The way we watch TV has changed completely. We’ve transitioned from a linear, living room model to an always-on, whole-home, distributed, time-shifted, multiscreen paradigm with more kinds of content than there are flavours at your local ice cream parlour.
How did this happen? And what does it portend for the future of TV?
Each year, ARRIS conducts a global media survey—called the Consumer Entertainment Index—to track the evolution in people’s engagement with entertainment. Over the past few years, we’ve identified that consumers are placing a premium on personalization. That is, they want their content their way: any content, anytime, anywhere, on any device. And their alignment with this simple preference has grown to represent a fundamental shift in consumer demand, which in turn has given way to new standards, technologies, and models… each of which has tremendous implications for our industry.
The reason that personalization is such a big trend is that its intersection with technology is about as broad and multifaceted as we are complex as human beings.
Along with the rapid growth of mobile devices, over-the-top services such as Netflix and Hulu have emerged to disrupt traditional methods of delivering content to consumers. Combine those two phenomena and you get an ever-growing library of content from different sources, feeding different devices all throughout the home, 24-7. This has led to new habits like binge-viewing, multi-screening, and ad-skipping, which in turn has resulted in new technologies for time- and place-shifting, device streaming, interactive merchandising, and much more. Take those habits to the power of innovations like Ultra HD, the cloud, and the Internet of Things and you get an exponentially more complex and demanding environment for entertainment.
However, as diverse as these experiences and technologies seem, they all share one important similarity: they travel over the same networks to get to those devices in the home. And that creates a surprisingly predictable need for a simplified and managed model for content delivery.
But how do service and content providers, technology vendors, and CE manufacturers keep up with these fast-paced shifts in entertainment? How do they manage all of these new experiences across the ever-changing library of content and consumer devices?
The answer starts with a device that’s been in the home as long as – actually longer than – Wi-Fi: the video gateway.
Formerly known as the set-top, the video gateway has emerged as the perfect hub for this new entertainment ecosystem. As a central point of communication for multiple devices, and as the “gateway” for data going in and out of the home, the video gateway is uniquely positioned to solve the complexity of content delivery and provide the foundation for smarter and more connected services in the future.
As we look to CES and beyond, we’ll see the inevitable improvements to resolution, bit rates, sensors, mobility, processor speeds, standards, and formats—but our industry can rest assured that the many moving parts in the Future of TV can be tamed by a staple of home networking that consumers already have. The video gateway will be working quietly in the background to facilitate a seamless new model for content delivery that keeps pace with today’s rate of innovation, well into the future. Whatever that looks like.