Smart TV services use networks and "smart technology" to deliver a new viewing experience, as well as non-video services for the digital home. The shift to networks includes both home networking and the Internet. Definitions of "smart technology" have changed from simply referring to the ability to connect to the Internet and providing web browsing in 2010, to include the ability to download and run apps by 2011; today, smart technology is taken to include sophisticated interface technologies and multiscreen interaction. All of these areas, along with OTT services, will influence future development trends for Smart TV.
OTT services are the major video services for Smart TV. Their two-way, IP-based (online) nature facilitates a more diverse viewing experience and gives viewers the ability to shift their viewing activities to different times, places and even devices. In other words, viewers can watch personalized services in the shared environment of the living room, but can also use TVs in combination with handheld devices for a more interactive experience.
The diversification of Smart TV applications and services poses a challenge for interfaces and methods of operating the devices. While improvements are being made to traditional "D-pad" remote controls - adding buttons, scroll wheels and so on - the main future trends for Smart TV interfaces are towards voice control, gesture recognition and motion-sensing control methods. Each of these technologies has distinct advantages and disadvantages, although all have yet to truly meet the requirements of Smart TV.
Home networking applications for Smart TV can be divided into video and non-video applications. Video applications depend on the different roles played by the TV set itself and various peripherals, including serving, control and playback. Non-video applications involve the use of peripherals, particularly handheld devices, to add additional control interfaces and screens to the TV set, in order to resolve the privacy issues that arise from the use of personalized services in a more public environment.
Smart TV has the potential to change global video sales models, act as a catalyst for home networking, and create new business opportunities for the digital home. Improvements in OTT services, control interface technologies and home networking applications will enable Smart TV to deliver new viewing experiences, as well as providing a foundation for delivering non-video applications via Smart TV.