Apple, Samsung in ‘Simulviewing’ Race
two screens to see
more about the same
into significant use, and
the emerging service
may become a battleground
between Samsung and Apple.
Both companies have a significant
presence in the tablet and TV sectors, although
Apple’s television role is, for now,
confined to its Apple TV over-the-top Internet
video set-top-box “puck” and service.
Nonetheless, with its dominant iPad
and much-anticipated, looming TV set,
Apple could become an even more significant
provider in the simulviewing category.
Meanwhile Samsung, currently the largest
TV set vendor, is making a strong push
for its revamped Galaxy tablet products,
which include a “Smart View” feature that
enables the tablets to mirror what’s on
the TV set and integrate the experience.
A COMPLETE EXPERIENCE
|Samsung Smart View showcasing the app’s key function, simultaneously mirroring the content of the Samsung Smart TV on a Galaxy tablet
Giving the devices “the ability to share
content simultaneously” will fulfill viewers’
expectations for a complete experience,
says Eric Anderson, vice president,
content and product solutions at Samsung
Electronics America Inc. He envisions a
new type of video production that encompasses
“We think that working directly with
content developers to help them modify
their way of storytelling [will create] compelling
and intuitive programs [as a] new
form of entertainment,” Anderson says.
Even more fundamentally, Galaxy functions
and apps allow viewers to use the
tablet as a remote control for their TV sets
as well as accessing additional information,
back-story scenes or other video or
text content about the shows they are
For Apple, which is typically much
more secretive about its product and content
agenda, the speculation is being fueled
by third-party sources. In late June,
Brightcove Inc., a cloud-content services
provider, unveiled its “App Cloud DualScreen Solution for Apple TV.” Brightcove
CEO Jeremy Allaire minced no words,
describing how the “contextual interface
software [opens the door] to a new kind
of content experience for the connected
consumer that blends the rich contextual
information that fans crave with HD television
|A demo of Brightcove’s App Cloud
“App Cloud is transforming the iPad
and iPhone app experience by marrying
rich contextual content for mobile devices
video viewing on
the living room
While a single vendor
not necessary, it’s
easy to see why
and other major
would like to unify
the customer experience.
Currently, Vizio is the only major TV
maker with a significant tablet presence,
although Sony could enter the fray via its
eReader and other handset products, (e.g.
its phone handset line of business that it
took over from former partner Ericsson).
Similarly, Microsoft—with its new Surface
tablet—could become a factor in simulviewing for over-the-top content
since the Microsoft Xbox console is a primary
source of OTT content.
LG Electronics is a major smartphone
provider, but has not established a sustainable
tablet beachhead. Other major
TV makers, including Panasonic, Toshiba
and Sharp, do not have significant handset
|Eric Anderson, vice president, content and product solutions at Samsung Electronics America Inc.
Which brings us back to Samsung versus
Apple. Brightcove’s Allaire focuses
on the capabilities
apps on the iPad
and iPhone, which
allow viewers to
control and interact
with their DTV
monitors. The new
technology to let
viewers use applications
present content, interactive options
and data on both the touch device
and via an Apple TV set-top box today
(and possibly the TV monitor eventually).
“The TV is another screen for your
apps,” Allaire explains.
Skeptics continue to question the
simulviewing option, fretting, for example,
that it will distract viewers from watching advertisements. According to this fear,
viewers will pay attention to alternative
videos—such as character background—
on the second screen rather than focus on
Yet, technology providers as well as
networks are cultivating advertisers who
want to convey their stories more deeply.
Samsung’s Anderson says his company is already
working with Toyota, State Farm and
others to create enhanced, targeted commercials
for the simulviewing opportunity.
Not yet included in this conversation
are broadcast and cable networks or local
stations whose viewership will inevitably
be affected by simulviewing. Of course, at
least 60 percent of today’s tablet owners
already have their devices nearby, often
in use, while they watch TV, according to
Nielsen, comScore and other researchers.
But most of today’s multitasking is believed
to be for non-TV-related purposes,
such as checking email or wandering
around social media sites.
Nonetheless, a handful of content producers
are already exploring simulviewing
opportunities—the latest incarnation
of interactive TV ideas that have been
bruited about for more than a decade.
HBO’s “Game of Thrones” features apps
that let viewers figure out character relationships. Reality programs and newscasts
are looking at ways to integrate their onscreen
and online offerings, although not
always ideally for simultaneous viewing.
|Damon Phillips, vice president, ESPN3
Predictably sports programming is the
most significant early adopter of simulviewing.
ESPN did it earlier
this month with its Wimbledon
tennis coverage, allowing
to watch matches (such as
their favorite players) on
the ESPN3 online-streaming
video service via their
tablets while, at the same
time, tuning into the ESPN2
linear TV channel to watch
the primary matches.
Damon Phillips, vice
president for ESPN3, points
out that June was actually a banner month for such simulviewing,
with more than 1 billion minutes of
“Watch ESPN” consumption on tablets
and other online access devices. June was
the month of the National Basketball Association’s
playoff finals, the Euro 2012
soccer championship and
the college baseball World
Phillips expects even
more such simulviewing
during the upcoming
college football season.
He points to the “Gamecast”
service that ESPN
has developed, which encourages
experience,” as well as
the availability of out-ofmarket
college games, a
favorite of alumni around the country.
“Our whole point is… [to] navigate
people around the different platforms,” he
says, referring to ESPN’s TV and online distribution
The integration of two-screen viewing,
by Apple, Samsung as well as programmers,
will mark a shift in how shows are
consumed and produced.
The simulviewing wave is upon us
now. Get ready to multitask.
Gary Arlen is president of Arlen
Communications LLC, a media/telcom
research firm. He can be reached at GaryArlen@columnist.com