Keeping Convergence Simple

Before we say goodbye to the
decade and welcome in a brave new
era during the Consumer Electronics
Show, it’s worth taking a
look at where we are, how we
got here and where we might
best be going.

Let’s face it: Competition
has never, ever been more
fierce. Consumers have never,
ever had more choice,
more content and more devices
in their homes.

Convergence was the word
in the dot-com era. But confusion
and complexity might more
aptly describe our TV subscribers’
state of mind in light of the abundance
of media, platforms and alternatives
in which to engage their time.

We thought we were creating freedom
when we may have been simply
tethering ourselves to untethered devices.
And let’s face it — all of us working
in cable TV helped us get exactly
where we are today. High-speed Internet,
a world far beyond a 500-channel
universe and 3DTV, to name a few of
our unique gifts, have taken us away
from Henry David Thoreau’s advice in
1854 to “simplify, simplify, simplify.”

As we enter a new era, network service
providers, consumer-electronics
manufacturers, programmers and
technology companies must unite
to help deliver a single, simple and
smart interface that can deliver any
content from any device to and from
the home television. To and from, you
ask? Yes. Over-the-top (OTT) should
refer to the wow factor delivered by
the industry for their consumers, not
a place where subscribers cut cords.

Television, especially the kind pioneered
and supported by our industry,
is and must remain much more
than a catalog of titles.

At this week’s CES, we will witness a
level of innovation that can truly deliver
a connected home to every content filled device and provide the intuitive
ease of search and convenience. Better
yet, recommendation engines
that connect our favorite
viewing choices as
easily as a Facebook page
will be expected. The cable-
TV industry has the power
to deliver a world that
doesn’t devalue content in
favor of selling ads in the
way Google TV would have
us do, and we don’t have to
offer content as a means to
sell hardware the way Apple’s iTunes
Store would have us believe.

In Technicolor’s consumer testing
we found overwhelming desire for a
single, elegant point of reference that
brings the entire Internet, as well as
all content, to the home PC, the cloud,
mobile phones, tablets and stored
sources into a single viewing experience
that seamlessly integrates with
network service providers’ video-delivery
platforms. OK, so we’ll need
a new integrated platform combining
an Internet gateway and a set-top
box with high-capacity storage. Done!

It’s no secret that content navigation
has been a source of frustration by almost
every consumer. The amount of
readily available content keeps growing
and growing; and today’s user interface
is still not personalized, not
customized, not branded and ultimately
not relevant. That will change.
We can do it together or let another industry
or smarter companies, like a
Netflix, take this away from us.

Let’s own the blending of consumer-
electronics products with elegant
applications and content. After all,
isn’t that our raison d’être?

Vince Pizzica is president of the
digital delivery business group at