One of the big themes for 2012, and almost certainly for CES next week, will be the tablet as a device for watching or interacting with TV. John Bird, Principal Consultant at Futuresource Consulting, recently described them as â€œall-consumingâ€ in terms of the interest levels they are attracting in the TV market, including from broadcasters. â€œWe know that one-third of users are doing something else while watching TV so the major focus of the industry is on the third screen and the golden nugget is the seamless interaction between the TV and the tablet, and how you harness the multi-tasking,â€ Bird notes.
Futuresource highlights the need for a remote control app and a mobile phone based app to control the TV experience from outside the home, but this is only part of the story. â€œWe are more interested in how these two devices can interact seamlessly with broadcast programming across the network,â€ Bird says. He is referring to the way broadcasters can provide programme-based apps that encourage users to interact with the programme showing on the main screen, via the tablet.
The role of the tablet is evolving quickly and it looks like another important theme for 2012 is how they will fit into the connected home as devices that can serve media to other screens or receive media from elsewhere in the home, rather than devices that only consume content delivered direct from the broadband network. This is certainly something that interests Futuresource, the market research and intelligence company.
â€œThe ability to stream from the iPad to the TV screen is interesting and something that is just emerging,â€ says Bird. â€œWe will be able to stream off these devices into the home network to all DLNA-enabled products.â€
Bird points out that one of the strengths of the tablet, which he refers to as the third screen, is the fact it is a personal device, so viewers do not have to commandeer the family home theatre to watch something that they missed last week. Tablets are going to be important but Futuresource does not think they will impact the development of the Connected TV market. The two devices are complementary.