Why Apple and Samsung will Rule the Future of Television

Posted on February 18, 2013

There are several trends in television that will concentrate hardware sales in the hands of just a few companies, but will enable consumers to have a much deeper televisual experience.

How Television Will be Consumed

On February 1st, 2013 Netflix released its first commissioned series, House of Cards. Not only was this a first for the company, it was a first in another sense too.

Television series have been traditionally released on a schedule. This made sense in an era of over-the-air broadcasts when distribution was limited by available slots.

However, in an era where television is distributed by broadband internet, people are consuming programmes at their own speed. For some, that might be occasionally, but for many they binge on a series until it’s finished. This was Netflix’s bet, that consumers would seen value in being able to consume the whole series at once, which many did.

A Second Screen

The way in which TV is being consumed is also being changed by viewers’ use of tablets and smartphones to compliment their consumption. These devices are being used for social media, to look up actors bios, or for more cutting edge uses, as a compliment during broadcast.

Republic of Doyle Companion App

Republic of Doyle Companion App

For example, on Canada’s CBC, The Republic of Doyle has a companion application that allows the viewer to receive: trivia, bios, evidence and more. They can connect with other fans, cheer at certain events (hey, user experience tracking!) and collect evidence to participate to some degree in the show.

Not only does this improve the overall experience of the show, it also changes it from being a passive to and active experience and should increase viewer loyalty. These applications will very much feature in the future of our television experience.

The problem with Companion Applications

There is, however, a problem with such companion applications, and that is demonstrated by House of Cards. Programmes will not be watched, for the most part, on a scheduled basis, but will be consumed on an adhoc basis.

Hence, for companion applications to work effectively, they really need to know when a user a watching a programme and at what point they are in the show and a second by second basis. In order for this to work effectively, tablets and smartphones need to be able to talk to televisions on a low level. Today, there are only really three companies that can provide such communication between devices: Apple, Microsoft and Samsung.

The Players in Interactive Television

Apple TV Today

Apple TV Today

Apple is best placed to benefit from this movement with the popularity of the iPad, iPhone and buzz around Apple TV. Although their TV solution today has not sold widely, those that have bought it do tend to rave about its benefits.

Samsung doesn’t have necessarily the technical vision, but they have a lot of marketshare in televisions, Android smartphones and some success in tablets.

Microsoft, to some extent, is the surprise player. They have several advantages, the biggest being their installed base of Xbox users. However, Microsoft has yet to demonstrate that it can be successful in the tablet and smartphone space, so may suffer from a lack of developer interest in their platforms. They need to increase their tablet market share to be positioned for success in the TV market.

What will the Future of TV look like?

What will this future of television look like? Here are some ideas. While watching a programme, viewers will be able to:

• view others’ comments – kind of a timed and delayed twitter timeline.
• receive information about the show as it happens, such as the evidence in Republic of Doyle.
• see information about new cast members and actors as they appear in the show.
• see information about locations, both real and in the story.
• view maps with the location of characters at a given time in the show.
• be prompted to use social media to promote the show.
• share ideas on the outcomes of shows, great for ‘whodunits‘.
• prevent spoilers by keeping information within a closed, time-delayed environment.
• create communities of like-minded viewers.
• allow viewers to comment on what they saw in real time – great for interview shows.

It’s obvious that the future of television with a second screen is very powerful. There is a lot of potential to completely redefine the viewing experience, and it is possible that some shows will require a second screen to be viewed.

In any case, the actors who will be able to deliver on the experience will be concentrated, and consumers will be increasingly locked into those vendors. Choose your camps now.

What possibilities do you think this televisual world will offer?