My projects in SmartTVs

Here are the links to an interview I gave a few weeks ago to “Observatoire des SmartTV” website. I discuss my company positioning in the connected TV space, the market with a focus on France, and projects.

As the interview is in French and I’m too lazy to translate it properly here is the link through Google translate.

> the interview in English (Google Translate)

> the interview in French



Improving the TV experience with HbbTV

I had the chance to attend the HbbTV Symosium in Paris last December. Here are some interesting slides I collected.

HbbTV is now really on the launching ramp.

ProSieben channel in Germany reports 1.4M connections of unique TV set to its HbbTV service per month with a growth of 20%.

HbbTV usage

More intersting is the usage of HbbTV to improve the experience of impaired people.

Sign language assistance is available through HbbT for hearing-impaired

HbbTV hearing impaired

Improved contrast and font size are also available for visually impared people.

HbbTV visualy impaired

So HbbTV is not only introducing interactive advertizing as one often reduces it, but also improving the whole TV experience.

SmartTV Alliance getting momentum

The SmartTV or Connected TV is basically a TV set with added features:

  • Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) receiver
  • Internet connection capabilities
  • A processor, enough memory and OS to run a web browser
  • A SDK to develop compatible applications or services

SmartTV principle

Whereas IPTV covers today the same but the Internet part is provided through a set-top-box usually provided by the ISP.

SmartTV are still not featuring standardized OSes. The OS part is usually based on a Linux distribution customized by the manufacturer or the chipset vendor. Some Chinese manufacturers are starting to base their OS on customized Android.

The SmartTV Alliance led by LG, Toshiba and Philips is clearly a signal that manufacturers don’t want to give the keys of their TV ecosystem to Google, Microsoft or others. The Smart TV Alliance is set to release a common SDK to simplify the work of developers. An application based on this SDK will run without any change on all LG, Philips and Toshiba SmartTVs.

But will it be enough? Will manufacturers have enough time to strengthen their TV stronghold before the barbarians aka Google and Co try to take it by storm?

HbbTV on the path to become a global standard

HbbTV is slowly taking ground outside France and Germany its two promoters. Many countries in Europe have adopted the new standard for interactive TV: from Spain to Denmark around 10 countries are now in. .

Even the UK is considering joining the fray as the Digital TV Group has submitted a document for inclusion in HbbTV 2.0 specifications.

Here is as of today the picture of the HbbTV penetration across Europe.

But HbbTV is also considered outside Europe with trials going on in the US, Australia, Japan and China.

It reminds me of the early stage of GSM in the 90s when a group of countries created a world standard that enabled a whole industry to take off. But it didn’t happen over night.

Television networks rebelling against Google TV

Engadget regports that some Television networks rebelled against Google TV raiding their contents.

> Engadget article

ABC, CBS and NBC are barring Google TV powered devices from accessing full episodes of streaming video content. The reason is simple: they won’t get any revenue from these viewing and Google will be able to sell keywords, ads, etc.

Google is reported to be discussing with the networks, i.e. discussing a revenue share on those contents. I would recommend to the US networks not to open the door to the big bad wolf. Once he gets in the story will be over.

The only other route for Networks is to discuss with manufacturers and imagine a standard to keep a minimum control over their contents like HbbTV in Europe. Like in Europe, US Networks should start building quickly their house of hard bricks.