Why Smart TVs give smartphone operating systems a second chance

"Smart TVs are set to become an increasingly important category of consumer electronic device. Like smartphones, they will become hubs of content/service/advertising ecosystems."

Prior to the event's opening day, CES 2015 in Las Vegas hosted a series of press events by some of the biggest Asian consumer electronics companies, in which they set out some of their new wares.

Smart TVs featured prominently among the new products, and several vendors announced that in future they would be basing their smart TVs on operating systems (OS) that started life in smartphones.

LG will be using WebOS; Samsung will be using Tizen; Panasonic will be using Firefox OS; and Sony will be using Android TV.

According to John Delaney, Associate VP, Mobility – IDC, smartphones are one of the biggest consumer electronic product categories, and they are also the hubs of ecosystems through which an increasing amount of content and media is consumed.

"Nowadays, the smartphone market comprises (to a good approximation) three North American companies whose devices use their own OS, and a collection of Asian companies whose devices use another American company's OS," he says.

"That matters, because an increasing amount of a smartphone's value resides not in its hardware, but in the ecosystem of apps, content and advertising which is founded on the device's OS.

"This puts the owner of the OS in a powerful position to shape the ecosystem's development, and to receive a share of the money that passes through it."

Smart TVs

Delaney says that while TV sets also started to get smart a few years ago, smart TVs took a while to catch on because of practical difficulties in connecting them to the internet, and because of the relative dearth of content and services to make the TVs' smartness valuable.

"But now those obstacles are largely gone, and smart TVs are set to become an increasingly important category of consumer electronic device," he explains.

"Like smartphones, they will become hubs of content/service/advertising ecosystems."

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