The combination of content, platforms and devices will drive the new value proposition of connected TV, with its orchestration being conducted by service providers and their supporting cast of manufacturers, software producers and technology companies.

That was the clear message sent by panelists at the Consumer Electronics Show’s (CES) “Connected TV in Content-Everywhere World” session.

“What should connected devices do and what is the revenue potential? It’s not only about aggregating content, but how it’s monetized for manufacturers and service providers. There are business opportunities here,” said Shear Ng, vice president/Consumer and Broadcast Technology and Media Works for NBC Universal.

Technology, added Alex Terpstra, CEO at Civolution, will make connected TVs even smarter by syncing devices to content, improving content searches, and advancing watermarking and fingerprinting technology. “Automatic Content Recognition (ACR), watermarking and fingerprinting are key technologies,” he told attendees. “With fingerprinting, we can actually identify the content owners.”

However, Terpstra believes, when it comes to the abundance of content available over connected TV, search will be crucial. “We’re investing money in content search and enrichment. The beauty of these technologies with connected TV is they can be assets to content. It’s a whole new way of driving applications by adding new technologies,” he said.

Adding the robust power of the computer to the TV is another strategy that’s getting traction, according to panelist Brian David Johnson, consumer experience architect at Intel: “Computational power in the TV is very powerful. We use it to find content, and there is unlimited content for consumers. The idea of connected devices is an incredible business opportunity.”

And, lest we forget, there was a near-deafening buzz level at CES surrounding smartphones and tablets, especially among the Connected TV session panelists. “We’re looking at phones and tablets with all the same interface to move from one to another and, with advanced systems, they can have many applications,” noted Ken Lowe, vice president/co-founder of Vizio.

Protecting all that content continues to be a serious issue, particularly with billions of devices and applications moving information from one device to another.

“Internet TV is wonderful, but even more open to content infringement. We’re trying to figure out how we can track content using watermarking and fingerprinting, but we want to know how this translates to a business opportunity,” added Greg DePriest, vice president/Technology Policy at NBC Universal. ACR could be the answer: “The power of ACR can provide targeted ads and offer enhanced content. It’s valuable to have devices that know what kind of programs are being watched.”?

Valuable, indeed, noted Civolution’s Terpstra, especially to advertisers looking for those targeted consumers: “Advertisers would like to be more precisely targeted to customers. We can identify ads and replace them on the spot with local versions. It also creates an opportunity to further the experience of a movie, for example, by offering movie background and information.”

So just what is the future of connected TV and its connected devices?

Summing up, Intel’s Johnson said, “For years, it was a technology issue. Now connected TV has come of age and is big business. There are some bumps, but it’s not a hobby set thing anymore. Now it’s real.”

– Craig Kuhl

The Daily

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