Technological revolution has changed the game rules in many areas of the multimedia business. Particularly in the digital content distribution model. Changes started in 2007, when Apple’s and Google’s mobile apps markets were implemented. Music, books, e-learning, audiobooks. The next step was TV digital content market and Smart TV technology plus dedicated devices and services. Distinguishing factor is, that smart TV solution eliminates the set-top box for the streaming services, which are simply built into the TV. A smart TV is sometimes defined as hybrid TV or connected TV. In principle, most new TV’s of the top producers now are smart.

What is smart TV?

We can find several definitions. On a basic level, smart TV and media streamers make the same thing  – streaming digital content. But acting in a totally different manner. According to the TechMarket, a smart TV is a digital television that is an Internet-connected, storage-aware computer specialized for entertainment. All smart TVs support funcionalities like: Wifi, USB, Bluetooth, flash memory cards taken from digital cameras. They are connected via coaxial cable, HDMI, audio-video connections. They are integrated  with the OS (operational systems, f.e. iOS, Android) and mobile apps. All the connections enable to use on demand video services (VOD) and full access to digital content: pictures, music, video, entertainment braodcasts. Smart TV apps allow connection to the most popular global video websites: Youtube, Netflix, Hulu or Vimeo. They surely work with social media channels, such as: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. The technology also gest along with external equipment such as: Blu-ray players, game consoles, digital media players, hotel television, hospital television, sport clubs television and many others. The smart TV operating system is preloaded or available just through set-top box.

As PCMag defined, the greatest convergence for the user occurs when a multimedia devices like smartphone, tablet, PC and the TV work together. The smartphone and tablet kit, as mobile devices, is the most convenient way to enter data.  More and more people browse the Web and search for content on their TV sets. A smart TV may contain a browser for general Web surfing and additionaly be able to execute built-in or downloaded dedicated applications.

Some benefis offered by Smart TV

Smart TV provides complete home entertainment to the consumer. It offers everything that we could only imagine on digital TV. This can be defined as an extended version of the mobile smartphone. The applications which were earlier developed for smartphones now finding their market niche in smart TV category. Android, Apple which are one of the biggest players in the smartphone industry now getting a good exposure to the smart TV market. The only difference we can notice is that smartphone can be use by an individual consumer. Smart TV is to be used by a large audience. Smart TV has a really vast value chain. There are lots of players, devices, solutions with added value to the smart TV enviroment. Key elements of the whole value chain are: content creators (app developers, video-makers, aggregators, distributors, integrators, TV operators, and final users (customers).

What are benefits of using Smart TV? Let’s mention a few the most significant:

  • Smart TV devices and platforms: it’s one of the biggest concerns when choosing a new Smart TV. There’s no one best device and platform. The choice depends on needs and preferences. Some top 2016 examples: Samsung UE55KS9000, Samsung UE65JU6000K (Smart Hub, Tizen OS); SonyKD-65XD9305, Sony KD-55XD9305 (Android TV); Panasonic TX-65DX902B, Panasonic TX-50DX750 (Firefox OS); LG 49UF770V, LG 55EG920V (WebOS); TCL Roku TV, 4K TCL Roku TV (Roku TV). In this category you can also quote streaming devices. The best worldwide selling products are: Apple TV, Roku 3, Roku 4, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, NVidia Shield Android TV.
  • Smart TV Apps: web or mobile application can be preloaded into the device, updated or installed on demand via an dedicated app store or app marketplace. There is a very range selection of apps on the market, from movie streaming to mu, sic, games, lifestyle services. Some of the most popular: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Playstation Now, YouTube, Spotify, Samsung Apps.
  • Web browsing: Most smart-TV models are Internet-ready and have built-in web browsers which allow to surf the Internet and view web pages, photos, videos, broadcasts, video streaming.
  • Additional services: Smart-TV brands offer additional services to differentiate their smart TVs from the competition, such as customisable homescreens and recommendations of things to watch based on your personal tastes.

Market forecasts are very optimistic. According to a new market research report „Global Smart TV Market”, published by MarketsandMarkets (www.marketsandmarkets.com ), the total smart TV market is expected to reach $265 billion by 2016. The unit shipment is expected to reach 153.2 million by the end of 2016 from 64 million in 2011.  IHS research shows that smart TV market is dominated by China. Ex-leader, USA market, still surges.

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Source: Connected TV penetration trend by region/ IHS

Smart TV shipments will reach 109 million in 2016, then rising to 134 million in 2020. According to the IHS researchers more than three-quarters of televisions in China were shipped with smart functionality in 2015. In North America the popularity of the all smart attributes  surged from 36 to 48 percent.