A few years ago, I thought TVs would die out, with computers and mobile devices taking over. There's been tremendous growth in video viewing on smartphones. Network equipment manufacturer Ericsson, claims that video traffic is growing at 60% annually. Data traffic doubled between 1Q2012 and 1Q2013 and is poised to grow 12-fold by 2018. Consumer electronics manufacturers have responded by making smart TVs with Internet connectivity and multiple connectors. With the right cable, you can connect your iPhone to a TV's HDMI or red/white/yellow video port.
Amazon has stepped up its game with the Kindle Fire HDX tablet and their Prime service that enables 41,000 movies and TV episodes to be streamed and 350,000 book titles to be borrowed for $79 a year. The smaller Kindle Fire HD offers exceptional value for $139.00. If your TV has an HDMI port, then plugging in a Kindle Fire is an easy way to view videos when you want them. A disadvantage of this approach is that videos are streamed, not downloaded, so you don't get to keep the videos.
Google's Chromecast is a $35 device that plugs into an HDMI port on a TV, connects to a WiFi network and gets power from an electric plug using a USB cable. It is controlled from a smartphone, tablet or computer.
Ooyala claims that 59% of US TV watchers can get video online. Currently, only 10% and 15% of TV viewing is happening online. However, this is rapidly increasing, meaning more people can watch exactly what they want, when they want it. For every hour of TV watching, adverts take up 16 minutes, on average, in the US. With smart TV and online program delivery, ads can be tailored to the individuals watching. Ooyala is helping video distributors understand a TV viewer's every move. They help engage viewers with interactive experiences.
Companies that manage and analyze videos using Ooyala's software and services, include Fox Sports, ESPN, Barnes and Noble, The North Face, Sephora, American Express, Dell and the Pac 12 college athletics organization. Smart TV manufacturers are also getting into the analytics game, working out what viewers want to see next. Amazon and Netflix are well-known for making recommendations, but soon every vendor showing up on your screen, be it TV, tablet or smartphone, will be telling you what to buy next.
If you are one of the 41% who don't have a smart TV, then there's plenty of ways to upgrade an existing HDTV set. Just watch how much you download, your "unlimited video" may now be metered ? you pay extra if you go above a set amount. For example, at 150GB/month on AT&T DSL and streaming around 1GB to 2GB/hour, you'd get 75-150 hours of viewing a month. Now if you work 40 hours a week, that's most likely over 160 hours/month. So let's hope you're below average in your viewing habits and work more than you watch online TV.