Companies introducing new technologies are moving at break-neck speeds as evidenced at the 2011 International CES Show in Las Vegas this past week. With a momentum promising to virtually eliminate STB’s (Set-Top-Box), Samsung (OTCBBO: SSNLF), along with cable operators Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) are betting on a Cloud-to-TV consumer experience in bringing increased consumer flexibility and connectivity as market competition continues to increase.
Samsung introduces TV + Video Apps to its new line of TV’s that brings services like HuluPlus where those favorite TV shows can be streamed from the Cloud. This is just a sampling of what can be accessed through the TV manufacturer’s app service. Other categories include Games, Sports, Lifestyle, Information, and Other. Who said Web TV was a “lost leader”?
MSO’s jump on the Band-Wagon
Comcast announced that its Xfinity Service would partner with Samsung’s Smart TV and Android powered Galaxy Tab to offer customers a “rich, Web-like interface, enabling simpler navigation and the ability to seamlessly search across linear TV, DVR recordings, and video on demand among tens of thousands of content choices” See (Samsung and Comcast Partner to Transform TV Viewing on Smart Televisions and Tablets). This signals the break-through in marrying TV and Internet operability that has long been awaited by consumers searching for alternatives to just linear TV. Cable Operators are jumping on the band-wagon to be, first and foremost, leading the pack to application based Smart TV’s. Similarly, Time Warner Cable will do the same for its customers.
Cloud and Application based Technology
This is not after thought or quick-draw business economics by MSO’s, but a natural evolution to fill millions of existing customer homes with a branded interface to individual companies, and rich content, without adding additional cable equipment to the mix. In fact, STB’s other than the DVR which is a local storage facility for consumer favorites, will not be needed. How about “those apples” for increasing consumer satisfaction! However, those customers will need Samsung’s Smart TV and its Galaxy Tab.
There have been many announcements this week all centered around applications based on Internet accessibility to content, driven by the Cell Phone market. It continues to reinforce the power of competition and what it can do to increase innovation while reducing consumer prices. Representing a paradigm shift in technology for many years to come, consumers will be the winners of Cloud based applications. See (Why Time Warner Cable Is Cutting Its Own Cord)
Competition does its Job
Would these new technologies be possible without market competition? Just look at the innovators that led the way in seeing that marrying Internet content and the TV was possible. Netflix became the first with its streaming video to devices for a low $9.99 per month price. Google TV and Apple TV also were leading the pack with similar services, but none seemed to tap into the gigantic subscription market that MSO’s have dominated for years. That seemed to have change this past week with the Cloud. No one can dispute the relevance of content storage and applications in a cloud based format to enrich and simplify the consumer experience.