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There’s a New Fight for the Living Room TV, and It's Not Just the Same Old Story

There’s a New Fight for the Living Room TV, and It's Not Just the Same Old Story

David Morel, Brightcove vice president of customer success, weighs in on the future of television:

It's no secret the evolution of television is well underway. We have literally hundreds of channels to choose from in our living rooms, and a seemingly infinite number of choices online. For years we've been watching the cable companies and satellite providers duke it out for your eyeballs and those hefty programming bundles that come with your monthly subscription. In recent months, and more importantly in the coming year or two, this market is going to become increasingly more complex. The good news is that consumers and broadcasters are poised to win. Neither cable nor satellite is going away anytime soon, but the forward movement in connected television is encouraging, if not down right exciting. New entrants into the market like Google's Chromecast, the evolution of the AppleTV to bring long-form, non-paid content to their offering combined with numerous announcements, spanning from new startups to giants like Intel and Xbox One, indicate that the race is on in an industry that is here to stay. Television manufacturers care more that you buy their display and less about where you got the content, so adoption of alternative content sources has become standard on most new displays.

That being said, we believe this trend will slowly began to disappear, as there is an inherent challenge with the "Smart TV," in that it's a risky proposition to update firmware or apps. The cost of entry is higher for smart TVs in comparison to a 100 dollar or less streaming device. A bricked 60" plasma mounted to your living room wall is much harder to service than a hockey puck-sized device that can be returned to your local retailer in a few minutes. You have to wonder about the future of smart TV's when an HDMI connected dongle gives you as much (if not more!) functionality and an easily updatable ecosystem of apps.

So what does this mean and why is it good for the consumers and the publishers? It's good for the consumers because choice is readily available. There are myriad ways to replace a standard cable bundle today, albeit most supported by a monthly subscription themselves. But the trend is changing— ad supported episodic content is making its way into the market place on a number of connected living room devices, and the surface is just being scratched. We've seen movement with a number of programmers in this space bringing their content to these devices with exciting announcements around premium content coming soon. Publishers can reach an audience that has been raised on connected devices. The generation of kids now watching on tablets, phones, and PCs will soon be reaching the age where they move out into the "real world" – no longer relegated to their dorm rooms, it's time to hang an LCD on the wall. They still won't purchase a cable subscription, just the fastest Internet connection they can get, but they'll be watching TV and movies with their friends. As the cord-never generation moves into the real world, the capability of today's connected devices coupled with the treasure trove of marketing data will create the proverbial perfect storm for the connected living room device.