"The Convergence of Internet and Television Technologies: How will it Change the Living Room Experience?"
Paul G.M. de Bot
Vice-President Business Development
Philips Digital Networks
The venue of the Internet is not only changing the way books are ordered, stocks are traded, or people are sending messages to each other; it also affects the traditional world of broadcasting. Traditional television and radio broadcasting to mass audiences will lose eyeballs. The Internet offers the possibility of providing every individual with personalized audio and video content at any desired time. This content can be provided for professional use or for entertainment, in an active lean-forward model, as well as in a passive lean-back model, at home or in the office.
Video compression and streaming will allow broadcast applications to operate under bandwidth restricted conditions. Secure distribution and video watermarking will provide the technological backbone for a healthy growing distribution business of content. Video and audio indexing mechanisms will allow search engines to efficiently find the content throughout the web.
For some period of time, traditional broadcasting and the emerging Internet broadcasting will coexist; but with the venue of digital broadcasting, and the technological evolution of, for instance, cable TV networks, those worlds will converge. The traditional broadcasters will have to change into portals, offering appealing, personalized audio and video content, and generating revenues through, for instance, the provision of closed loop addressable advertising.
The industry will move from a box-centric to a network-centric world in which services like television, Internet, telephony, and fax will converge. The set top box of the future will provide, apart from digital TV, also fast Internet access to the TV screen and the PC, as well as telephony and unified messaging services. An essential condition for this evolution is the availability of a uniform easy-to-use user-interface. Presentation on TV screens will play an important role in providing a clear overview of the newly received voice mails and e-mails, upcoming live TV shows, pre-recorded video content, incoming news items, and the special offer-of-the-day from the local supermarket.
The Internet and the broadcast communities will provide the technologies that enable the convergence of TV and PC. A STB and PC will more and more be similar regarding hardware and software. Typical Internet presentation languages are extended to incorporate video, audio, and entertainment-related features, while APIs for digital television are enhanced with mechanisms to handle e-mail, HTML, and other Web content formats. However, the application experience and the way applications are presented to the user will continue to be different between the desk-top PC in an office type of environment and the TV screen in the living room where a simple remote control is used instead of a keyboard.