Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Distinction without a difference

Echostar have released an exciting new product at IBC - the HDX 410. Essentially a set top box based on the Android platform with open web access as well as TV functionality. Crucially the remote control has a keyboard on its reverse side.

Is this relevant outside the world of those who chat for longer than they should about technical developments of this kind ?

We think it does because the control over distribution through a "walled garden" approach as followed by Apple and Sky will be significantly diluted if products of this type get consumer traction. This dilution is caused by the large volume of free, high quality pirate content that is made available and can easily be favourited to the EPG by the consumer.

For a single fee a consumer can purchase a set top box of this type and watch regular free to air or ad supported channels. For the occasional "premium event" that would normally reside behind a pay wall of some kind the consumer can surf the net for a free pirate stream as an alternative. This will result is a significant annual saving for the consumer.

At that point most consumers will be unconcerned how the content is delivered to the "TV" screen (much as most people don't get excited by the knowledge of which satellite delivers their pictures) so the distinction between TV and web content will really make no difference.