Samsung: More TV Owners Stream Video Than Watch Linear Programming

Samsung, the largest manufacturer of Internet-connected televisions, or smart TVs, in the United States (ahead of LG Electronics), says consumers in the United Kingdom accessing over-the-top video on its TVs now exceeds consumers accessing linear programming.

The data from Samsung Ads Europe from January through June mirrors TV consumption habits of 50 million Samsung smart TVs in the United States the South Korean manufacturer disclosed in June. Specifically, Samsung found a 59% increase (or 38 minutes daily) in OTT video consumption across the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. About 72% of survey respondents said they stream and watch pay-TV.

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“Streaming is no longer just an emerging behavior, but rather a central viewership method,” Alex Hole, VP of Samsung Ads Europe, said in a statement. “As such, advertisers need to adjust strategies to reach all TV viewers as they consume a wider selection of content from both linear and OTT sources.”

Hole said consumption of linear TV continues, but advertisers should consider avoiding “over-exposure” to this viewer at the expense of OTT video consumption.

Samsung has a vested interest in streaming video. It launched a few years ago an ad-supported VOD platform dubbed “Samsung TV Plus,” featuring 135 channels across various news, sports and entertainment genres.

Indeed, Samsung said it saw the largest spike in ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) consumption among consumers in the U.K., up more than 30%, or about 1 hour and 39 minutes per day. SVOD use increased 26%, while on-demand broadcast content increased 9% and TVOD remained flat.

“A media plan that understands the importance of targeted advertising across the connected TV environment is pivotal for advertisers looking to reach consumers across all their viewership habits,” Hole said. “This is heightened as households move seamlessly from linear to VOD services.”

NAB Show to Bow ‘Streaming Experience’ Content Showcase

The NAB Show is introducing The Streaming Experience, a new content showcase curated by streaming and online video expert Dan Rayburn that will feature more than 50 OTT platforms and streaming devices.

The showcase, which will give NAB Show attendees a first-hand look at the latest streaming video services, according to organizers, will be located in the Central Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center and is open to all registered attendees during exhibit hours starting April 19.

The NAB Show takes place in Las Vegas April 18-22.

A living-room setting will allow attendees the opportunity to test OTT services side-by-side to compare content, video quality, ad formats, playback features and delivery methods. The Streaming Experience will feature hardware from Amazon, Apple, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, LG, TCL and Samsung. Streaming services on display will include Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access, Disney+, Hulu, NBC Sports, Netflix and YouTube TV, among others. New services from HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi may also be showcased, dependent on their launch dates, according to organizers.

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“Streaming is a major focus of the 2020 NAB Show, and the new Streaming Experience is the largest showcase of its kind in the industry,” said NAB EVP of conventions and business operations Chris Brown in a statement. “We are excited for attendees to join their industry peers in this living room environment and experience nearly every live and on-demand streaming service on the market today.”

Additional details of the Streaming Experience, including renderings of the new space, can be found here.

 

CES 2020 Concludes Its Run With More Than 20,000 Product Debuts

LAS VEGAS — CES 2020 concluded its four-day run Jan. 10 after seeing more than 20,000 product debuts, most of them in the technology sector.

Over 4,400 exhibiting companies launched their latest products to 170,000 attendees across more than 2.9 million square feet of exhibit space. The focus, as it’s been in recent years, was on innovation, with large show floor areas devoted to smart cities, smart homes and automobiles, both connected and autonomous.

“CES 2020 inspired and connected every major industry across the globe,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), owner and producer of CES, said in a statement. “The innovation unveiled at CES 2020 will reshape industries, create jobs, fuel the global economy and improve lives around the world.”

The show’s legacy consumer electronics, meanwhile, dominated the huge central hall, where large CE manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG Electronics and TCL set up massive displays exhibiting their latest 8K TVs. TV makers are lining up behind either QLED or OLED. QLED stands for “Quantum Dot LED,” which uses a backlight. When light reflects on the quantum dots, they emit light. OLED, which stands for “Organic Light Emitting Diodes,” doesn’t require a back light. QLED TVs offer a greater range of colors and can reach higher levels of brightness without losing saturation, but due to their LCD chips, they cannot reach absolute black.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) was dominant throughout the show floor and will be a “key ingredient technology” over the next decade, CTA says. Companies debuting their latest AI solutions included Brunswick, Doosan, John Deere and Kyocera.

5G, the next-generation wireless technology that began its global rollout in 2018, also generated a buzz at CES 2020. Delivering data 20 times faster than 4G, the technology also has lower latency — meaning much less of a delay when requesting data — and massive capacity that will allow it to handle not only current devices, but also emerging technologies such as autonomous cars and connected home products.

5G deployment and adoption is spreading more rapidly than expected, according to the June 2019 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report. By 2024, 45% of the world’s population will have 5G coverage, according to the report, a number that could surge to 65% as spectrum sharing technology allows for 5G deployments on LTE frequency bands.

CES 2020 also saw the launch of innovative technologies not connected to entertainment or communications. Digital health technologies were a major theme, with advancements in digital therapeutics, wearables and remote patient monitoring as digital health addresses issues like opioid dependence, mental illness and chronic disease. The Health & Wellness category saw an increase of nearly 25% with more than 135 exhibiting companies at CES 2020.

The Smart Cities exhibit area expanded by nearly 25% over 2019, the CTA says, with companies and organizations including the Department of Transportation, Hitachi and Siemens highlighting products designed to bring cities fully into the digital age.

CES 2020 was also a key startup event, with more than 1,200 companies from 46 countries featured within Eureka Park, offering disruptive innovations, attracting investors and big-name brands. Technologies unveiled within Eureka Park include the Oval Home smart sensor that analyzes temperature, light, humidity and movement in the home; Yoganotch, which applies motion capture technology to help users improve poses; and Caregiver Smart Solutions with sensors that track movement and patterns to provide caregivers reassurance and patients with more independence at home.

CES 2020 also featured an expanded automotive section, split between connected cars and the latest advances in autonomous driving. The north hall featured exhibits from nine leading car manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Daimler (Mercedes), FCA, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota, and more than 150 vehicle tech exhibitors.

CES 2020 also brought together content creators, Hollywood, the advertising and music industries, media and leading CMOs to explore the future of brand marketing and entertainment, including streaming services, through the return of C Space. The 2020 program featured more than 60 exhibitors, including AT&T Services, Comcast, Google, HP , Hulu, iHeart, NBC Universal, Pandora, Reddit, Roku, Sirius XM, Snap, Twitch, Turner, Univision and WWE.

The CES stage featured more than 1,100 speakers representing major global industries, including keynotes from Samsung president and CEO of Consumer Electronics Division Hyun-Suk Kim; Daimler chairman Ola Källenius; Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian; NBCUniversal chairman of Advertising and Partnerships Linda Yaccarino; Quibi CEO Meg Whitman and founder Jeffrey Katzenberg; U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao; Salesforce chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff; Unilever CEO Alan Jope; and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump.

UHD Alliance’s Filmmaker Mode Picks Up Support From Hollywood Guilds, Samsung, Philips

Three Hollywood guilds, the Film Foundation, consumer electronics companies Samsung and Philips (TP Vision, Europe), and Kaleidescape have joined others in support of Filmmaker Mode, the UHD Alliance announced at CES Jan. 6.

The guilds include the Director’s Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers and the International Cinematographers Guild. The CE companies join LG Electronics, Panasonic and Vizio, which announced support for the program in August. Also in August, several high-profile directors and Hollywood studios hailed Filmmaker Mode, which brings a more cinematic viewing experience to the home by turning off motion smoothing on the TV, among other setting adjustments.

“[Filmmaker Mode] sets the television in a way that maintains filmmaker intent,” said Warner’s Michael Zink, UHD Alliance chairman, at the press conference.

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“Preserving intent is an important part of our creative rights work,” said director and co-chair of the DGA creative rights committee Christopher Nolan in a statement.

“Most people today are watching classic films at home,” said director Martin Scorsese, founder and chair of the Film Foundation, in a statement. “With Filmmaker Mode, different works will be presented accurately as they were created and designed by the filmmaker. Filmmaker Mode is a long overdue and welcome innovation.”

See more photos from the UHD Alliance press conference

The Film Foundation is a film preservation and education organization.

“The ASC’s mission has always centered around advancing the art and science of cinematography,” said Kees van Oostrum, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, in a statement. “Filmmaking is a true art-form and Filmmaker Mode allows that artwork to be enjoyed as envisioned by the artist not just in the theater, but in the home.”

With the addition of more CE companies, “we really do have that strong worldwide presence,” said UHD Alliance president Mike Fidler.

Tim Alessi, senior director, product marketing, LG Electronics, who announced the company’s support for Filmmaker Mode earlier in the day, also appeared at the UHD press conference. “We will include it in every new 4K and 8K TV that we introduce in 2020,” he said, adding LG would “aggressively promote it at retail.”

“We want to help the consumer watch all the great movies on a great TV without having to give it a second thought,” he said.

Panasonic’s Makoto Morise also showed up at the UHD event and noted that the company’s 2020 OLED HD 2000 series will support Filmmaker Mode, an announcement also made earlier at the Panasonic press conference. More models will be added, he said.

Ken Lowe, co-founder and VP, Vizio, also appeared at the event. Vizio will use the automatic feature that engages Filmmaker Mode, “but customers may also activate it manually as well,” he said.

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CES 2020 Alphabet Soup: 8K, QLED, 5G Look to Up Profiles

In a world gone streaming mad for video, the 52nd annual CES Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas promises myriad technological updates and hype for the consumption of video in greater resolution (8K) and across enhanced wireless (5G) networks, among other marketing improvements.

More than 4,500 exhibitors will launch nearly 20,000 new tech products to more than 170,000 attendees, encompassing 5G, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, smart cities and resilience, sports, robotics and more.

The trade show will feature new and expanded exhibit areas, 300 conference sessions with 1,100 speakers, and more than 1,200 startups from 45+ countries.

On the home entertainment front, expect media companies such as ViacomCBS, Disney and WarnerMedia, among others, to negotiate embedding proprietary streaming services into connected devices such TV and tablets.

“Eventually, all of these services will work with everything,” said Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

Pachter remains doubtful TV manufactures will rush to embed digital video games since he said it still takes a Chromecast stick to work the Google-owned Stadia game streaming system.

Stadia is the biggest effort yet by tech to take on Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft in video games.

Closer to home, Pachter said he’s looking for a big screen TV with the Disney+ streaming service embedded.

“I have a 65-inch Samsung LED TV that doesn’t work with Disney+,” he said. “Bought it in 2015, and it isn’t upgradeable, apparently. Gonna have to buy another [Amazon] Fire TV or Chromecast to make it work.”

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Meanwhile, Sharp Electronics is set to return to CES with an exhibit showcasing the latest installments in its evolving ecosystem of products and services that leverage the benefits of Ultra-HD 8K video and advanced 5G wireless technology.

What that actually means for consumers is questionable. 4K, which is now the standard resolution format in most TVs marketed at retail, continues to underwhelm when it comes to broadcast content — unlike 4k UHD Blu-ray content. 8K programming, it seems, will likely be limited to video games, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

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Regardless, Sharp’s 8K+5G Ecosystem at CES will include a drone-mounted system developed in conjunction with various external stakeholders for the real-time capture and transmission of 8K footage for purposes including racehorse training and infrastructure surveys. It’s one of various cross-disciplinary collaborations currently undergoing trials in order to bring the practical benefits of 8K and 5G directly to businesses and consumers.

“We are conducting trials with a range of external partners, all with the aim of realizing a comprehensive 8K+5G ecosystem as soon as possible,” Bob Ishida, EVP and head of ICT Group, said in a statement. “And as our CES exhibit will show, we firmly believe that, in conjunction with the introduction of 5G, our 8K technology can make a major contribution to the society of the future.”

Samsung, a major player at CES, broke ranks from the traditional CES media day (Jan. 6 ending with Sony Electronics’ 49th product showcase) unveiling a bezel-less 8K QLED TV (Q950TS) model on Jan. 4. Bezel is the perimeter space around a TV screen.

Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio launched its first QLED TV available in 55-inch and 65-inch models. LG Electronics unveiled a line of “Real 8K TV” models that consumers can presumably afford and the company claims will help it surpass Samsung.

The company also bowed a new Vizio Elevate Sound Bar, along with new M-Series and V-Series sound bar lines pairing higher audio performance at every price point with a simple user interface.

The Elevate Sound Bar includes auto-rotating speakers for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content. The M-Series brings Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to a variety of accessible configurations.

The 2020 models offer a more intuitive user interface with select models receiving backlit remotes, better wireless connections through Bluetooth 5.0, HDMI inputs for added convenience, and HDMI 2.1 inputs with eARC support in premium models.

“We’re announcing the most competitive and immersive sound bar series we’ve ever launched,” said CTO Bill Baxter. “Not only do our sound bars bring a design and finish that stands out from the rest of the market, but we’re providing new levels of audio performance and ease-of-use to every price point.”

5G Going Mainstream?

Delivering data 20 times faster than 4G, the new 5G network boasts lower latency and massive capacity that will allow it to handle not only current devices, but also emerging technologies such as autonomous cars and connected home products.

How that translates to home entertainment is unclear. That’s because 5G is made for wireless products such as mobile phones and tablets. Whether the new technology means greater consumption of video on portable devices depends whether the average consumer wants to watch TV shows and movies on a small screen rather than on a huge screen in the home.

It also depends when telephone manufacturers roll out 5G-compatible units. Indeed, it is estimated that by 2022, 5G phones will only account for less than 50% of all phone units shipped in the United States.

 

Samsung Electronics Unveils 2020 QLED 8K TV Lineup, New AI Capabilities at CES

Samsung Electronics Jan. 5 introduced its QLED 8K line on the eve of CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The lineup features AI-based innovations that make the viewing experience more immersive, and connected features that make consumer lifestyles more integrated, according to Samsung.

The 8K lineup leverages the power of machine learning to optimize audio, video and smart capabilities, and it offers a range of smart features powered by Tizen, so consumers can more easily interact with their home and mobile devices, and access new features such as Samsung Health.

“2020 will be a tipping point for our industry, the year when 8K broke into the mainstream as the definitive viewing experience,” said Joe Stinziano, head of the consumer electronics business at Samsung Electronics America. “Our 2020 8K lineup delivers that experience. Its unprecedented immersive capabilities and unparalleled smart features empower consumers to pursue their passions more simply and more comprehensively than ever before.”

Every Samsung 8K TV shipping today meets the requirements of the 8K Association’s Certified Test Specifications and carries the CTA 8K Ultra HD Display Definition logo, according to Samsung.

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This year, consumers will also be able to enjoy and stream AV1 codec videos filmed in 8K on QLED 8K TVs. All Samsung TVs in the 2020 8K line will ship with this capability built-in. And, Samsung is working with partners like YouTube to create pathways for streaming native 8K content.

In addition to building out the 8K ecosystem across the industry, the QLED 8K lineup helps consumers to experience the power of 8K resolution even when they’re watching lower resolution content.

Based on powerful Samsung semiconductor technology, the Q950’s next-generation Quantum Processor 8K features improved AI-based upscaling capabilities that use machine learning to analyze and identify the characteristics of individual pixels. It then restores different elements of the image to create a pristine 8K picture, regardless of the content source.

The Q950 also leverages the power of AI to ensure that nothing distracts viewers from their content. While other TV sensors can only adjust screen brightness based on the ambient light within the room, Adaptive Picture analyzes the brightness of the room, as well as the scene being played on the screen, to optimize brightness and maintain contrast in high-glare environments.

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Addressing the speed of the internet connection, AI ScaleNet uses cutting-edge compression to significantly cut the amount of bandwidth needed to stream content. This helps consumers enjoy a higher quality image, and a smoother streaming experience, even if they have a slower internet connection, according to Samsung. Samsung Electronics continues to work with Amazon on this feature, utilizing AI ScaleNet from standard definition to 4K in Prime Video.

On the audio side, the Q950 features speakers on every side of the display, as well as woofers in the back to deliver virtual 5.1 channel surround-sound. Samsung takes this hardware to the next level, with sound features that further enhance sound immersion. If consumers are watching a movie that hasn’t been mixed for three-dimensional sound, the audio won’t track with the movement onscreen. Object Tracking Sound+ solves this problem by detecting the movement of objects on the screen and adjusting the audio accordingly. Also, with Active Voice Amplifier (AVA), the Q950 can enhance voice clarity in response to ambient noise like a blender or vacuum cleaner. Finally, Q-Symphony creates a more dynamic soundscape by pairing the Q950’s speaker with the audio of a Samsung Q series soundbar, including the 2020 CES Best of Innovation honoree, the Q800.

In 2020, Bixby, Samsung’s AI assistant, is getting even smarter, through a new ability that leverages Ambient Mode to change the mood of a room. For example, if they tell Bixby to create a calm atmosphere, the TV will then display a relaxing backdrop on the screen. In addition, Samsung will be integrating Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant directly into its premium lineup of 2020 Samsung Smart TVs, including the Q950.

The Q950 features a new and improved Universal Guide that uses AI-based algorithms to analyze the type of content that consumers watch, as well as the services and TV channels that they tend to use, to offer recommendations uniquely customized to their specific habits and tastes.

With the launch of Samsung Health on TV later this year, consumers can enjoy a fitness and wellness solution that allows them to see their activities, track their progress, and pursue shared fitness goals with the entire family. Plus, they will have access to free and exclusive content from leading partners, including Calm, FitPlan, Jillian Michaels, Echelon, Obe Fitness, and Barre 3 and more.

Other features include Multi-View, which helps consumers to simultaneously enjoy content on their mobile devices and their TVs, by mirroring the phone screen onto the TV screen even while it is playing TV content, and Tap View, which allows consumers to mirror their phone screens by touching their mobile device to the TV. Finally, Digital Butler brings together both connected and non-connected devices in one dashboard. It uses infrared technology so that consumers can manage legacy devices near the TV.

Disney+ Live on Samsung Smart TVs in U.S.

Not to be left out of the Disney+ launch, Samsung Electronics Nov. 12 announced the new SVOD service is available on Samsung Smart TV models manufactured from 2016 through 2019.

Samsung offers its own Samsung TV Plus, an ad-supported video service delivering free access to news, sports and entertainment.

Samsung contends Disney+ gives its consumers “unprecedented” access to an extensive library of films, television series and huge variety of original feature films, documentaries, scripted and unscripted series, and short-form content.

Samsung line of Smart TVs offer a universal guide enabling users to browse content selections across multiple sources with customized recommendations.

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Users will also be able to leverage the Bixby feature on 2019 QLED TVs to control their TVs and access content through voice commands.

Samsung has been at the forefront offering a diverse selection of content options available to consumers on Internet-connected TV, including the streaming services users love such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube — and now, Disney+.

Indeed, Kevin Swint, SVP, Disney+, consumer tech & media executive, formerly worked at Samsung as VP, product and services, where he conceived and executed new direct-to-consumer strategies globally across Samsung Mobile Division’s apps, content, and services efforts.

Older Samsung Smart TVs to Lose Netflix

Older Samsung Smart TVs will be losing access to Netflix beginning Dec. 1 “due to technical limitations,” according to Samsung.

The affected TVs are 2010 and 2011 models with ‘C’ or ‘D’ after the screen size in the model code.

“If you have one of the affected models, you may see a message on your TV indicating that Netflix will no longer be available on this device,” read a Samsung statement. “You’ll still be able to watch Netflix on your TV by connecting another device with Netflix on it.”

Netflix compatible devices are listed here.

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Samsung Adds CBSN to Ad-Supported VOD Service

Samsung Electronics America Oct. 31 announced the addition of CBSN to its free ad-supported video service Samsung TV Plus.

CBSN joins more than 70 TV channels on the Samsung TV Plus service, which delivers free, ad-supported programming across millions of 2016-2019 Samsung Smart TVs.

Established in 2016 in the United States, Samsung TV Plus is pre-installed on all 2016-2019 Samsung Smart TVs. Users can access TV content with just an Internet connection — no download, additional devices or credit card needed.

The platform mirrors AVOD efforts by The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Shout! Factory TV, and IMDb TV, among others.

“As viewership trends continue to shift, we feel it is important to offer consumers a live and linear TV experience that is completely free and deeply integrated into our Samsung Smart TV platform,” Salek Brodsky, VP of strategic partnerships and business development for Samsung Electronics, said in a statement.

About 34% of U.S. households will not have a traditional cable subscription by the end of 2019, according to the Convergence Research Group.

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With the addition of CBSN, CBS News’ 24/7 streaming news service, Samsung TV Plus provides consumers with an alternative way to access and watch the same news content in the home.

The Samsung TV Plus lineup includes channels spanning news, sports, kids, lifestyle, gaming and more, including: ET Live, Cheddar, WeatherNation, fubo Sports Network, Outside TV+, Moonbug, Tastemade, QVC, PeopleTV, This Old House, FailArmy, The Pet Collective and IGN.

BritBox Ups Distribution Partners in the U.K.

BritBox, the subscription streaming video service launched in the United States by the BBC and ITV and now “imported” to the United Kingdom, has expanded distribution in the latter region

In addition to agreements with ad-supported VOD service Freeview Play and YouView set-top boxes, BritBox has inked a deal with Samsung to be included on its line of connected Tizen televisions.

The service, which has about 650,000 subscribers in North America, is also available on the Web, Apple iOS and Android devices.

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“We have an ongoing commitment to provide the greatest experience to our customers, including offering the best range of apps currently available,” Guy Kinnell, VP of TV & AV Samsung Electronics U.K., said in a statement. “BritBox provides a new way to access the best of British content exactly whenever they want.”

Freeview Play, which has more than 5 million monthly users, has U.K. distribution through Sony, Digihome, JVC, Logik, Luxor, Polaroid, Techwood and Toshiba.

“Our viewers love great British TV, so BritBox is a fantastic addition to the Freeview line up, providing extra options to top up on the best of free TV they already enjoy via the nation’s biggest TV platform,” said Owen Jenkinson, marketing director at Freeview.

YouView set-top boxes will also be hosting the BritBox app by the end of 2019, making the new streaming service accessible to millions of additional households across the nation.

“At a time when U.K. produced television is going from strength to strength, BritBox brings a fantastic array of U.K. television, to compliment the SVOD services already available via YouView, which our users will love,” added Susie Buckridge, CEO of YouView.