IBC 2010 – AMSTERDAM. Before the end of the year, two service providers and two consumer electronic retail products will roll out in Europe with Intel’s Smart TV.
“Next year is going to be massive,” according to Paul Tapp, consumer electronics product manage EMEA, Intel, speaking to Broadband TV News. First, there is of course the much publicised launch of the UPC all singing, all dancing box featuring the Atom chip. “And there will be 12 OEM consumer electronics brands including pretty much all of the big TV OEMs.”
Then both Sony and Logitech will roll out their Google TV products with Smart TV in Europe, as announced by Google’s Eric Schmidt at this year’s IFA.
Products will include TV sets, stand alone set-tops, Blu-ray players, PVRs and other devices. The features will vary, but all of the devices will be able to stream video from the open internet and combine that with video from traditional sources such as satellite, DTT, cable or IPTV, depending on the manufacturer or service provider.
On the Intel stand, demos include a very graphic “EPG” showing a picture based scroll wheel or ‘video wall’. This is a far cry from the traditional text-based EPG-grid. Content can originate from any source, from the service provider, the open web or can sit on a local hard disk.
On an Animo box we saw xmbc running with all its apps including the YouTube Leanback ‘experience’. And a home gateway device allows streaming video content to various devices across the home including a ‘normal’ TV set, a laptop or a game console, a PS3 in this instance.
A lot of the success of Smart TV will depend on the user interface, “We need to get that right”, said Tapp, “we now see a big change in their design with gesture and voice recognition.”
Research carried out on behalf of Intel among focus groups around Europe showed that there are three ‘jiller apsps’ on the television, “And number 1 is TV, peolple want to watch TV on their TV, said Tapp, “secondly, people want to watch TV that they missed, catch-up TV. And thirdly, people want TV that their friends watch.”
By combining television with internet, apps and a cleverly designed UI Smart TV hopes to address these wishes. Integrating social media on the TV screen will pose challenges, “This is not about showing Facebook on your TV screen.” On the stand we saw an interesting graphic solution, with the regular TV broadcast signal partly folded away making room on the right side of the screen for running social media apps.