Why TV Is Going to the Apps

By Mike Farrell

Digital apps, born on mobile phones and nurtured by a nation of finger-tapping millennials, are about to change TV.

The data-packed buttons that dominate the first screens of most smartphones and tablets are about to comprehensively change the way most Americans access video entertainment.

That transformation is already happening, as cable, telco and satellite operators move to consolidate functionalities into their main apps. Eventually, with the proliferation of smart TVs, they’ll look to deliver their entire TV and Internet product suite through their own app, virtually eliminating the need for set-top boxes.

That could be a sea change for the business, as cable operators spend billions of dollars per year on new set-tops and box maintenance. But it’s a shift that could take several years as the cable network moves toward Internet protocol-based technologies.

The key is the set-top box, and the timing of its demise. Big operators like Comcast, with its X1 platform set-tops, and Charter Communications, with its WorldBox technology, are rolling out new set-top equipment that should at least have a multi-year lifespan.

Over the long term, though, the industry wants to move in an IP direction. Accelerating that evolution is the Federal Communications Commission’s move to bring more competition to the set-top industry by “unlocking” the cable box.

Read the full article at: www.multichannel.com

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