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May 5, 2023 11:10 AM

The Rise of Smart TVs: Understanding the Essential Technology for Today's Entertainment

Smart TVs have revolutionized the way we watch and consume media: Linear TV is not the main attraction anymore and screen time is spent with various apps, including searching for content. Also, Smart TVs have come a long way since their inception, offering a more immersive and personalized experience. These practical devices have not only made watching TV more convenient and accessible, but they have also changed the way we primarily interact with TV services.

Due to the increased usage of streaming services and over-the-top (OTT) live TV, the way people consume television has undergone a transformation in recent times. In the last years, devices have significantly improved in terms of performance and specifications, now offering comparable capabilities with set-top boxes and streaming devices, compared to just a few years ago. This not only saves money but also adds convenience, as everything is readily available on one device – just think of the number of remote controls needed with a TV and multiple streaming devices connected.

As the shift towards over-the-top (OTT) content delivery continues to grow, Smart TVs (and especially their “Smart” part) become more and more relevant in the way people consume content. With more people relying on streaming services for their entertainment, the connectivity of TVs has increased steadily.

However, there are also challenges associated with providing good experiences on Smart TVs. The fragmentation of the vendor and operating system landscape, with major players like Samsung, LG, Philips, and Panasonic each having their own unique approach – plus a long list of smaller vendors in different regions of the world, can make it difficult for developers to create apps that work seamlessly across all devices in good quality. The certification process and commercial agreements for and support also vary greatly by region, which can be a challenge for app developers

Many households still have low-spec smart TVs, and as people only upgrade their TVs every 4-7 years, older devices may not meet current standards. This can result in compatibility issues and a less-than-optimal user experience – as well as high efforts to build and maintain not only the applications but also the connected infrastructure. The transition from classic HTML5 approaches to developing apps to new rendering methods like Canvas and WebGL also presents testing challenges, as the high fragmentation of devices makes it difficult to test on all relevant devices efficiently.

Despite these challenges, the smart TV market continues to evolve and brings new opportunities for growth and innovation. Companies like Sky, Roku, and Amazon are now entering the market, creating their own TV models and integrating hardware, OS, and content. The rise of FAST channels, such as Rakuten TV and Samsung TV Plus, has also created new monetization opportunities. The future of smart TVs is likely to continue to change, bringing new challenges for developers but also new opportunities for success.

Smart TVs have become a ubiquitous part of modern households, providing a wealth of entertainment options for users. With their growing user base, pay TV operators are seeing the opportunity to tap into this market by offering their services directly through these devices. With the decline of traditional set-top-boxes and the shift towards over-the-top (OTT) content, smart TVs provide an easy and accessible platform for operators to reach their customers.  However, success in this market requires more than just a presence. Pay TV operators need to partner with experienced providers for app development and integration who can handle the complex challenges of development, user experience, maintenance, and compatibility across multiple platforms and device versions. By doing so, they can ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for their customers, making them stand out in an increasingly competitive market.

Smart TVs are an essential part of the current media landscape. With access to a wide range of content, advanced features, and an affordable price tag, they offer an enjoyable and convenient way to watch TV and consume media. Whether it's streaming shows, and movies, playing games or browsing the internet, smart TVs are a perfect direction for tv operators to have the end-user in mind.