EML Wildfire Tech PR Blog

2013 – the year of the connected TV?

Posted by Louise Andrews on Jan 14, 2013

Last week, EML Wildfire’s Darren Willsher highlighted the launch of Ofcom’s annual report: The Consumer Experience 2012.

As a follower of all things ‘mobile’, it’s no surprise that Darren’s highlights from the report focused on smartphone adoption, smartphone data consumption and the performance of telecoms operators.

But my interest in the report lies elsewhere – the connected TV. While Darren points out just under a quarter of UK consumers access TV content online every week, I’m much more interested in the reverse – how many people now access online content on their TV?

Is it the future?

Connected TV is an area we’ve been following closely throughout 2012 at EML Wildfire, working with Humax to launch the UK’s first set-top boxes for YouView and Freesat’s <free time> service. For the first time, subscription-free digital TV channels can be delivered alongside internet catch-up and video on-demand services in a seamless experience.

Is there demand for internet content on the TV though? Data around smart TVs suggests that perhaps not. It’s not easy to find out how many of the UK’s smart TVs are actually connected to the internet, but Humax suggests it could be 80% or as low as 30%.

Changing behaviours

But in fact YouView is already achieving an extremely high connection rate – close to 100%. Why?

For the first time, the UK has a digital TV proposition where internet connectivity is a critical feature alongside subscription-free linear viewing; and that makes connected TV a buying decision for the consumer and not just an ‘added-on’ feature.

Connected TV doesn’t seem like a new concept to many of us who are in the industry or follow emerging technologies. But for the majority of consumers, it’s a new concept that can be alien and confusing.

Stay tuned

But I’ve seen YouView and <free time> in action; the experience of moving between live, recorded and catch-up TV is seamless and easy – and above all, it’s possible now.

For me, 2013 will be the year when connected TV becomes a reality in the mass market. I’m watching this space…