New York -
The marketplace for televisions and mobile devices with internet capabilities -
or "connected" devices - is booming; by 2015 the amount of consumers
with a connected device will triple.
With that comes numerous opportunities for ways of receiving content, changing
the viewing landscape, according to the "Devices, Delivery and the
Down-and-Dirty Truth" panel at B&C/MCN/TWICE/TV
Technology's Connected TV and 3D: Supplying the Demand event on
Tuesday at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
"Ultimately the viewer is the really big winner," said Hans
Deutmeyer, VP of HBOGo. Deutmeyer argues that cable and satellite providers
should not view services like HBOGo, which allows subscribers to view HBO
content on their mobile devices such as iPads, as the enemy. Instead, Deutmeyer
says that the HBOGo service will help providers, because it adds value to the
HBO subscription. "It really is a great retention tool for us," he
Tara Maitra, SVP/GM, content and media sales, TiVo - which premiered Hulu Plus on Tivo Premiere DVRs this week - says that content players are also huge winners, since their content is becoming easier to find. However, she states that some providers, who like to
act as "gatekeepers" to their content are finding it difficult to
keep those walls up. "Internet connected TVs break down those
[walls]," said Maitra.
Richard Bullwinkle, chief evangelist for Rovi Corp., which produces much of the
technology that connected devices - namely Samsung - use, says the key is to
get the cable and satellite providers to understand how the service works.
"We are now in a world where consumers set the use cases," said
Bullwinkle. "It's no longer us sitting in a lab and saying 'what can we
create that consumers might want?'" He comments that service providers
need to understand that connected devices and services, like HBOGo, are not
there to replace them but to enhance the viewer's experience.
Mark Sokol, EVP, marketing and business development, NeuLion, on the other
hand, sees a shift in how certain things, such as live events, will be viewed
by the audience. NeuLion is the exclusive streaming provider for the NHL, and
provides streams for the NFL, NBA and UFC as well. Sokol argues that in the
realm of live sports, the streaming experience far exceeds what broadcast
television provides. "They [viewers] want multiple cameras, they want the
ability to have these multiple audio feeds, they want the ability to vote and
judge the fight by themselves and interact with Twitter," said Sokol.
"All of this is only available when you have an internet-connected
television set." Sokol believes that connected television will become the
de facto method of viewing live sporting events.
Bullwinkle countered that while connected mobile devices such as iPads and tablets
are well-received by the public, interactive television is not, because mobile
devices are a more personal experience while the tube is still considered a
more communal one. Bullwinkle states that the interfaces on televisions are
usually more confusing compared to the more simplistic ones on mobile devices.
Maitra commented that TiVo's iPad app is meant to aid television watching, and
makes viewing a "two-screen experience."
Deutmeyer said that his company's HBOGo service gives viewers many options that
previously were not available. "There are just a lot of different ways
that people want to consume content," said Deutmeyer. "Where they
watch HBO is really kind of up to them."
The panel all agreed on one thing: Today's viewers have many more options for
how they want to receive their content, and the connected devices industry is
finding new and better ways to provide that.
"I don't care what channel my show is [on], I just care about the
show," said Bullwinkle.