Tech and Pay TV Companies Are Changing How We Watch TV

Intel is one of many companies currently developing home entertainment technologies that could significantly change how viewers interact with TV. Tech companies are integrating advanced features and controls in TV connected devices, from voice activation, DVR and cloud storage sync. Other companies such as cable providers and manufacturers are also introducing advanced TV technologies as well. However, obstacles will come from content licensing.

Intel is creating an Internet-based service that offers on-demand access to air programming from local, national, and international sources, and stores them for three days in cloud storage. It is live TV, that is recorded, and a DVR is not required to view and rewind.

Tech companies have been attempting to change TV for years with mixed results, while cable and satellite TV providers have held strong positions in developing technology for the TV. Despite developments, Internet-based programming services are limited by licensing restrictions by conventional carriers.

“Negotiations with media companies for content rights could delay new services and limit some features, though Intel vows to enter some markets by the end of the year,” explains The Wall Street Journal. “Yet there is a growing consensus that underlying technologies are evolving to the point that major changes in the TV experience are all but inevitable, whether delivered by new entrants or incumbents.”

Google recently released Chromecast that allows mobile devices to share content to TVs via wireless. Sony and Google have been working to develop Internet-based video delivery services, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apple first released its Apple TV streaming device in 2007, and is rumored to be integrating DVR storage, iCloud syncing and Siri-like voice capabilities in future devices. Microsoft will also sell the Xbox One that will have voice recognition control features. Comcast is also creating its X2 software, calling it a new entertainment operating system, which will recommend content on live TV, work across devices, and support voice searching.

“I’ve never seen as much innovation in television as there is right now,” says Ulf Ewaldsson, chief technology officer at Swedish telecom-equipment giant Ericsson. Some of this growth is due to the increased use of high-speed Internet as a delivery system.

All of the companies working in this space will likely face challenges in negotiating rights to video content. But licensing problems should not stop long-term trends that will lessen the influence of TV incumbents, says James McQuivey of Forrester Research. “The business is very quickly shifting away from the people that have controlled it forever.”

Related Story:
Why Intel and TiVo Are Cautious on New TV Interaction, The Wall Street Journal, 7/30/13