CE manufacturers to pre-empt Apple TV

21.35 Europe/London, December 21, 2011 By Robert Briel

There are plenty of rumours going around about a possible launch of an advanced Apple TV sometime next year, but consumer electronics manufacturers are ready to meet the challenge.

“Given the current economic climate, the major brands clearly intend to make it challenging for Apple to justify their traditional price premium to consumers should the company launch a TV in the near future,” said Paul Erickson, senior analyst at IMS Research.
“Those believing that Apple’s rumoured entry into the TV business will either be the first, or the only competitor with combinations of next generation UI technologies such as gesture, motion, and voice control are going to be quite surprised at the upcoming 2012 CES and what takes place over the next 18 months.”
In the next two years, televisions will represent a surprisingly large opportunity for the implementation of advanced user interface (UI) technologies. A variety of major consumer electronics brands will be aggressively bringing TVs with varying implementations of gesture, motion, and voice control technologies to market over the next several product generations.
Due to the evolving need for consumers to interact more conveniently and effectively with technology, makers of televisions will increasingly utilise differing mixes of advanced UI technologies. Though smartphones are commonly considered a natural target for these enhancements, given the pre-existing presence of relevant hardware such as cameras and motion sensors, television sets represent a significant growth opportunity over the next few years.
Ever since the advent of the remote control, the basic paradigm for controlling the television has not changed substantially. According to Erickson, “Companies such as LG and Microsoft, with their respective efforts in motion, voice, and gesture control in their Magic Remote and Kinect peripherals, are only the first of several major companies who are already in the process of implementing next generation UI technologies for controlling the TV experience.”
According to the IMS Research report, “Next Gen User Interfaces: Touch, Gesture, Motion, and Voice – 2012 Edition,“ connected TVs are expected to be second only to smartphones in shipment share of the 1.7 billion device total opportunity for advanced UI technologies in 2012.”
By 2015, connected TVs are expected to actually lead smartphones in share of the consolidated opportunity for gesture, motion, and voice control. This represents a clear, substantial opportunity for major electronics brands wishing to differentiate their TV product lines over the next several years, one which is already being taken advantage of in these companies’ long term product strategies.
The most significant implementations of advanced UI technologies within TV sets will be driven by the desire to enable hands-free operation, faster navigation of connected TV interfaces, and easier, more powerful content search capabilities. IMS Research expects motion, gesture, and voice control to see significant adoption within high-end sets among the major consumer electronics brands over the next two years.