Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Major Connected CE Announcements this Week

In a CONNECTIONS™ wrap-up post last week, I had predicted that we would see many more announcements regarding the linkages between premium video services (from pay-TV providers) and the connected CE world. Widevine's announcement this week with Samsung speaks to the technology relationships being formed to enable just these types of features on connected TVs and Blu-ray players.

With the agreement, Widevine will provide Samsung with live and on-demand adaptive streaming, virtual DVD-like “trick play” and digital rights management (DRM) on Samsung connected devices. These technologies from Widevine will enable Samsung to support TV Everywhere and over-the-top delivery initiatives from Internet content providers and large cable, satellite and telecommunication companies. Widevine's CEO - Brian Baker - made sure that I noted the "live" part of the announcement when I briefed with him on Monday. The same kind of adaptive streaming technology that Widevine is providing for DISH Networks's TV Everywhere initiative is in play in this case. So, it's not unimaginable that service providers can use this technology to bring pay-TV channels directly to a consumer electronics platform other than the set-top box.

Yesterday, thePlatform unveiled publishing profiles for connected consumer electronics devices such as as IP-connected set-top boxes, TVs, and Blu-ray Players, and indicated its readiness to support publishing profiles for Google TV when that service launches.

Next, we knew that Best Buy and Walmart were getting serious about creating online video storefronts for the consumer electronics they sell, but now you can add Sears and Kmart into the mix. Sonic Solutions will provide the retailer with the RoxioNow™ platform, which will power digital entertainment delivery services for both Sears and Kmart. The new services are expected to launch later this year and be broadly promoted at retail stores nationwide.

Moving premium video services to non-set-top box equipment will be a critical measure of success for both content and service providers. Already, we are predicting that sales of connected TVs, game consoles, Blu-ray players, and digital media player set-top boxes will exceed the worldwide shipment of set-top boxes in 2011. Service providers are going to have a great many more touchpoints for their premium video services, so getting the connections right today will be critical.

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