school cathode ray tube (CRT) sets will become useless unless they’re
connected to a digital set top box or a video or DVD player.’
“As streaming TV web sites and video-on-demand grow in popularity, the
amount of online video watched by broadband users will grow at an
incredible rate,” Orcon.
What’s on the box, under it and able to be connected to
it, will undergo a major evolution over the next two years as
television converges with the internet heralding a new era of
than relying on advertising infiltrated content being beamed in at a
scheduled time, consumers will have much greater control over their
and hard disk recorders and dedicated boxes like MySky, FreeViewHD or
Tivo already afford personal reprogramming options and the catch-up
content that can be streamed from the web hints at what’s coming next.
definition (HD) TV sets and their surround sound systems already connect
to games consoles, MP3 players, video cameras, laptops, tablet
computers, smartphones, SD cards and other USB devices.
of the first wave of web-enabled TV sets and peripherals, further
extending our ability to mix and match broadcast, stored, downloaded and
streamed content, we’re seeing enhancements to the visual experience
including LED (light emitting diode) and 3D screen technology.
This brave new digital world takes on much greater portent with the
Government fast forwarding the shut down of analogue broadcasting which
will now occur between September 2012 and November 2013. Old school
cathode ray tube (CRT) sets will become useless unless they’re connected
to a digital set top box or a video or DVD player.
continue receiving TV1, TV2, TV3, C4, Maori TV and Prime television,
viewers will need a Freeview enabled set or set-top box, or a
subscription to a digital pay-television service such as Sky Television.
State-owned broadcast infrastructure provider Kordia says the transition
to digital will provide economic benefits to the whole country as
analogue spectrum is reallocated for other services, including 4G
cellular broadband networks and
the likes of Sky to provide more channels and services to its 785,000
The end of the analogue era
hasten convergence between internet and TV and the rise of interactivity
bring New Zealand into line with other OECD nations; the UK will be
fully digital by 2012 and Australia by 2013.
Digital catch up mode
According to Roy Morgan’s 2010 NZ Media Trends report, 48 percent of us
still owned analogue TV sets as at March this year; although there have
been some enticing offers, sweetened with 48 month interest free deals,
accelerating digital uptake since then.
Morgan says the once pervasive VCR is now in only 51 percent of homes
and DVD players have plateaued at around 71 percent penetration. DVD
recorders, the next big thing only three years ago, have also stalled in
favour of hard disk-based personal video recorders (PVRs) including
MyFreeview, MySky and TiVo.
Statistics New Zealand says we’re buying about 300,000 new televisions a
year, three-quarters of them LCD models, and estimates between 60-70
percent have digital TV access through Sky, Freeview, TelstraClear cable
Sky claims around 48 percent penetration for its digital service and
around 190,000 on its high definition MySky HDi service. At the end of
June Freeview, which is available in standard definition through its UHF
terrestrial and satellite service, was in just over a quarter, or
Meanwhile the Government is investing $6.3 million to expand Freeview’s
high definition coverage to 87 percent of the population ahead of the
2011 Rugby World Cup. Interactive and internet-based services are
planned in the near future.
Analyst Frost & Sullivan believes the roll out of the Government’s
national broadband network will see 141,000 New Zealanders subscribing
to IPTV, television or movie access via the internet, by 2014.
Many TV sets already have Ethernet ports for direct internet access
ahead of the next wave of web TV services. The TiVo set-top box,
although it got off to a slow start, delivers free content over the
internet to Telecom broadband customers and has now been opened to other
internet service providers (ISPs).
Television’s new iSky service will also offer content through ISPs
including news and sports channels, catch-up programmes and a rotating
selection of 200 movies.
has invested about $4m so it can host content on its own computers
rather than having to pay for international capacity. Callplus, Orcon
and Vodafone have already agreed to flag their data caps to encourage
full use of the service and negotiations with other ISPs are ongoing.
This is the same dilemma Telecom is facing with TiVo’s Caspa service but
ironically there’s now talk that Telecom may realign itself with Sky by
embracing iSky as well.
Online video demand
Meanwhile Orcon and parent company Kordia are building a nationwide
content delivery network for high quality internet-based video to
support iSky. Orcon says as streaming TV web sites and video-on-demand
grow in popularity, the amount of online video watched by broadband
users will grow at an incredible rate.
Elements of TV’s evolution are being revealed almost monthly.
became the first commercial broadcaster in the world to deliver
on-demand content to the Playstation 3, using the Adobe Flash platform
at the core of its digital content service.
The system already delivers to half a million different web browsers a
month. The only problem is that Apple refuses to use Adobe so the system
doesn’t work for the iPhone or iPad.
TelstraClear joined the PVR market in September with its T-Box selling
into Auckland and Christchurch where it resells Sky channels on its
cable TV service. The T-Box can record 50 hours of HD programming or
around 300 hours at standard definition. TelstraClear claims this is
just the beginning of an operation that will deliver wider content
offerings as it extend through improved broadband coverage.
Google has has entered into a series of partnerships to bring web and
channel surfing together on the TV. The first sets being built by Sony
include Google’s Android operating system, Chrome browser and Google TV
The system uses Intel’s Atom processor and Logitech’s specialised
wireless controller. Intel claims the smart TV breakthrough is the
biggest improvement to television since colour.
Sony's new 24 and 46 inch Google web HDTV sets went on sale in the US in
October and are likely to be here next year with customised applications
for news and other services and interactivity. Logitec’s new set-top box
and Sony’s Blu-ray player also contain the Google technology.
Samsung has launched its own internet TV sets and content channel in
Australia and Vizio and Mitsubishi also are promoting web connected sets
and Blu-ray players. Apple has begun delivering a new set-top box for
internet access and Microsoft and Yahoo are also working on internet
video and services for the TV.
Research says web-connected TVs are expected to account for about 19
percent of US sales of flat-panel models this year, rising to 46 percent
3DTV sets, the
Nintendo Wii, Microsoft’s new Kinect gaming technology and plans to
bring Skype to the TV for high definition video calling will all help
reposition the TV set at the centre of a new wave of on-demand
entertainment and communications.
As we move from the
current hybrid model where TV catch-up is on the PC, a full range of
content will be available on all screens including webTV, smartphones,
tablets, netbooks and notebooks.