The latest in TV technology – Q1 2017

Published April 22nd, 2017

It’s been a while since the last overview of what’s happening in the world of TV technology, so it’s high time for another update. As always, the year kicked off with CES in Las Vegas, where each of the large TV brands (Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Philips, etc) presented its plans for 2017. Same as last year, the focus in display technology was on HDR, which is becoming the new normal. While in the past LG was the only company known for OLED technology, many others announced OLED screens as well, although most of these will probably be rebranded LG displays. Another trend was a move towards extremely thin screens, with the logic, HDMI ports, offloaded to a separate module which can be hidden discretely. Old non-sensical hypes like 3D TV or curved TVs are going away. In the area of software, there were relatively few changes. There were the usual updates to webOS, Tizen, etc, but no major shifts. The only problematic case appears to be Firefox OS, which runs on some Panasonic TVs, for which the development team inside Mozilla was scrapped. In the console space, Sony is stronger than ever with its PlayStation 4. It has sold a massive 53 million consoles, dwarfing Microsoft’s Xbox One sales, which are roughly half. Meanwhile, both Sony and Microsoft are steadily working on improving the software on their consoles. The next big step will be Microsoft’s introduction of its Project Scorpio Xbox at E3 in June. The big news in the console space was the launch of Nintendo’s new Switch console, which is basically a handheld which can also be docked to a TV. While very interesting, Nintendo has chosen to focus exclusively on gaming for now. Video streaming capabilities are expected to be added later on, but none are present on the device right now. With regards to set-top boxes, Apple appears to finally be working on a 4K and HDR version of its Apple TV. Currently, it’s the only major TV platform which hasn’t got that capability yet. NVIDIA pushed out a new version of its SHIELD TV at CES“>CES, where Amazon“>Amazon announced that it is licensing its Fire TV OS to Smart TV brands, similar to how Roku TV and Android TV work. Amazon also significantly overhauled the user interface of its Fire TV software. Roku is finally deprecating its old legacy SDK in favour of the much more versatile and pretty SceneGraph SDK. Outside of the major players, Caavo announced a set-top box to connect them all, although the price is very high at $400. Meanwhile, the shift in political power in the US has resulted in a new FCC which is unlikely to force any changes to the operator set-top box landscape in the US.

US Adults Now Spend 12 Hours 7 Minutes a Day Consuming Media

US adults will spend more than half the day with major media

In an annual contest at Coney Island, participants vie to see who can eat the most hot dogs in 10 minutes. It has seemed in recent years that US adults bring a similar spirit to their consumption of media, cramming as much as possible into an average day.

Thanks to multitasking (and our method of accounting for it, explained in a moment), US adults’ average daily time spent with major media will slightly exceed 12 hours this year, according to eMarketer’s latest report, “US Time Spent with Media: eMarketer’s Updated Estimates and Forecast for 2014-2019”.

But while our reports early in the decade told a story of robust gains—with increases in digital usage more than compensating for declines in time spent with nondigital media—growth has been petering out. Of course, media multitasking is what has made so much usage possible. Like a Coney Island contestant stuffing hot dogs into his mouth with both hands, people are often using multiple media at the same time. That is how the figure for time spent can add up to 12 hours a day. And note our method of accounting for simultaneous usage: If someone spends an hour watching TV (for example) and uses a smartphone to surf the web during the same hour, we count this as an hour of usage for each medium, and hence as 2 hours of total media time. One might have thought average time spent with smartphones by users would decline as the smartphone population broadened far beyond early adopters and technophiles. Instead, average time spent among users has steadily increased. eMarketer estimates that nonvoice time spent per day by smartphone users will have risen from 2 hours 18 minutes in 2014 to 2 hours 42 minutes by 2019. The proliferation of apps is clearly a factor in this increase. More and more of the digital universe is designed to cater to smartphones, and this often takes the form of apps. For users of smartphones—and, to a slightly lesser extent, users of tablets—time spent using those devices mostly means time spent using apps. And the preeminence of apps vs. the mobile web grows year by year. Time spent with the mobile web via smartphones is expected to decline throughout the forecast period, while time spent with it via tablets ticks up just slightly. During those same years, in-app time on both devices is expected to grow strongly—though the rate of increase slows in the later years. eMarketer estimates that in-app smartphone time will have increased by 42 minutes per day between 2014 and 2019.   Source:  Emarketer