Hybrid tv servicesDigital media convergence has brought the Internet to mobile devices and to TVs , which now are “smart” and have internetworking capabilities. All of this has set the stage for the rapid emergence and growth of hybrid TV services, spelling opportunity for “savvy software engineers and smart TV producers [who are] finding ways to create new ‘hybrid’ services that bring it all together,” according to new research from In-Stat.

Some 100 million households around the world will actively use a hybrid service delivered to their TV set by 2016, according to In-Stat’s, “The New TV Experience: TV Apps and Hybrid Services.” Bringing together traditional broadcast, cable TV programming and on-demand pay-TV, hybrid TV services will also amalgamate content, information and features from across over-the-top (OTT) Internet TV service providers and the broader Internet.

Hybrid TV services are even going a step further with the introduction of TV apps delivered to smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, thereby taking a step closer to fully realizing TV Everywhere’s aspirations.

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“The next step in the viewing experience will be for TV sets and set top boxes to permit all of the traditional TV-related services, which [are] then expanded and enhanced by bringing in content from the Internet, or from Internet-like web services that provide a ‘walled garden’ of authorized content and on-screen features,” Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat research director, stated in a press release. “In tandem with web-based content coming to TV screens are TV apps that use tablets or smartphones. We expect nearly 80 million households will be actively using TV apps provided by their service provider by 2016. These new hybrid approaches provide an excellent growth opportunity for TV producers.”

Among the research report’s findings are:

  • Personal computers are still the primary display device for viewing videos from the Internet.
  • North America is the early leader for hybrid TV households, but the UK, France, and Germany are coming on strong, and most of Europe will have hybrid services by 2016.
  • Europe’s Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) service will begin to gain dominance by late 2013.
  • Europe will become the worldwide center of excellence for long-term development of hybrid TV services.

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