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feature iptv/hybrid tv

It’s clear that by the end of 2010, the public and the industry will have woken up to a fact that many have known for a while: TV devices of all sorts will be connected to the Internet. TV is perhaps the last consumer electronics device to take the plunge into full IP connectivity. Mobile phones and portable games machines have had it for years. But now DVD players, HD set-top boxes, flat panel TVs and even Pay TV operators’ own devices are shipping with 100Mb/s Ethernet connectors, and the whole industry is waiting to see what user experience (UX) will result. Ian Valentine, founder & chief architect of Miniweb, reports.

Connected TV: user

experience rules

the ‘return path’ for years, but broadband connections will not make it ubiquitous and uniform. Every TV manufacturer is inventing some new ‘App Store’ model, incompatible with their competitors’ products, so each device type is likely to have a different range of interactive apps, each authored specifically for that device.

Sky in its R&D group, as we explored how broadband connections affect TV, and in continuing work at Miniweb, building a connected TV services platform.


What surprises many is that it’s not just about greater interactivity. Interactive TV has been the function of

32 l ibe l march/april 2010 l

ow will broadband connectivity change the TV experience? This is an area I have been working in for over five years, dating back to work at

Sophisticated recommendations such as

collaborative filtering become possible, but simple

recommendations are also valuable such as top rated, or simply last night’s TV.

Those of us who looked to standardise these environments have to admit we failed, and therefore in the foreseeable future the dream of advertisers and broadcasters creating interactive TV applications once, and deploying and running them seamlessly across multiple types of TV, is broadly gone. But in a broadband connected world, this does not matter, for the ‘killer app’ is not interactive. It is simply better TV. TV is all about media and

entertainment. In fact, the TV can be differentiated from the Web, with a simple statement of fact: TV is ‘entertainment first, interactivity

second’, while the Web is ‘interactivity first, entertainment second’. This paves the way for defining the Connected TV experience, for it’s not about integrating the interactive content from the Web into the TV experience (although this may be a secondary element), but rather integrating the media content available from the Internet into the TV experience, enhancing the entertainment value of TV. The Internet, with its efficient codecs, content delivery networks, and advanced streaming protocols is now ready to serve its media content directly to TV audiences. This explosion of content available to a Connected TV device is akin to the explosion of content that became available as TV devices moved from analogue to digital. At that time, viewers needed a new paradigm to navigate channels too numerous for simple channel numbers and channel up/down zapping. The Electronic Program Guide was born. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48
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