The year 2012 marks the rise of smart TVs in many countries. Although television sets with internet connectivity are just in the embryonic stage in Thailand, consumers will be offered more digital television treats next year.
Let us begin with Panasonic. The electronic giant has recently announced a collaboration with 11 local content providers for movies, music, news, documentaries and lifestyle programmes in order to bring full-blown entertainment to television via its Viera application.
Viera Connect is a cloud-based internet service on which consumers can install unlimited applications and receive information from the Panasonic server with no need to access a browser.
The movie and music applications cover 3BB IPTV, which allows audiences to watch over 100 films in HD under the Movie Buffet package at 99 baht alongside other programmes via Smart Viera for 30 days, You2Play _ a hip music channel, Let's Play _ a copyright online movie rental service, and BeboydCG HD animation.
The news applications are supplied by MCOT, Spring News, Voice TV, and Bangkok Biz News, while lifestyle applications are supplied by Major Cineplex, DuMenu.com and movie store Boomerang Shop.
Luriya Benchong, AV marketing manager of Panasonic Siew Sales (Thailand) explained that users of all Viera models are eligible to update the functions by downloading Viera applications online. They can access the application with the Remote App function, which lets them use the touch screen or touch pad of smartphones with iOS or Android systems. Moreover, media content files from smartphones can be pushed to screen instantly on Smart Viera, and smartphones can also be used as a gamepad to play games on the screen.
LG, one of the internet-connected TV pioneers, houses over 1,400 applications with international and local content. LG is also an official partner of two leading free television networks _ Channel 3 and Channel 7.
Five content offerings of LG's Smart TV function cover Krob Krua Khao 3 daily news updates from Channel 3, ThaiTV3, movie website Doonung.net, Bugaboo.tv, and LG ON TV. Thanyachet Akevejwit, marketing director for LG Electronics (Thailand), pointed out that although the popularity of LG's Smart TVs has grown, many consumers don't have a deep understanding of the technology. LG will continue to educate consumers about what smart TV is and how it can benefit them.
"We believe that the smart TV market has the potential to grow even further, but only if brands continue to develop software and unique content. When people are considering purchasing a smart TV, they place high importance on the content offered by a particular brand, in the same way that they do for smartphones," said Thanyachet, adding that video on demand is another significant trend in the Thai market. It began this year with apps such as doonung.net, which is available on LG Smart TVs, and will grow even further next year.
Thai Samsung Electronics has also actively fostered the market by holding a smart TV app contest encouraging developers to design applications for televisions.
In 2013, smart TVs and 3D features are expected to become much more widespread and will be seen as standard features in new TVs. However, we have yet to see that killer TV app.