The smart TV landscape is highly fragmented.
In most cases, manufacturers like Samsung and Vizio use their own proprietary operating systems and software development environments, and much like Apple TV does, strike specific deals with content providers on a case-by-case basis.
HTML5 allows developers to deploy their applications across a number of proprietary operating systems without significant modification.
LG recently announced that it had overhauled its Linux-based WebOS platform for smart TVs so that it now comes pre-installed with a number of popular streaming apps and provides developers with an accessible HTML5-based development environment. Other manufactures may adopt LG’s focus on open standards in future iterations of their smart TV operating systems. Google’s Chromecast device also allows for HTML5 use in loading and delivering streaming content.
If more platform operators use HTML5, it will be much easier for developers to create apps that work across all smart TV brands.
In the BI Intelligence report, we look at the connected TV landscape, analysing the factors, trends, and key players that are shaping the market. We closely examine the competing open and closed platform paradigms that are vying to define how we watch TV, and how these differing approaches may ultimately play out in the market.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
- Streaming devices currently comprise the majority of connected TVs. But we believe that distribution will shift to smart TVs, as prices decrease and the television upgrade cycle shortens.
- Apple TV and Roku hold the largest market share for streaming devices, but Chromecast, which Google released last summer, has also achieved stellar sales numbers. Market research data shows that 8 million Apple TVs and 4.5 million Rokus shipped in 2013 in the U.S.
- Smart TVs will account for the majority of television shipments by 2014. By 2015, more households will have smart TV than connected TVs.
- On both streaming devices and smart TVs there is a division between open and closed platforms. Chromecast, LG, and Roku have embraced open platforms that allow developers a great deal of freedom to develop apps for their devices. Samsung, Apple, and others are betting on closed ecosystems, which follow a more careful curatorial approach.
- Despite platform fragmentation, HTML5 offers at least a faint hope for increased unification between connected TVs, just as it does on mobile. LG and Chromecast have integrated it into their connected TV development environments.
- How will developers and operating system operators monetise smart TV apps? Media downloads, subscriptions and — to a much lesser degree — advertisements will drive the dollars. Smart TV platform operators have begun experimenting with ads.
- Changes to the pay TV industry, namely cable and satellite providers, will also have a huge impact on the future of connected TV. It’s now an open question as to how — and how effectively — cable providers will use their power to shape the future of connected TV.
In full, the report:
- Outlines the connected TV landscape as it stands today and how it will change in the near future.
- Highlights the key players, platforms, and devices that are shaping the connected TV market.
- Looks at the latest streaming devices to come to market and how each has altered the TV landscape.
- Projects the trajectory for smart TV shipments and the tension among smart TV manufacturers between an open and closed platform approach.
- Analyses the relationship between connected TV and the pay TV industry, and how it will evolve in the future.
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