TV manufacturers are scared; the landscape is changing. Consumers are demanding more from their TV experience and are approaching high quality content in new ways. What is happening is nothing short of a revolution in the way we consume video, and WHDI is well positioned to be in the center of the revolution.
The flat-panel business has become a commoditized business, with low profit margins. Samsung Electronics said at the start of the year that LCD panel prices would remain under pressure as supply far outpaces demand. So far their prediction has rung true. Price declines and inventory pressure at retail due to lackluster consumer demand will continue to put pressure on TV brands.
The profit margin concerns are being felt not just by TV, but maybe even more so by PC, mobile and other device manufacturers. Who stands out? Very few, with Apple probably being the top exception. So what about Apple? They win at first because of fantastic design, but in the long run, it is all about access to content and connectivity.
To create value, TV makers have tried to own the consumer by making the TV the center of content acquisition. This is reflected in attempts to build a “smart” Internet-enabled TV, where the consumer uses only the TV to deliver content.
However, consumers already have relationships with numerous content and service providers through many different devices. They want easy access to all of their content using the most convenient device, whether it’s a set-top box, tablet, PC, game console, etc. The TV makers cannot replace this ecosystem.
Instead, TV makers should focus on complementing these services by enabling the TV to easily take advantage of any content, on any service, or any device. If TV makers fail to do this, they will be limited to “dumb” displays – and will continue to see declining margins and relevance in the content distribution world. A key value that TV makers can provide is to enable easy and intelligent connectivity. Apple has shown the ability to do this in its own ever-expanding, ecosystem, and there is a clear demand for this type of sharing across the entire CE space.
WHDI is a big part of the answer for TV manufacturers looking to stay connected to the complete ecosystem of the modern living room. WHDI enables a smart TV to intelligently connect all of the devices consumers use to download and interact with their content. TV manufacturers can continue to focus on making advances in image quality (next is 2Kx4K resolution) and in maintaining the TV’s place at the center of a home entertainment system. And they can do this without isolating their product from the personal TV advancements being made in middleware and on consumers’ personal devices.
TV manufacturers can embrace this revolution, and provide value by adapting to the current entertainment environment, or they run the risk of becoming just another commodity.