Interactivity Changes Radically – Is Embedded Middleware DEAD?


The Companion Screen is being exploited as an interactive device…It is an easy route as it is naturally connected to the Internet by WiFi…accessing WWW pages. So we can see Broadcasters & Network Operators and those that produce TV Content exploit this easy access to another device. Broadcaster and Network Operators use their existing IT infratructure to create portals and they have the Companion Screen ‘connect’ during the transmitted show! Easy, Low Cost interactivity!

So do we need DSMCC Object Carousels which work as slow as snails anymore? Do we need AIT and XAIT anymore? Is HbbTV dead before it launches? Do we need Red Button apps and heavy interactive Java Applications or do we just allow for the TV programme to be extended by Web-Access to Value Added Content on other screens that are bought in retail and carry standard Browsers?

It is an interesting point and one which will in effect change the landscape of many Companies who have been flogging the seemingly slow uptake of interactivity in embedded, proprietary and open-standard middleware! We are going from the old world to the new world which is in fact the old world of Web TV! LOL!

The Television Business and Return on Investment


Every Tom, Dick & Harry want to be in TV and offer TV Content Portals…Even Starbucks, Norwegian Pizza chains and a plethora TV Manufacturers are in the game. You cannot get a plumber or builder but you can easily find a geek to build you a TV Portal! Where is the ROI on these TV Portal activities? Does Philips, Sony, LG, Panasonic sell any more TVs in a saturated business because of a TV Portal? Apparently TV are NOT being connected to the Internet even though they are Connected TVs, Apps are what they are – fun for a while. Who knows because nobody will reveal their figures. 3DTV failed and is going away quietly, Cisco cutting back by shutting down a STB manaufacturing plant…Echostar brave enough to shut down its IPTV offering! What more is there to come? Will this be a catalyst for the realities of the need for ROI in the TV Business? Will we see more people like the CE manufacturers drop their fragmented and surely wasteful investment in a Connected TV service. The financial crisis is not over so we will certainly have to watch this space.

EVERYONE WANTS TO GIVE AWAY CONTENT FOR FREE – Starbucks Joins the Fray!


On a recent trip to Chicago I dropped into Starbucks for a coffee just an Espresso – In front of me was someone that ordered a Grande Cinammon Dolce Latte with Sugar free Buttery Brown flavoured syrup, non-fatwhipped cream and sprinkles…arghhh, ONLY IN AMERICA!

Anyhow that is not the point of this article. As I was queuing I noticed some leaflets and picked one up. I was drawn to the Starbucks Digital Networks with the offer of FREE Premium Content – In partnership with Yahoo! A Cafeteria that offers expensive flamboyant coffee mixtures, cakes and sandwiches is now offering Digital Entertainment! In Norway its the Pizza chain, and so it goes. What once was the premise of the Broadcasters and Operators is now being fragmented, spread and diluted. Is this the right way to go? Only Time will tell

The Shifting Sands of the Digital TV Industry


Are your exhausted, disgusted, frustrated, befuddled, amused or enthused at the daily ups and downs in the broadband industry?  A LINKEDIN Discussion

It’s a MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD World if you follow the broadband industry. Barriers are falling, borders are reshaping, allegiances are changing.

I really love that there is always optimism spouting forth when debates arise and that rarely you get anyone contributing in a rational manner, even negative manner for people are afraid to tell it as it is anymore.  Especially on open fora such as this  – BTW I am not being rude to anyone…Not at all!   Just noted that the LINKEDIN fora are somewhat restrained due to Big Brother fear.

Back to point: In fact the answer to this point really does depend on where your Company stands in times of disruption and turmoil.  If your Company is the water that shifts the sands you are the cause and are in power…If you are the sand and being shifted all the time then it is a different response as you are powerless.  There are ways to anchor yourself but it means a fight to stand strong against a disruptive wave that might when things calm down see you in the same position weaker or stronger than before.  We have seen this in Digital TV Technology … Many projects and initiatives around new-technologies have been launched.  I have been in Companies that have been the sand being shifted and we found ourselves shifted somewhere else a short time later and shifted again…The TV industry at present is chasing rainbows (but using technology to do it) in order to get that pot of gold but many times it is not there…sometimes it is and it is pure luck that lands you that pot of gold position today.

In the Digital TV world there is massive disruption because of technology advancements.  In fact there is a huge problem in technology leap frogging (shifting sands) as well as over supply of new and better mousetraps by a myriad of new Companies, who when asked to supply in mass quantity suddenly realise the dificulty that is scalability in technological and Corporate terms…a Digital Technology runaway train that simply is, in the main, irrational when it comes to business acumen…a Business that should like all businesses obtain ROI and Profitability.

I will give an example – Black and White TV, Colour TV, High Definition Analogue, Standard Definition Digital, High Definition Digital, 3DTV…Ultra High Definition TV, Super Ultra High Definition TV … Hologram TV…TV Everywhere…For the same mass eyeballs that watch TV between the limited hours of 6-midnight.  Terrestrial, Cable, Satellite, IPTV, WebTV, OTT, TV Everywhere…on all devices…even the Fridge gets a mention…

Analogue HD failed, 3DTV is a waste of investment as it turns out, UHDTV what for?  To keep TVEngineers in work …  We have seen masses of Companies chase a technology – BluCom at Astra  – Business model failed, Public Service Broadcaster DTT interactiveTV – Business Model Failed.  IPTV – MULTI Billions of dollars investment for a very small % of TV subscribers in comparison to Broadcast TV.     Good ROI – Dont think so.  Now Connected TV is the Valhalla, so was WebTV which failed not because web was weak in them days but the cost of Customer Support was ignored…Sony last week tried to justify “carriage charges” for its Connected TV platform to Broadcasters who already ship the same Content to a TV antenna for no carriage charge … Business model not thought out or ignored.  There are too many other examples to write here.   In the main as one technology tries to mature another pops up to distract the CTO and he runs around like a headless chicken too frightened to ignore it in case it is the next big thing and to frightened to invest in case it isnt.

Why are CE manufacturers becoming Broadcasters?  Because they have run out of market…The TV is a commodity and we all have a couple or 3.  So what do they do next?  Tesco becomes a Broadband provider and a Bank … etc. etc.

So as it stands some of us are trying to ride the tide of technologies,  anchored in the fundamentals we try to keep our head above water in the hope that some of these waves pass by without damaging the foothold we have…We adapt for sure but we have also been victime of wastage, massive distractions and money has not been wisely spent…Whilst everyone else is trying to be in everyone elses’ business we will see in the not too distant future consolidation and the “nettoyage” that is borne of technology bubbles…or we may just float away taken by the wind, forever changing direction and not ever reach the end goal.  Or we wont!