ABI: Pay-TV operators have hard time working with new breed of connected devices

A slow moving business model, less technically savvy consumers and, possibly most important of all, five-to-seven-year old set-top box technology is slowing pay-TV providers as they try to keep up with connected TVs and iPads, according to ABI Research's Video SW Middleware and DRM Research Service.

A recent ABI Research survey included in its Technology Barometer found that 50 percent of consumers who own tablets are watching video content while on connected TV platforms, including Blu ray players, smart set-top boxes (if there are such things), connected TVs and connected game consoles.

The research further said that between 31 percent and 52 percent of consumers are using tablets for Internet video where the experience can actually be better than what comes through the traditional pay-TV service.

"HBO Go offers beautiful graphics, simple navigation and responsiveness while Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) has started to offer multiple user interfaces, including one optimized for children," an ABI Research news release stated.

Pay-TV operators, strapped with older technology, are "adopting search, recommendation and discovery technologies that can help viewers find the right content at the right time," Sam Rosen, practice director of TV and video at ABI Research, said in a statement. "These systems typically leverage cloud-based technologies for compensate for the older technology in the home."

A non-traditional group of vendors, including Rovi and Technicolor in the digital media company space, Viaccess Orca in middleware, and DigitalSmiths, APRICO and Gravity R&D "are competing to offer the core technologies rolled out by cable, satellite and IPTV pay TV operators," the news release said.

And, of course, second screen experiences via a plethora of new devices are also gaining traction, which, in no small part led AT&T (NYSE: T) U-verse to beef up its connected products offerings.

"The second screen complements and enhances TV by letting viewers explore and have a deeper experience with the content they care about, on the device they use most," Jeff Weber, president of content and advertising sales for AT&T Home Solutions, said in a news release announcing the new set of U-verse features.

For more:
 - see the ABI Research release

Related articles:
AT&T beefs up U-verse feature set
Gateways obviate the boxed-in feeling for an entertained home