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How can a sports event demonstrate Teijin Aramid’s wide value?

5 June 2012

Helping millions of people share a magic moment
How Twaron is supporting a TV revolution

At the London Olympic Games this summer, the 50-meter freestyle race – some 20 intensive seconds of high-performance competition – will be watched by millions of people worldwide. A few of those people will be there in person, but the vast majority will share in the magic as it happens on live TV and through online streaming on computers, smartphones and tablets. Here, we look at some of the current trends in the TV industry, and learn how they are being supported by Teijin Aramid’s new developments in the optical fiber cable market.

New trends in TV

If you want to watch the Olympic Games, today, you have more options than ever before: you can experience the thrills and suspense of the Games live or “on-demand”, on traditional TVs or on new, mobile platforms. To learn more, we spoke to TV expert Pieter Vervoort, Vice President of Product Strategy, Marketing and Smart TV for TP Vision (a joint venture between Philips and TPV). A ten-year veteran, Pieter has worked in project management and marketing both in Europe and in Asia. “We’ve seen some extraordinary developments in the TV industry in the last decade,” he says, “moving from cathode-ray-tube televisions to LCD TVs and plasma screens. And that transition isn’t over, because this is a very dynamic product category. In fact, the possibilities are simply exploding these days, with platforms like tablets and smartphones and sites like the BBC iPlayer, an online portal for UK viewers to stream any BBC program at any time, for free.”

However, despite the growth of these alternative platforms and sources of content, TVs remain a crucial category. “People watch a lot of linear – scheduled – broadcast television,” Pieter says. “This is driven by the fact that sports events like the Olympics or popular singing and talent shows simply need to be seen live. And in fact, in years when there are major viewing events – like the Olympics, for example, or the World Cup – we see an increase in TV demand of some 10-20%.”

Introducing “Smart TV”

“What’s changing in the industry,” says Pieter, “is that TVs are starting to offer much more than linear broadcasting and a big screen alone. We’re seeing a massive growth in interactive television, or ‘Smart TV’, as we like to call it. Smart TV is on-demand, online, interactive television.” Advanced interfaces enable users to access a huge selection of downloadable global or local “apps” – much like those found on smartphone platforms. “Through these apps, Smart TV puts online content like YouTube movies and catch-up television at your fingertips,” Pieter continues. “It also enables you to play video games, ‘rent’ movies and surf the web. What’s more, Smart TV can connect to the various devices you have in your household – so you can push and pull content to and from tablets or smartphones.” Indeed, the line between various hardware platforms is becoming more and more fluid, with smartphone apps that enable users to control their TV with their phone, and Smart TV apps that can provide movie recommendations or local weather forecasts. As a result, TP Vision’s TVs are serving as fully integrated, fully connected media portals. “What TP Vision is also doing now,” says Pieter, “is to team up with major broadcasters and Hollywood studios, as well as other hardware producers like LG and Sharp. Together, we are developing a common platform that will bring special, premium content to our televisions. User demand really is driven by high quality content, and that’s something we’re eager to provide.”

Of course, as Pieter points out, these developments are also having a big effect on hardware and software requirements. “To make these changes a reality, we’ve had to create intuitive new user interfaces and completely redesign remote controls – adding in keyboards, for example, and pointing functionality so that users can interact better with their screens. And at the same time, we’re making new TVs that are more and more powerful. It takes a lot of processing power to connect all these various devices to the internet. And in turn, internet providers and cable operators will need to make sure that their networks can keep up with consumer demand.”

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