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The Race for the 4K Television Audience

Video        Molly Wood        The New York Times        10 October 2014


Retailers are soon going to be making

a big push for 4K televisions,

but the content is still lacking.


Molly Wood visits one company

that hopes to become the Netflix of 4K by being there first.


Produced by: Molly Wood and Vanessa Perez

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1neorZ9

Watch more videos at: http://nytimes.com/video





















Are You Ready for Television?

Collection: Ad*Access

Company: Allen B. DuMont Laboratories, Inc.

Product: Television

Publication: New Yorker

Publication Type: Magazine

Year: 1944

Number of Pages: 1

Subject: Television--DuMont


Item Number: TV0073


Duke University

















Steve Nease



23 May 2012


For nearly nearly 30 years until 2008,

Steve Nease was the art director

at The Oakville Beaver,

producing regular editorial cartoons

and his family comic strip, Pud.














television        USA





have a television        USA






TV        USA






TV set





television set





remote control        UK






 death of the analogue television set        UK        6 July 2010






flat screen










3-D TV        USA






 4K Television






Internet-enabled televisions        USA






apps for television        USA






digital switchover        UK






remote control / remote










screen        UK
































broadcast TV        USA












over-the-air broadcast era        USA










broadcaster        UK










broadcasting        USA



















Portable Television Set

Date taken: October 1948


Photographer: George Skadding


Life Images


















TV happiness shared by all the family!

Collection: Ad*Access

Company: Motorola Inc.

Product: Model 17F6

Publication: Time

Publication Type: Magazine

Year: 1951

Number of Pages: 1

Subject: Television--Motorola




Item Number: TV0213


Duke University

















In Search of Apps for Television


April 27, 2012

The New York Times




The same consumers who delight in navigating the iPad still click frustratingly through cable channels to find a basketball game. Their complaint: Why can’t television be more like a tablet?

The technology industry is trying to address that question for the millions of customers ready to embrace the next generation of viewing options. In the process it could transform the clunky cable interface, with its thousands of channels and a bricklike remote control, into a series of apps that pop up on the television screen.

While still in its early stages, the idea has taken off among tech-loving consumers, and companies are trying to satisfy them. Already, apps for Hulu Plus, Netflix and Wal-Mart’s Vudu streaming service, among others, are built into Internet-enabled televisions. Devices like Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and the streaming video player Roku let viewers watch apps that mimic channels. New sets by Samsung and others come with built-in apps loaded with television shows, movies and sports.

Apple has a video player called Apple TV with apps to Netflix, Major League Baseball and other content. Many media executives predict Apple will ultimately enter the television market in a more aggressive way, with either a new set-top box or an Apple-made TV set. Both would rely on apps scattered across the screen as they are on the iPad. Apple declined to comment.

“I’ve told my bosses, ‘This is beachfront real estate. Buy in now,’ ” Lisa Hsia, executive vice president of digital media at NBCUniversal’s Bravo channel, said of developing TV apps.

A model built around TV apps, however, could let viewers use favorite apps on the screen on an á la carte basis, thus bypassing cable subscriptions and all the extraneous channels they don’t watch. And therein lies the tension that has the television industry delicately assessing how to balance the current system with an Internet-based future that some feel is inevitable.

“The question that hasn’t yet been answered is whether television viewing will consist of a single app that mimics the pay TV bundle or a series of different apps that together form a content experience,” said Jon Miller, the chief digital officer at News Corporation, which owns Fox Broadcasting and cable channels like Fox News and FX.

Ŕ la carte apps would upend the entrenched and lucrative economics of television, which have long relied on a system in which cable customers pay for channels even if they don’t watch them.

The so-called bundle setup helps little-watched channels bring in revenue from monthly cable fees and allows the most popular channels to get high fees from every subscriber, even the ones who don’t watch them.

The idea of undermining this model is so sensitive that media executives who think that apps are the future of television would not discuss the subject publicly, for fear of disturbing their cable and satellite partners.

But many analysts caution against predicting the near-term demise of cable and satellite delivery, pointing out that the spending and viewing habits of consumers are also firmly entrenched.

“The model we have is the model we have, and while it’s tempting to imagine an app for TNT and an app for ESPN, that’s not the likely outcome,” said Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. Ŕ la carte apps might seem like a bright idea, Mr. Moffett said, but it is unlikely consumers would pay $20 a month for individual channels when the traditional cable bundle provides a bargain price.

Currently, most TV apps created by networks work on an authentication model that requires cable subscribers to log in before gaining access to a channel’s app. The handful of apps already available on television screens also largely require a cable subscription.

For the most part, the apps being offered today are intended as complements to traditional TV viewing and are available only on tablets and mobile devices. For instance, NBC Sports will soon introduce its NBC Olympics Live Extra app, which will allow subscribers to stream every Olympic event from London this summer. It is available only on iPads, tablets and other mobile devices, not on TV screens through Xbox or Roku.

“No one on the digital side wants to take away audience from the TV,” said Rick Cordella, vice president and general manager for NBC Sports Digital.

Time Warner’s HBO still relies heavily on the cable bundle because it does not have the customer service or sales force of a company like Comcast or Time Warner Cable. But HBO Go does allow subscribers to have access to the pay channel’s library of almost every series, movie, documentary and heavyweight fight directly on the TV screen, via the Xbox.

“The HBO Go app is seen as a doorway into the entire world of HBO programming,” said Eric Kessler, co-president at HBO. “That adds tremendous value to the subscription.”

As such, HBO Go could help the channel lay the groundwork to eventually break out on its own on an ŕ la carte basis, even if that might not happen soon, said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research. “HBO has the largest subscriber base of any video service in the world, but they know none of their customers by name,” Mr. McQuivey, said. “That will be a huge liability in the future. HBO knows that; that’s why they need a direct relationship.”

The ability of any channel to strike out on its own, even strong ones like HBO or the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN, remains problematic. ESPN makes about $5 a month from each of the country’s more than 100 million cable subscribers. If ESPN ever sold its live sports and talk shows directly to the consumer, it would need to charge several times that rate. “We have no plans to bisect our partnerships with distributors,” said Sean Bratches, the ESPN executive vice president for sales and marketing.

But just as with previous transformations in television, the economics will have to catch up as technology evolves, said Jeremy Allaire, chief executive of Brightcove, a technology firm based in Boston that builds apps for media companies.

By 2014, an estimated 89.5 million people in the United States will use tablet computers, up from 54.8 million users in 2012, according to the research firm eMarketer. “You have to achieve scale before the economics will work,” Mr. Allaire said. “But at some point, we think direct-to-consumer will be very important.”

That model may prove attractive to smaller cable channels, many of whom dislike how they are buried within the traditional electronic guides that viewers use to navigate their cable boxes.

Bigger cable channels may find it appealing as well. The head of digital strategy at one major channel said he was excited about the idea of having an app that sat on the home screen of a television. It would provide a “safer passage” to eventually sell the channel directly to customers, rather than through a cable package, said the executive, who declined to be identified to avoid upsetting the company’s cable partners.

Cable and satellite companies have sped up the development of their own TV apps in the hope that they will eventually mimic the set-top box. In an ideal cable industry model, customers will have one or two apps that offer hundreds of channels rather than dozens of apps for individual networks. “You download all these apps, and then you get app fatigue,” said Matt Strauss, Comcast Cable’s senior vice president for digital and emerging platforms.

“Apps create amazing experiences,” Mr. Strauss said. “But I believe most customers and households are still looking for an aggregated experience that’s intuitive and personalized.”

In Search of Apps for Television,
NYT, 27.4.2012,






A Bonanza in TV Sales Fades Away


January 5, 2011

The New York Times



LAS VEGAS — By now, most Americans have taken the leap and tossed out their old boxy televisions in favor of sleek flat-panel displays.

Now manufacturers want to convince those people that their once-futuristic sets are already obsolete.

After a period of strong growth, sales of televisions are slowing. To counter this, TV makers are trying to persuade consumers to buy new sets by promoting new technologies. At this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, which opens Thursday, every TV maker will be crowing about things like 3-D and Internet connections — features that have not generated much excitement so far.

Unit sales of liquid-crystal and plasma displays were up 2.9 percent in 2010 from the previous year, according to figures from the market researcher DisplaySearch. That is tiny compared with the gains of more than 20 percent in each of the prior three years.

Those heady days of the last decade were the result of an unusual set of circumstances. The rise of flat-panel television technologies like plasma and LCD almost perfectly coincided with a government-mandated switchover to digital broadcasting and the availability of high-definition shows and movies — something these new televisions were all ready to display.

That sparked a mass migration of consumers from using the old cathode-ray tube television sets to the thinner and lighter plasma and liquid-crystal displays.

“Those were the golden years,” Paul Gagnon, director of North American TV research at DisplaySearch, said. “During that period, the whole pie grew. Technology inflated the size of the category.”

But now, most people who want a flat-screen TV already own one. Industry watchers and manufacturers estimate that nearly two-thirds of households in the United States have a flat-screen set.

“The laggards are stubborn,” Mr. Gagnon said. “They will not move as quickly as the rest of the market has.”

The industry’s response has been to promote 3-D and Internet capabilities. But these were also the buzzwords at last year’s show, indicating that after a period of consistent innovation and improvement — from higher resolutions to thinner displays — the TV market is maturing and stabilizing.

“In the next decade, the rate of change may not be the same,” said James Sanduski, Panasonic’s senior vice president for sales. “That said, it will still be significant.”

So far, 3-D has not prompted a rush to upgrade. John Revie, senior vice president for home entertainment at Samsung, said 3-D had been saddled with a perception that it stumbled out of the gate, even though its introduction compared favorably with other technological introductions.

“More than one million 3-D TVs were sold in 2010,” he said. “But LED, HD and Blu-ray each sold less than a million in their first year.”

That said, Mr. Revie acknowledged the perceived shortfall. “Frankly, Samsung was hoping to drive a bigger market.”

Some feel that 3-D’s appeal will remain limited. Riddhi Patel, director for television systems and retail services at iSuppli, a market researcher, said the sales pitch for 3-D was a complicated one.

“Consumers are aware of the hidden costs,” Ms. Patel said. “It’s not just the display, but now you need a 3-D Blu-ray player and 3-D media and additional glasses.”

She also questioned the payoff. “When everyone markets 3-D to you, they talk about ‘Avatar’ and the theatrical experience,” she said. “When you have a 42-inch TV or even a 50-inch TV, it’s not the same experience.”

Internet features are now common in new TV models. But recent missteps by technology companies like Google with its Google TV service, as well as the often confusing mosaic of streaming and download providers, has left the market looking a little muddled.

“Every manufacturer has their own way” of dealing with Internet video, Mr. Sanduski said. “There’s not one standard.”

One way manufacturers are trying to make these features friendlier is by using Apple’s iPhone model, allowing outside companies like Netflix to develop applications that work on their displays. On Wednesday, Panasonic and LG announced new Internet TV platforms that will open up the interfaces of their sets to outside developers.

One big issue for TV makers is price. From 2007 to 2010, the average price of an LCD TV dropped 36.3 percent, according to DisplaySearch. Plasma TV prices had an even more precipitous decline, dropping 51.6 percent in the same period.

But those price drops have slowed recently, as manufacturers have gotten a handle on what had been an oversupply of product and have started to charge more for the new features.

“It’s kind of like having the auto industry trying to raise the prices of cars by 20 percent by adding all these options to every vehicle,” Mr. Gagnon said.

In another bright spot for TV makers, consumers seem willing to upgrade their sets more frequently than they did in the tube era, when it was not uncommon for them to use the same sets for a decade or more. “People held on to their TV like an appliance,” Mr. Sanduski said.

Analysts and TV makers now assume a five-to-seven-year replacement cycle for televisions. For the manufacturers, that may feel like an awfully long time. But it is only slightly longer than the cycle for PCs, which are replaced every three to four years. “There’s a little bit of fatigue,” Mr. Sanduski said. “Many consumers are saying, ‘I just bought a TV. I’m going to wait.’ ”

A Bonanza in TV Sales Fades Away,
NYT, 5.1.2011,










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