Sunday, November 20, 2011

IPTV versus Smart TV in South Korea

Digital media convergence continues at a rapid pace in South Korea, arguably the fastest in the world, given the  advanced state and multiplicity of networks here.   As partial evidence for this, you may find The Korea Joongang Daily's article on IPTV interesting.   Back in 2008, internet protocol television, or IPTV, was first introduced in Korea by KT.   Usage rapidly increased, as shown in the accompanying graphic (click to see a full size version).  That, of course, was before the introduction by Samsung and other electronics manufacturers of so-called "smart TVs."  Note that anyone in Korea with fiber to the home can easily switch their television subscription to IPTV.   The main advantage of IPTV over traditional television was access to a great deal of stored and on-demand content.  The new element introduced by smart TV is that the television itself contains a small computer, much like your smart-phone or tablet device, allowing web-surfing and the use of applications.
In some ways, the outcome of all this convergence seems clear.  People will want everything in their hand, on a tablet, or on the big screen.   Most folks won't want to carry around the extra weight of multiple devices or take on the extra cost of multiple services if they can all be combined in one smart device.  

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