CES: The “Second Screen” Experience

by Parks Associates | Feb. 6, 2013

By Kurt Scherf, Contributor

A significant buzz in the consumer electronics industry for the past year or so has been the term “second screen.” It denotes how consumers are simultaneously watching television while using mobile devices such as smartphones and web tablets to create an interactive environment. Whether they are voting for their favorite musical contestant, tweeting about a show, or looking up programming information on a site such as imdb.com, the industry is interested in more tightly bridging the gap between the television content and the mobile device by “synchronizing” the experience. By recognizing what is playing on the television, the mobile device can display complementary content, relevant advertising, or social networking tools that allow the viewer to interact with other fans. Engadget has a good summary of some of the major second-screen announcements at the 2013 CES.

The use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as secondary (or even primary) video screens as a complement to – or even replacement of – the television display itself is a huge trend. And, while “second-screen” features from the previous paragraph tend to focus on the mobile device as a secondary device to the TV, there are a growing number of technologies aimed at thinking of the smartphone or tablet as your primary video device and your television as merely a display. There are many efforts underway to link a mobile device to a television and allow viewers to “push” content to the larger display. Technologies in this space to pay attention to include Apple’s AirPlay, the Digital Living Network Alliance (or DLNA), Google, Miracast,and Skifta.

Kurt Scherf, Contributor, has attended 13 out of the last 14 Consumer Electronics Shows in Las Vegas and tracked the news and developments remotely this year. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the 2013 CES was the largest in terms of physical space (1.92 million square feet), with attendance of more than 150,000, with 35,000 people from 170 countries outside the U.S. While plenty of column space was dedicated to the companies that weren’t in attendance in an official capacity (Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Research In Motion, to name a few), there is always enough excitement in the new year about consumer electronics developments to cover.  



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