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Cloud TV: here to stay or passing fad?

2011-12-22 11:31    Ecns.cn     Web Editor: Wang Fan

(Ecns.cn) – On Dec. 18, cloud-computing TV was studied in a weekly program aired on China Central Television (CCTV), in which it was reported that sales of the new smart TV service have been rising since its debut in August, and that it would probably bring about a revolution in the industry.

Cloud TV, as it is called, is increasingly favored by young consumers in China for its higher speeds and cross-platform interactivity.

Developed from Internet TV, Cloud TV has improved on the aspects of memory and service speeds, with data stored in a special Cloud platform rather than in the system of the TV itself. Once connected to the internet, the Cloud TV enables customers to share all resources, according to the CCTV program.

In recent years, as dividends generated by upgrading from cathode ray tube to flat-panel televisions have gradually disappeared, China's TV industry has been suffering mounting deficits (or losses). The flat-panel business is at a low ebb, and is now the main cause of the global TV industry's downturn.

According to the latest LCD Industry Dynamics report released by DisplaySearch, a leading global market research and consulting firm, production of most global TV brands is slowing down. Though the figure hit a record high in November and December due to the Chinese New Year holiday, the shipment of LCD TVs will continue to drop globally in the coming year, according to the report.

Under such conditions, TV brands, including leading global vendors, are not only planning to carry new sizes and low-specification LCD TVs to create business opportunities and drive traffic, they are also considering new cloud-computing strategies.

For example, Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group said it would soon unveil a "smart TV" product called LeTV under the cloud-computing strategy, as it competes with others to diversify and address growing demand for Internet-connected devices.

In October, it was announced that the Skyworth cloud TV 46E98 had won the 2011 Most Successful Design Award with its transcendent creative design. The design award is one of the most prestigious in the domestic industry.

Cloud TV is different from traditional TV, in that it enables consumers to use the latest software and applications without worrying that the product will become quickly outdated. With cloud services, users can easily send photos, music and movies stored via cell phone to their Cloud TVs through WIFI. They can also share content between multiple devices using the phone as remote controller.

According to CCTV, the price of a Cloud TV is currently only 1,000 yuan ($158) higher than an LCD TV of similar configuration, and most of the consumers are young people.

In the program, it was reported that about 15 percent of the interviewees had not heard about the new gadget, and most of the remaining 85 percent had only limited knowledge of it. One customer said his understanding of Cloud TV was that it can be connected to the Android system and controlled though cell phones to browse electronic albums and play computer games.

Its main difference from an Internet TV is that a Cloud TV is an open device which allows all information to be shared and is not constrained by its own memory size.

Though there are still a number of people with doubts, others say Cloud TV has a promising future and may even replace smart TVs completely, ushering in a new digital TV era.