It is a known fact that digital apps in smartphones are going to change the way people watch television programming. The data packed apps on tablets and smartphones are comprehensively changing the way majority of the Americans access videos these days. The transformation is happening, as telecom, cable, and satellite TV providers are also trying to consolidate functionalities into their apps.
Eventually, as smart televisions become much popular, service providers will deliver their complete range of TV and internet products through their own apps, eliminating the need to have digital set top boxes. However, the key point here is the set top box and the timing of its demise.
Many of the operators like Comcast and Charter, with their X1 platform set top boxes and WorldBox technology, are rolling out new and improved devices that should have life span of many years, owing to the huge money invested in manufacturing and installing these boxes. Nevertheless, the television industry is moving in an IP direction, and the move of unlocking the cable box by the Federal Communications Commission is also accelerating the evolution of television industry.
For the cable TV operators, apps have evolved much since their initial release; mainly for the customers to make use of their smart phone as television remote. Today, mobile apps have become an integral part of the TV watching experience, and offer an alternative to watch programs whether you are in or out of your home. Apps are also a good portal to resolve customer service issues and do tasks like programming DVRs.
Executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Altice USA, Matt Lake, has been immersed in app development since their predecessor Cablevision introduced their Optimum apps in 2011. Since then, Optimum has introduced customer service apps and apps to spot the more than 1.5 million WiFi hotspots spread across the New York metro area service territory of Optimum internet.
The objective is to make this as easy for customers as possible,” Lake said. “In the world of connectivity, it’s about simplifying complexity. What we have found is if there are particular needs for a customer out there, an app can potentially solve that. What we are trying to do is make sure we have a differentiating experience for our customers and separate ourselves from the competition that is out there. That’s how we tend to look our development efforts and where we put our investment in terms of the different technologies we pursue.”