that some version of the App Store and Android Market will be available on their respective devices.

These content hubs have a chance to revolutionise the way people watch TV, and have the potential to radically shake up the television industry. However, there is still work to do before such services can become ubiquitous.

For example, the expectation that a typical consumer’s demand for IP-delivered services will require 60-100Mbps is forcing operators to look at creative solutions to deal with the massive increase in data traffic. Then, as these delivery issues are resolved and the QoE for non-managed IP video improves, the eventual success or failure of these OTT services will come down to the aggregator business model, service flexibility, functionality and price of the supporting device.

IMS Conferences runs the TV 3.0 – Innovations in TV & Content Delivery Conference, which takes place in Los Angeles from 7-8 December.