Software Convergence in the SmartTV Market?

To date, SmartTV vendors attract a small percentage of the developers that Smartphone vendors have achieved. There are two major reasons for this:

  • Market Potential - compare the number of Brand-X TV’s vs. Android or iOS Smartphones and tablets. There really isn’t a “wrong horse” to bet on when choosing between Android and iOS: the market potential for a killer app is huge.
  • Operating systems and SDK’s – there are thousands of developers who already develop on Android, Windows Mobile and iOS. Learning a whole new OS and SDK is a significant investment for questionable payback, not only does a developer have to choose the vendor who is likely to dominate the market, they also need consumers to use the apps. Today, the percentage of SmartTV owners who actually use apps is very low. In contrast, there are hardly any Smartphone users who don’t use apps.

In an effort to attract more developers, LG Electronics and TP Vision (Philips TVs) have officially established the "Smart TV Alliance", Other TV manufacturers are alleged to be “in the process of joining”. The Alliance “aims at enhancing the Smart TV experience by creating a non-proprietary ecosystem for application developers to create attractive, platform-independent services”.

The alliance doesn’t mandate that all vendors use the same operating system. Instead it is based in open web technologies such as HTML5, thereby allowing web apps to run on Smart TV's from participating members regardless of the underlying platform.

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