Which platform will lead OTT TV

Who will steal an early lead on OTT TV platforms

Below is a sample of the contribution BCi made to a recent industry report investigating the factors influencing which OTT TV (Over the Top TV) platform is likely to be favoured by consumers.

Q – What do you think of the Google TV and Apple TV product/services?  Do either of the products present a clear competitive advantage?

BCi: Apple’s early foray into the TV space wasn’t very successful and they would have learnt from that. Through iTunes they also have vast experience in the presentation and monetisation of online content. This is likely to present them with an advantage over Google TV. There’s also a certain cache associated with Apple products and services, the same cannot be readily said about Google. Perhaps this gives a clue to how they might position it in the market; Google on no frills but very efficient and Apple leading on the look & feel and experience?

Q – Do you any of the existing OTT devices — whether it be a set-top box, connected TV, gaming console — strike you as technologically superior to the competition? Along those lines, which OTT system is best equipped to add additional applications and which has the best streaming capabilities?

BCi: Ultimately consumers will want a unified service. This doesn’t mean a single device but it seems logical that a Connected TV will be at the heart of it and it will provide the primary consumption of linear and on demand content. It may also be used as the configuration for any other devices and act as the crystallising device. A player who has a Connected TV with seamless integration of other devices and access to great content will be better placed than most.

Q – How long before we see widespread consumer adoption of OTT technology?

BCi: What’s widespread? Country by country the picture will be different. In the UK the catch up TV services from the PSB’s have, arguably, made Over the Top TV mainstream – a problem well known to the ISP’s. IT’s probably going to be more activity like iplayer and the likes that acts as the catalyst for adoption.

Q – Will consumers replace their Playstations and Xboxes with OTT set-top boxes?

BCi: Not for years, but maybe within 5. Games consoles are too specialised at the moment and trying to dump all that processing power onto the STB would result in a poor gaming experience.

Q – How significant is the OTT threat to cable/satellite providers? What can they do to compete?

BCi: This is the biggest threat they have had to face. Until now they have sat in the privileged position of owning/managing the network, creating their content deals and locking in customers with subscriptions. Net result for the consumer is a prescribed set of content with no prospect of moving beyond the boundaries of that Operator. Over the Top TV promises so much more, although they have to be careful not to follow the same pattern as the Operators. They can and will fight back though. The Operators will have to find ways to leverage the fact they have a ‘managed’ network and perhaps lead on offering service guarantees that cannot be offered over an unmanaged network.

Q – As consumer electronics manufactures continue to design OTT options directly into TVs, Blu-Ray players, etc., how significant is the market for specialty OTT set-top boxes?

BCi: There’s always a gap between technical/service innovation and the speed at which it can consumed. This is true in the TV where consumers are not willing to replace a TV simply for a enhanced feature (like OTT TV), they are likely to wait and fill the gap with an STB.