Futuring TV – A Look Ahead

December 2012

Futuring TV – A Look Ahead

With the Consumer Electronics Show (“CES”) less than a month away, I have begun wondering what the biggest TV reveal will be this year and what the buzz will be for the future of content delivery, display technologies and related topics.

It will be interesting to see what the major manufacturers, second tier companies and the range of others that feed the industry announce and present at CES.  Improved voice and gesture control are sure to be front and center as smart TVs and smartphones get smarter.

Surely there will be some surprise announcements from not only the majors, but also from the start up and early stage community, products that are innovative and may potentially disrupt the ecosystem.

We expect to see more 4K TVs and more 8K TVs than just the one Sharp 8K that was introduced last year and which created lot of buzz on the floor.  Camera systems are already coming to market to support the next generation or is that a subsequent, but not next generation?

Given the work we have done in 3D and the CES 3D panel I moderated last year, I am left wondering if “most flat panel TVs will be 3D enabled” as was postulated last year, will occur.  Somehow I do not think 2013 is the year for that.

This will be the first year that Microsoft will not be an exhibitor.  Given the decline in their market share over the past year for Windows devices, especially with the less than spectacular introduction of the Surface tablet and the continual rise of Android into an almost dominating position, it remains to be seen if the decision was right.

Certainly a part of their reasoning was their need to announce and release product throughout the year.  It can also be argued that perhaps their strongest product “today” is the Xbox, not just due to its significant position in video game play, but its position as an over the top device for streaming media to the TV.

In the next year or two, some might argue and we would have to agree, that due to that fact alone, the Xbox is perhaps more important to Microsoft than Windows or Office, although Office still works better than other word processing, spreadsheet and presentation products, even with the some of the others at a fraction of the price and in some cases, free.

The recent Disney Netflix announcement is indeed a game changer, using the words that Netflix executives have used.  With streaming media taking over in that release window in 2016, it is just a matter of time, as we have said before, that the cable and telco bundles will be de-bundled.

In time, one of the innovative providers will come to market with an acceptable pricing model.  Maybe they will get it right the first time, or maybe they will need to tweak it a bit.  There are just too many cord cutters and cord shavers and perhaps most importantly, there is a large wave of cord nevers that are moving into position and will be a formidable force in time.

Given the widely discussed sports portion of our TV bills, and the proliferation of national and regional sports channels, one cannot help but wonder when Disney will follow the Netflix deal by beginning to price both ESPN and ABC and their other channels differently.  Whether they do it proactively or reactively to a competitor’s first move remains to be seen.

Google Fiber in Kansas City has gotten high marks from what we read in the press.  It is probable that if the Google service is successful that the other internet service providers will upgrade their infrastructures as well.  While this may prompt some to increase their access fees, customers may be willing to pay more for access at higher speeds, but that might need to be offset at least in part by lower programming charges.  This might be tied into the shift to ala carte pricing.

This will have an impact on the advertising component as well.  The current TV season has been heavily influenced by the time shifting that is occurring with many programs, working for some and not for others.

With US DVR penetration in the 50% range, ratings are computed for same day and for programs watched in the first three days, known as C3.  It is probable that the next move will be to C7 and in time, perhaps within the 2016 Disney – Netflix kickoff date to “whenever” as VOD will dominate the future.

While there are many advertisers who have time sensitive needs, movie releases being an obvious example, those slots could be used for other ads in inventory a week later or a month later or even much further out and depending on many factors, could be priced accordingly, with accordingly not necessarily meaning lower or spot pricing.  The great DVR in the sky would know and be able to track that carefully.  Privacy issues may ensue, but are they any different than what we are subject to today on the internet?

There is likely to be a confluence of all of these events.  In the end, it would be great if it was not one sided and we all benefitted as we look ahead.

As for The Shindler Perspective

VES – On December 1, 2012, the Visual Effects Society put on a vitally important panel on the topic of Understanding Unions: The Good, The Bad & Unknown Of Forming A Visual Effects Collective Bargaining Organization.  I was honored to be the moderator on this complex and polarizing topic.

Notwithstanding knowing it was a potential hornets’ nest, I agreed to moderate as we regularly deal with complex topics in our consulting practice and with a background that includes a major consulting/professional service firm, management roles at both major visual effects companies and major studios, I could lead a balanced discussion.

The VES has graciously provided links to members and non-members who were not able to attend.  These will be available for a limited time only for non-members.  If you are interested in streaming the event, please email me with “VES Panel” in the subject line.

Storage Visions – Digital storage is an increasingly important topic.  Petabytes are the new terabytes as the importance grows.  I have moderated panels at several prior Storage Visions and the related Creative Storage conferences.

Although I will not be appearing at the forthcoming Storage Visions in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel on January 6 & 7, 2013, we have arranged for our readers to obtain a $100 discount off the regular conference price using the link provided.

It is a great agenda.  Check it out!

In the Park Magazine – Recently, In the Park posted our Monitoring the Maturation with updates.  Theme parks continue to grow on a global basis, and this publication is one that is at the forefront.  Do not miss a chance to visit their site.

Futuring High Framerates – With the imminent release of the Hobbit in high frame rates, our recent newsletter on that topic has generated renewed interest.  If you did not read it the first time or would like to read it again in light of the ongoing press on the topic, it is available on our web site.

Trends in the Marketplace and Other

Broadband trend – It is not a secret that broadband usage continues to grow from both a fixed point and wireless point of view.  Reading recent stats from Sandvine in their Global Internet Phenomena Report: 2H 2012, put that trend square in front of our eyes for that time period.  Note the following:

  • Internet data usage is up by 120% in North America
  • Netflix continues to dominate North American fixed networks with 33% of bandwidth share
  • Asia is the world leader of mobile data consumption with monthly usage of 659 MB, up by 10% in the last 6 months
  • YouTube represents more than 20% of peak period downstream traffic on mobile networks in Europe

Do you know how much broadband you use?  Track it, you might be surprised.

Comics Reflect Reality – As we approach the end of the year and look to the new year, many companies are preparing their annual budgets and updates to their five year plans.  It is unfortunate that many companies do not seek an outside and independent perspective.  Check out this Real Life Adventures and let me know if this reflects your company.

In a similar vein, we suggest to clients that there are times when they must embrace change.  Perhaps it is a matter of definition.

For more trends in the marketplace, never looking back, thoughts on news items, forthcoming speaking engagements and comics reflect reality, follow me on Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter and Google +.   Click the links below for access.

Roberta and I wish our friends, clients and prospective clients a healthy and prosperous 2013.

For The Shindler Perspective, Inc.



Marty Shindler

Chief Executive Officer


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