August 19, 2014

The latest in TV Technology - August 2014

The world of TV is an exciting and fast moving place, with new technologies and platforms appearing every month. Here is the latest overview of the most relevant new developments.

At this year’s I/O keynote, Google proudly presented its latest attempt to conquer the living room: Android TV. It will run both on set-top boxes and full-blown TV sets, with the main launch partners being Sony, TP Vision (Philips) and Sharp, which will use the platform for their 2015 lineup. Android TV is being approached as an integral part of the full Android ecosystem and will use the Google Play Store for app distribution. In contrast to many other TV platforms, it will be open to all developers and here at 24i we’re of course already working hard on creating apps for it.

In addition to Android TV, Google announced several updates to Chromecast, such as new methods for pairing and new options for mirroring. All Android TV sets will also act as Chromecast. By now there are hundreds of apps that support Chromecast. Everything taken together, Google is building up a very strong position in the TV market and it will be very interesting to see how big its impact will be over the next 12 to 24 months.

Microsoft and Sony have been going toe to toe with their gaming consoles. Microsoft is very actively updating its Xbox One, amongst others with greatly improved media support and a Digital TV Tuner for the European market. Sony has been working hard on its PlayStation Now game streaming service and is opening it up to the public for testing. It’s also working on interesting game sharing functionality. So far it appears Sony is the strongest of the two, having sold its PlayStation 4 more than 10 million times.

The other contenders in the market have naturally been busy as well. Amazon has been busy expanding the app catalog on its Fire TV, including Flappy Bird. Roku just announced that the first Roku TV sets are close to going on sale. Mozilla has apparently been working on a Firefox OS streaming stick. Samsung released an SDK for its Tizen TV platform, but is having serious difficulties launching Tizen smartphone hardware, with no news on the TV hardware. And as far as Apple TV is concerned, we might be forced to wait a bit longer.

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