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Why Multi-Screen Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Multi-Room

The history of television viewing in the home is one of convergence and divergence of viewers. When televisions were new and expensive the whole family crowded round the one set in the sitting room. As technology costs came down and more channels were made available, families bought multiple sets and viewers disappeared into their respective rooms.

According to discussions that came out of Motorola’s Video Leadership Forum last week, we may be on the cusp of a return to family viewing…except with a twist. They may be in the same room, but not necessarily watching the same screen!

There are already plenty of video services available for smartphones and ones for tablets re beginning to emerge. While operators are looking at ways to monetize these non-traditional services, research shared with attendees suggests that consumer appetite for non-television based content is considerable.

I was initially struck by how rude it was to be in the same room as other family members and friends but not paying attention to the same thing. Of course, I quickly realized that it was a lot more social than sitting in your own bedroom watching television with the door shut.

Technology is bringing the social element back to television , whether that’s remotely via social media platforms, getting families around a big showpiece high definition 50” TV or simply allowing people to choose their own content but not having to be tethered to an aerial socket to watch it.

And when you look back on the notion of television as being a family event, you wonder how many times the people sitting round the television actually enjoyed what they were watching! We are again entering an era of convergence as regards broadcast services and viewers coming together expect this time, they may not be watching the same thing!

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