Tablets that deliver TV programs and movies, while also acting as the remote control for home entertainment devices, are to become common place as TV stations and manufacturers start to deliver new entertainment apps.
The same apps will deliver entertainment content to a smartphones, Blu ray players and media centres, TV and portable devices such as a new generation of Ultrabooks that boot in 1.5 seconds.
The apps will deliver content such as photos, quotes, polls or background about particular scenes as a show plays.
Movie studio’s such as Fox and CBS have apps that display updates about shows from Twitter or Facebook in real time. Fox recently launched companion apps for its “Terra Nova” and “Bones” series, offering, among other things, explanatory content to go with the shows.
With the apps, networks are trying to co-opt the same gadgets that have been siphoning off viewers and target multi-taskers who thrive on being bombarded with information and chatter. Sixty percent of television viewers are distracted by a mobile phone while watching TV, according to a recent research report.
Rob Wiesenthal, chief financial officer of Sony Corporation and chief strategy officer of Sony Entertainment, told a Goldman Sachs conference in New recently that the computing power now contained in televisions and in the various boxes attached to them could move to the device on people’s laps as they sat on the couch.
At CES 2012 several TV vendors including LG and Samsung will launch new TV’s and Blu ray players that have fast new processors similar to what is appearing in tablets and smartphones.
As channels and ways to watch them proliferate, fewer viewers are tuning in live. Among viewers aged 18-to-49, 17% fewer watched a commercial on a major free to air network compared to last year.
. That is a financial risk to networks, which generally get paid by advertisers based on how many people watch a commercial on a free to air network.
Wiesenthal “If you think back five years, it was all about the boxes; Tivo, Slingbox, Topfield,” he said: “I think consumers really are suffering from box exhaustion.”
In their place, Mr Wiesenthal sees TVs ending up with one wire at the back – the power cord – while consumers use tablets to access video content and control the big screen. A user with a subscription to Sony’s Video Unlimited service could take his or her tablet to a friend’s house and “throw” a film to the friend’s television, he added.
The same will apply to both LG and Samsung who are partnering with Telstra to deliver new unified apps that deliver an array of content.
Last week Amazon launched their new Kindle Amazon’s Kindle Fire that is designed to deliver movie and movie content. In coming days Samsung is set to announce a major app deal to deliver content.
Programmers have turned to technology to make TV more interactive before but it failed dismally.
Now, programmers are migrating the related content to tablets like the iPad, allowing consumers to decide whether they want to engage with the extra content or simply watch TV.
Engagement comes at a cost. Some networks say they have seen proposals for apps that cost more than $1 million. Other can be done for tens of thousands.