Now the Internet is coming back to TV, and savvy software engineers and smart TV producers are finding ways to create new hybrid services that bring it all together.
This is the trend that has many analysts already wondering what will happen next -- how will pay-TV services evolve and which key players in the ecosystem already have a competitive edge?
According to the latest market study by NPD In-Stat, they now forecast that 100 million households will actively use a hybrid video entertainment services -- delivered to their TV set -- by 2016.
“The next step in the viewing experience will be for TV sets and set-top boxes to permit all of the traditional TV-related services, which is then expanded and enhanced by bringing in content from the Internet, or from Internet-like web services that provide a walled garden of authorized content and on-screen features,” says Gerry Kaufhold, Research Director at NPD In-Stat.
In tandem with the web-based content coming to TV screens are the associated TV apps that incorporate tablets or smartphones. In-Stat expects that nearly 80 million households will be actively using TV apps -- provided by their pay-TV service provider -- by 2016.
These new hybrid approaches provide an excellent growth opportunity for independent creative content producers. They enable the digital creative ecosystem to embrace yet another emerging trend -- viewer engagement or interaction and concurrent online social activities.
Other findings from the In-Stat market study include:
- Personal computers are still the primary display device for viewing videos from the Internet.
- North America is the early leader for hybrid TV households, but the UK, France, and Germany are coming on strong, and most of Europe will have hybrid services by 2016.
- Europe's Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) service will begin to gain dominance by late 2013.
- Europe will become the worldwide center of excellence for long-term development of hybrid TV services.