Monday, January 11, 2010

3D Not the Real Story of CES

3D TVs probably received the most media coverage at CES in 2010, but there is another trend probably far more important to local publishers -- Internet connected TVs and other devices.

The convergence of Internet and TV, via TVs directly or other devices (Blu-ray players, gaming devices, etc.), is well underway. Some TVs are already available in stores and more are expected in 2010. By mid-2010 TVs will have more sophisticated hardware and processing power further positioning the TV as the entertainment hub of the household.

The emergence of these TVs is obviously going to benefit Netflix, YouTube, Yahoo! and Amazon most immediately. The Yahoo! widget platform is poised to benefit from this trend. The company announced deals with Hisense, ViewSonic and other technology companies. Yahoo! previously announced distribution partnerships with Vizio, Sony, LG Electronics and Samsung. The platform could be in as many as 5 million Internet-enabled television sets by the end of June.

Internet connected TVs are ultimately about IPTV. It will likely take several years for IPTV to become a mass-market service, but its rise is inevitable. When it does make it to the mass market, it will likely have the same disruptive impact on TV business models as the Internet did on newspapers.