Once our company has worked with advertising agencies on a targeted advertising system for GoogleTV. The advantages and benefits of targeted ads are obvious. For instance, a TV in a waiting room for a doctor's office can display a commercial related to pharmaceuticals and medical services rather than a household cleaner commercial.
Imagine that by integrating TV with social networks we can give the users an ability to participate while watching a program, to share it with friends or comment it. Another use for Smart TV technologies could be parental control features for restricting access to explicit content. With Video on demand subscribers have unlimited access to the offered programs. Numerous games and applications already familiar to the audience from PCs and smartphones are soon to be available on television too.
Smart TV made its first appearance in external devices, so-called set-top boxes (STB), that connected to a television set. Most popular STB-devices are probably AppleTV and GoogleTV. As of today, many electronics manufacturers are embedding support for smart technologies into their products, mainly high-end television sets and Blu-ray player systems, but the technology starts to appear in models with lower price-tag too. Additional "smart" features for those device include the ability to interact with other consumer electronic devices, to connect various "smart" devices together.
Interaction of devices is currently implemented by using the DLNA technology that allows connecting PCs, cell phones, laptops and home appliance devices into a single network. DLNA-compliant devices may automatically connect to the home network, bringing the home automation concept closer to the end user.
Let's talk about several well-known Smart TV platforms, that are widely used by manufacturers.
AppleTV, a set-top box device
AppleTV is a set-top box that supports online TV services like Netflix, YouTube, Flickr и MobileMe and has an option to watch TV shows from ABC, ABC Family, BBC America, Disney Channel and Fox channels.
GoogleTV, set-top boxes and built in devices
The Google TV platform was developed by Google, Intel, Sony and Logitech. It is based on the Android OS and includes Google Chrome browser with Adobe Flash support. This makes the entire range of video and web content available to the user. GoogleTV supports YouTube, Twitter, Netflix и Hulu.
The OpenTV technology is used by a number of digital television services, including NTV Plus. The latest OpenTV software version is 5.0. This is another emerging techonology with high potential.
OpenTV 5 is built on top of Linux operating system and recent internet technologies, such as HTML5, combined with NAGRA core digital television components. It provides an extensive set of features such as interactive program guides, on-demand video, personal video recording, enhanced TV, interactive shopping, interactive advertising and addressable advertising, games and other consumer and communication oriented applications.
HbbTV — Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV
HbbTV is a technology that allows access to Internet content while watching satellite, cable or digital TV. It should be noted that major channel networks have already integrated HbbTV in their broadcasts. HbbTV support appears in satellite receivers like Humax or VideoWeb, and is starting to appear in TV sets with recent firmware updates. Philips, Loewe и Sharp are among the early adopters of this technology.
Smart TV stimulates further development of television. Though the concept itself is in early stages of development, it's quickly progressing. Television is integrated with the internet, telephony, social networks, games, banking and financial operations, etc. Not surprisingly, this technology is already attracting application developers, media service providers and advertising agencies.