Archive for TV Industry

Is curved TV the future?

Article written by Sid Solomon

LG and Samsung believe that curve TV is the future direction of the TV industry. So they are coming up with large curved screens including LG 55EA980W OLED model and Samsung’s UE65H8500 model UHD LED and UE55H800 full HD LED model.


Beside its cool factor, the best argument for curved TV is it provides a “wrap around” view enhancing your peripheral vision and draws you more into what you are watching. The curving also provides a false sense of 3D yet you are watching 2D. This is due to the perception of depth of what you are watching. Curving also brings images closer to you and promoters of curved TV argues that light is more focused on you compared to flat screens. It tracks curvature of your eye better than any other screen. With 70 inches and more coming to the market, this fact will be proven in the future.

However, opponents of curved TVs are not convinced that it is the future of TV technology. They argue that curve limits your viewing angles and exaggerates reflections by stretching and distorting the picture over wider area. The only best view point is right in front of the center of the TV and the new curved TVs cost far more than larger flat screens available in the market.

New way to watch TV programming

Just concluded 2014 FIFA world Cup in Brazil presented a challenge to groups who held rights to broadcast games worldwide. ESPN had rights to English-language broadcasting in the United States and ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC together managed to broadcast all 64 games live. Not only that all games were also available on smartphones, laptops and tablets too. ESPN3 charged a fee for each subscriber to carry games on streaming media and Internet based devices were able to watch all games live.

This sets a precedent for how future games are broadcast. With more and more people are using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, demand for streaming live will be enormous. Major League Baseball as well as National Football League games will be streamed on smart devices in the future. The Major League Baseball Advanced Media known as BAM is expecting to generate more than 80 percent of its annual revenue from live streaming. In TV broadcasting a 30 second delay is advised in order to avoid objectionable material. Within the same time period live broadcasting will be available on devices capable of catching live streaming. This will change the way we watch TV programming in coming years.

Comcast with 23 million television subscribers is offering to buy Time Warner Cable, the second biggest cable TV provider in the US with 11 million subscribers, for $45 billion. The deal needs regulatory approval from the US Federal authorities and both companies are expecting that to occur before the end of the year. If approved, it will make Comcast the country’s dominant provider of TV, Internet and other services to one in every three homes. Comcast will have 30 million customers after making adjustments to comply with expected potential impacts that will be reviewed by the authorities. It will help Comcast to better compete with satellite providers including DirecTV, wireless phone services from AT&T, and streaming services from Netflix. It will also allow Comcast more negotiating power with cable channel owners such as The Walt Disney Company and Time Warner. Time Warner Cable has been separated from Time Warner since 2009 and operating as a separate company.

Time Warner Cable has been losing customers in recent months and received a low score last spring from the American Customer satisfaction Index. It was involved in protracted blackout with CBS and Showtime recently and lost millions of subscribers. Comcast on the other hand has its own software and customers could benefit from a buyout.

In January 2012, Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP announced that it is funding up to $300 million to Ryan Seacrest Media to develop new content and television shows. Ryan Seacrest is the producer and host of the Fox reality TV show American Idol. In 2002, he began as a co-host of the show and a year later became the host of the show. More than 26 million watch the weekly show. In April 2012 he signed a $30 million contract to stay as the host of the show for two years and American Idol XIII is in full swing at this time.

Since 2004, he is also hosting numerous radio shows. He took over the American Top 40 from Casey Kasem in January 2004. In the same year he became the host of the Los Angeles based KIIS’s morning show replacing Rick Dees and the show is broadcast over 150 stations in North America.

In 2005, Ryan Seacrest became the executive producer and the co-host of the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Since Dick Clark’s debilitating medical issues and April 2012 death, he is hosting much of the show now. The 40th show attracted more than 22.6 million viewers giving the show number one spot.

Before the end of the year 2014, Apple is getting ready to release a new updated version of its set-top TV box. According to Bloomberg News it may even come as early as April 2014 since the new version is well into its testing. This version will have a faster processor, revamped operating system more closely aligned with iOS, new content and may contain software to house App Store and third party developers, and upgraded interface. Many expect updated gaming software from the new version to allow games to be directly downloaded onto the TV without having to go through an iOS device. The existing version of Apple set-top box sells for $99 and the pricing information for the new release is not yet available. The first Apple TV set-top box was released in 2007. Today it faces stiff competition from smaller and less expensive devices from Google Chromecast, Roku Streaming Stick and much rumored Amazon device.

According to some published reports, Apple is also negotiating with Time Warner and others to add video content. Yet the news is still a disappointment for those who are waiting for Apple TV for a long time.

Roku is a familiar name among fans those who loves streaming video because they were the first to provide a device to view over the television. It makes a small puck-size box used for viewing video streamed over the Internet on viewer’s television set. Cost of the box varies from $50 to $100. According to the company they sold more than five million set top boxes in the U.S. during last five years. Since the introduction of Netflix broadband broadcast in 2008, Roku benefited more than any other in the U.S. for viewing streaming videos on living room television sets.

Roku is under attack by many. The main competitor to Roku is Apple and it claims that it sold 13 million Apple TV devices worldwide so far. Due to iTunes, iPads, iPhones and others, Apple has the advantage over Roku to reach more customers in the U.S. and worldwide. Besides Apple, there are others who compete in the streaming video arena. Google stream broadband video through Chrome browser or apps and cost only $35. Video game consoles especially Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony PlayStation allows Netflix’s apps and other video rental and purchase options.

The fifth largest network in the U.S. and most popular Spanish-language television network, Univision, is gearing up for an October 28, 2013 launch of a new 24-hour English news channel known as Fusion. Univision went on the air in 1962 as the Spanish International Network and changed the name to the current Univision in 1986. Its market share has been increasing over the last four years where all four major networks, CBS, Fox, NBC and ABC have seen their share of the market declining. It claims that it captures 96 percent of the Spanish speaking population in the United States. The Fusion is intended to cater to 18 to 34-year olds and it is a joint venture with ABC. Fusion will be headquartered in Doral, a Miami suburb closer to the Univision headquarters. The new program is estimated to cost $275 million.

Why an English programming from the mainly Spanish network at this time? It thinks its audience has changed within the last two decades. It believes that there is a Latino generation that speaks mostly English than Spanish. On the other hand, the Hispanic population in the U.S. now accounts for more than 43 percent.

The National Football League (NFL) is about to start its 2013 Football season. That means millions of Americans will be glued to the TV, especially on Sundays. More than 100 million households subscribe to pay TV, most of them to watch NFL. More than two million Americans pay over $300 per season to watch every game on Sunday Ticket on DirecTV. It brings in $450 to $600 million of revenue for Direct TV. Games on satellite or cable are the choices for many to watch NFL today and it generates over $160 billion a year for them.

It is no secret why others such as Google are trying to get in the action. NFL games via the Internet have been discussed for some time. Viewers are waiting for some time for now for a lower cost alternative to watch TV. There are still many obstacles for TV over the Internet. Download speeds is one of them and upgrades to broadband may make it possible sooner than later. The Internet also needs a willing partner. Instead of competing with cable and satellite most logical way to get TV on the Internet may be to partner with them.