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2011: Convergence, content everywhere tests innovation cycle

Posted: 03 Jan 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:convergence? consumer electronics? networking? IPTV? MIMO?

2010 was a year of significant technological innovation and product launches, and 2011 promises more of the same aggressive pace for the electronics industry. Many of the challenges facing the industry will come from trying to keep up with demands generated from the overall trend of convergence in the consumer electronics market. Additionally, pay-TV providers and free-to-air broadcasters alike are either planning or deploying multi-screen strategies for a variety of strategic reasons.

Arguably, the ability to deliver and consume IP-based video is the backbone of these two overarching and somewhat overlapping trends. As a result, it prioritizes the need for bandwidth, connectivity, and performance across a range of converged devices, large and small. With more devices being called upon to perform more tasks, and integrating more functionality, the industry will increasingly be challenged to deliver solutions at the hardware and technology level that allow multitasked operation of audio, video, and communications within smaller form factors and packaging.

Regarding the subject of convergence itself, the real challenge may not actually come at the hardware level. According to my colleague at IMS Research, Anna Hunt, "Convergence is becoming more important to CE suppliers now that operators are serious about deploying multi-screen services. Semiconductor innovation, broadband delivery and home networking technologies have reached a point where convergence in home entertainment is now truly possible. The new challenge that faces both suppliers and service providers is enabling a personalized, ubiquitous user experience across a variety of devices. "

Households capable of receiving IP video

Figure 1: Households capable of receiving IP video are expected to grow to well over 700 million by 2015, with substantial growth coming from IP video delivered directly to TVs and other consumer electronics devices.

Hunt also believes that some of the other enabling factors for convergence, that the industry will be challenged to address, are: the evolution of low-power processors; mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure build-out; user interface innovation; a more competitive multimedia services landscape; evolution of multimedia creation, compression and delivery; and innovation in in-home networking technologies, especially wireless networks, peer-to-peer and no-new-wire networking.

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