IFA Interview: Smart TV
Smart TV is to traditional TV what smartphones were to traditional mobile phones … and more. It opens up a whole new world of content; it brings real, full internet access (not just ‘pieces’ of the internet); it brings gorgeous new interfaces and input devices, and it brings apps and social networking capabilities right to your TV set.
We can finally do away with the question “what’s on TV tonight?” Smart TV gives us the choice! It presents us with an enhanced programme guide which exposes not just what’s on TV but also the raft of video content which is available to the TV through the internet. And that’s not even mentioning the gaming, the applications or the web-browsing aspects…
But it’s important to also think about how software, and the internet, will enhance TV watching for all of us. It’s not just about having Facebook or YouTube on your TV. Viewers will be able to interact with TV shows and with each other. For example, a sports fan might be able to download an app which displays stats next to a player during a football match. Or, a film club might stream a movie to multiple members to enjoy simultaneously, while also giving them the opportunity to chat with each other in real-time as they watch.
Consumers will be able to have smart TV through enhanced televisions, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes which contain a new generation of powerful CE-optimised processors.
What do you see as being the advantages of smart TV for the consumer?
There are many advantages indeed, such as:
• The ability to access over a billion hours of content on the TV with the click of a button
• New user interfaces that will make it easy to find what you want in no time at all
• Recommendation engines that will even dynamically generate channels for you depending on your viewing habits
• Apps that will enhance TV with information found on the web
• Social and content networking applications which allow viewers to interact with their friends based on the content they’re watching
How involved is Intel in the development of smart TV?
Intel was one of the first companies to have the vision of bringing the full internet to the television, and to provide enough processing power to also enable new types of entertainment and applications which make optimal use of that connected environment. We’ve taken our expertise from the computing space, leveraged our world-leading experience in internet technologies, and weaved them together with industry-leading research from our User Experience Group to design the ultimate CE processor. We’ve worked hard to make sure the smart tv experience will be within reach of everyone.
What is the roadmap for Intel in this field?
We have a processor roadmap as well as a usage model roadmap. It’s important to understand that the usage model roadmaps derived from our ethnographic research drive our CE silicon roadmaps. The usage model roadmap has evolved from “people want more choice over what they watch” to “people want to have personalised recommendations” and then additional pieces like video-calling and also the ability to control the TV by voice recognition.
On the silicon side, today we have the extremely powerful Intel® Atom™ processor CE4100. This offers world-leading performance on all counts. Soon we will announce its successor. Year after year for the past three years Intel has produced new CE-optimised processors like clockwork and will continue on that trend, enabling our customers to innovate fantastic new TV experiences for consumers everywhere.
Do you see a time when over-the-air broadcast TV will no longer exist?
Certainly not any time soon! Smart TV is about bringing together the best of the internet and the best of broadcast television – augmenting today’s technologies to make them even better.
How will smart TV evolve?
It’s going to be fantastic! First of all, people will always like what they watch because it will be recommended based on viewing habits or from friends, or from what’s hot according to their social networks, for example. So we start with personalised content.
Then we move on to informative TV, whereby our smart TVs provide direct access to information and services related to what we are watching. For example, we’ll be able to inquire about a soundtrack and download it to our smartphone. Or we might want information about an actor and the other films they’ve starred in, maybe flicking over to watch one of them. Or we could find out about the restaurant that features in a film’s opening scene and immediately book a table. We will be able to point-and-click on a piece of clothing being worn by an actress and buy it on the spot. Or we may wish to investigate where a particular scene was shot and book a flight to get there, for example. The impact on advertisers will be seismic as well.
And then there’s the social element. In the future smart TV will bring a variety of social experiences with varying levels of desired interaction. Each family, community and circle of friends have their own preferred way of sharing and being together, and new smart TV technologies and services will drive a host of opportunities for bringing them together. Connected gaming, popular social networking sites or instant messenger-type services are expected to form part of the experience once adapted to better suit the smart TV experience.
Imagine two friends being able to watch a quiz show together and discuss answers via a video conferencing window in the corner of the TV screen – despite living miles apart. Imagine a daughter sharing personal video clips with her family, or even sending a programme about her Mum’s favourite celebrity chef directly to her Mum’s TV.
Then there’s the realm of virtual self-expression and richer social engagement. Imagine being part of a virtual band with virtual instruments and broadcasting a virtual concert from a virtual location! The possibilities really are endless when you have innovative companies taking advantage of the full internet and powerful processors to make consumers lives so much better.