Gone are the days when chip makers just made chips. Today’s increasingly sophisticated consumer electronics products, like flat panel internet-connected 3D TVs and location-aware digital cameras, are now integrally linked to the exponentially growing digital entertainment ecosystem.
As one of the few companies that can provide complete end to end semiconductor solutions for today’s advanced digital TVs – and especially tomorrow’s – CSR is working closely with the industry leaders that are shaping the TV entertainment experience of the future. Similarly, as the global leader in providing digital still and video camera processing chips, together with GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, CSR is providing complete solutions for Full HD video capture with the highest level of audio quality, and real-time sharing these via the internet – for iReporters and budding movie producers; as well as the rest of us.
Digital Hollywood – held this fall in Marina Del Rey, California on October 17-20th, 2011 – is one of the premier conferences where industry experts from throughout the digital entertainment ecosystem come together to share achievements and debate visions for the future of the industry. Attendees include representatives of companies – both startups as well as a who’s who list of major corporations – all the way from content creators, owners, aggregators and distributors to the major consumer electronics brands and their technology suppliers like CSR, with everyone in between.
CSR was represented on two panels. Stuart McKechnie, from Corporate Strategy and Business Development, participated on the Tuesday panel on “Over the Top TV – Content and the Consumer Experience – New Technologies as Gateway to the New Hollywood”. Anthony Simon, from CSR’s Home Business Area, was on the Wednesday panel on “Inventing TV 2.0 – Defining the Set Top, Connected TV, Tablet & Smartphone Downloadable Consumer Experience”.
In an industry as vibrant and dynamic as digital entertainment, a conference like Digital Hollywood never results in clear consensus about where the industry is headed. Every issue addressed generally raises at least as many new questions. Though, from our perspective, a few trends are clear.
- The “traditional” service operator model – supplying typically hundreds of TV channels via satellite, digital cable or DSL – is under pressure from internet-supplied content. Internet service providers and operators alike are hurrying to pull together competitive IP content offerings, while many content owners are quietly making plans to provide content directly to consumers. As the industry redefines itself, at least the consumer will come out as winner!
- The STB is increasingly sharing content access with a growing range of interconnected devices both inside and outside the home. Connected TVs, tablets, games consoles, smart phones, PCs, gateway servers and even cars, are becoming connected home entertainment “devices”, and wireless control and interconnectivity – particularly with WiFi and Bluetooth – are becoming essential capabilities.
- Increasingly, consumers are purchasing these connected devices from Consumer Electronics brands via retail, rather than from service operators as part of a monthly subscription.
- As the internet is dramatically increasing the range and diversity of available content, search and discovery – that is finding what it is you want to watch, when often you don’t even know it – is becoming an increasingly difficult challenge. Both User Interface technologies, as well as underlying Artificial Intelligence technologies aimed at identifying consumer preferences are undergoing major upgrades. Touch screens, voice recognition, gesture control and NFC are just some of the technologies being utilized.
- Online content also presents challenges and opportunities for advertisers. Online video advertizing represents one of the fastest growing sectors of the $170 billion TV advertising industry (Source: MagnaGlobal, 2011). As with TV, Consumers are increasingly accepting on-line video advertizing in order to receive free content. For example, in the US alone, there were around 25 billion views annually of Digital Video ads, growing rapidly. The advertizing industry is looking towards technology providers to help improve the effectiveness of online / interactive advertizing by including various technologies in devices.
Whichever content and advertizing models prevail, as internet video continues to grow in importance, CSR is well positioned to support our OEM and ODM customers in developing connected entertainment devices.