Archive for July, 2011

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year was crowded with talk of “Smart TV” – the ability to watch content from traditional publishers and the Internet on a variety of devices.

The widespread appeal of smartphones, the promising sales of the iPad (and forthcoming Android-based tablets) and the advent of high speed Internet all make it possible for consumers to get media anywhere, everywhere and at anytime. However, even though the demand is growing and basic technology is there, experts estimate that it will take time for smart devices to be used by a majority of consumers.

Are those in the telecommunications industry ready to deliver what consumers are looking for?

That was the biggest question during the event and there are definite challenges to making content available on demand reliably. Despite the perceived problems for many manufacturers and media companies, the time to embrace smart technology is right now.

There are a few key factors that will help smart devices make the transition from luxury to household essential. First, there is a need for affordable devices and data services that are musts when it comes to mass-market penetration. Bandwidth is definitely an issue – streaming movies and television shows to multiple households will require a massive upgrade for many carriers. The negotiations for the right to air content over the new mediums is another factor because while many companies have embraced sharing their media on the Internet and through smart devices, there are other programmers that don’t include those rights.

Taking it slow. Samsung displayed its Smart TV, which allows consumers to watch regular cable and online content. Comcast is offering over 150,000 titles online to subscribers and other entertainment companies like DirectTV, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Verizon, AT&T and Cablevision are following suit.

Companies are wise to take things slow with implementation – especially because of the failed launch of Web TV in 1996. Experts estimate that because of this smart TVs and tablet entertainment won’t have widespread impact until 2015.

Yahoo Inc. took drastic steps in the last quarter of 2010 in order to increase profits – but despite the cost cutting measures, revenue declined 12% overall.

The company also made two rounds of layoffs in as many months. Compared to Google and Facebook, which are both hiring aggressively, Yahoo seems to be going in the wrong direction of a slow downward spiral.

Yahoo is also dealing with a weak profit projections for the current quarter, which resulted in a 2% drop in its stock. The company partnered with Bing to provide search engine results, while Yahoo concentrated on advertising and the look of the search engine. The former has paid off somewhat – in the fourth quarter Yahoo saw a 16% increase in display advertising revenue.

This performance factor alone won’t be enough to reverse Yahoo’s downward direction, but it is certainly a positive step in the right direction.

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