Will tablets make 2012 the year of multiscreen content?

by David Needle

February 3 2012

Big screen TVs seem to be gaining a lot of little brothers thanks to the rise of smartphones, tablets and other readily available wireless broadband connectivity. The idea of so-called multiscreen content has been bandied about for a while, but now a new report quantifies why in 2012 the trend will hit its stride.

Being able to enjoy content across multiple screens, whether it’s tapping on an iPad to get player statistics during the Superbowl, or checking IMDB.com to see what other movies Seth Rogen’s been in while watching the moview 50/50 on your big screen TV, requires a convergence of technology that the IMS Research report shows is reaching the mainstream. 

The report states that shipments of residential data modems and gateways will reach 135 million in 2012. And that’s just a start. Shipments of IP-enabled consumer electronics devices will approach 2.5 billion this year, and grow to 3.5 billion in 2015.

 “While the concept of a converged multi-screen ecosystem is not new, the reality is that previous attempts to implement have provided a sub-par user experience,” says Stephen Froehlich, senior analyst at IMS Research, in a release. “However, 2012 will be the year that this all changes. Numerous vendors at this year’s CES, for instance, demonstrated products which showed real, highly complex, incredibly powerful and scalable solutions to the incredibly difficult problem of delivering a converged, multiscreen television experience.”

The report credits a number of factors for the ascent of multi-screen consumption including a growing comfort level by content providers. There is now a “Broad understanding of how to secure content distribution in iOS and Android applications,” says IMS Research. 

Other key factors include content distribution contracts that specifically allow for multiscreen distribution and several important hardware innovations such as adaptive transcoding and ultra-high-bandwidth modems. 

“The next step in this evolution is to use wireless technologies to seamlessly share content with mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones,” Froehlich added. “As this installed base of connected CE devices grows, service providers are focusing on evolving their strategies to encompass the multiple devices and screens used by consumers in the consumption of advanced broadband services.” 

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