The world of online video is rapidly developing, with an exponential expansion of smartphones and tablets. This present problems and opportunities for online video publishers. There will soon be more smartphone screens than televisions in some markets, but many players seem poorly prepared.
Television as we know it will be redefined by the smartphone and the tablet, with future viewing experiences ranging from handheld screens to wall-sized multiscreen environments, all connected to ever more capable networks. A characteristically provocative new report from Rethink Research suggests that sales of the traditional television display are destined to decline, while viewers will be taking to tablets as secondary screens.
The Advanced Television Systems Committee in the United States has promoted to a candidate standard a new specification for Interactive Services. The A/105:2013 standard is a lengthy specification with some similarities to the European Hybrid broadcast broadband TV standard but needless to say intended primarily for the American market. It is a rather strange document that does little to promote the proposition. Despite the apparent detail it is still insufficient to define a compatible receiver specification.
While nearly all households in Europe can access basic broadband services, significant challenges still remain in delivering higher speed broadband to all. The aim is to offer speeds of at least 30 megabits per second for all by 2020. The European Union is more than half way to that target, with next generation access available to 113 million EU households, around 54%, at the end of 2012, up from 48% at the end of 2011. There is still a long way to go.
Bundled subscriptions, including pay television, broadband and fixed-line telephony on a single bill, will reach a third of a billion homes by 2018, an increase of nearly 210 million on the 2013 total. That is the latest forecast from Digital TV Research. Total subscription revenues for so-called triple-play services will rise from $78 billion in 2013 to $144 billion in 2018.
The first of a number of new local television stations has gone on air in the United Kingdom. Estuary TV in Grimsby will be available in the channel 8 slot on Freeview digital terrestrial television. It represents a modest start to a range of channels that could provide another tier of broadcasting in Britain, but may already be missing the opportunities of the next generation of digital networks.