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Connected devices raising bar for pay TV operators, says ABI Research

Connected TVs and iPads are delivering a user experience pay TV companies are struggling to emulate, according to a new survey conducted by ABI Research.

Many pay TV operators find they are at a hardware disadvantage with deployed STBs that typically are 5 to 7 years old. At the same time, viewers are seeking out video content from a wider array of choices, including the Internet.

"To meet this demand, pay TV operators are adopting search, recommendation and discovery technologies that can help viewers find the right content at the right time. These systems typically leverage cloud-based technologies to compensate for the older technology in the home," said Sam Rosen, practice director of TV & video at ABI Research.

As part of its "Technology Barometer," ABI Research found more than 50 percent of media tablet owners report watching Internet video content. Similarly, between 31 percent and 52 percent of consumers using connected TV platforms, such as Blu-ray players, smart STBs, connected TVs and connected game console, are using the devices to access Internet video. (Percentages vary depending upon the device.)

Additionally, established digital media companies, such as Rovi and Technicolor, TV middleware companies, and other innovators are competing to offer the core technologies rolled out by cable, satellite and IPTV pay TV operators, the research firm said.