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Welcome to the virtual global fireside

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Research into TV viewing habits, released by Intel, has revealed the emergence of the ‚Global Fireside’. TV is still a ‚sociable’ experience, but rather than nattering about programmes the next day, we’re increasingly logging on to chat about them in real-time. By connecting with fellow viewers in this way, we have naturally created a ‚Global Fireside.’

Gathering around the TV set with friends and family remains a much-loved pastime ‚ 74% of us say so. But we have taken the old habit of chatting about TV programming and propelled it into the 21st Century. 42% of 18-24 year olds use instant messenger (IM) to converse about broadcasts, while more than a third (35%) post comments to social networking sites. Generation X is getting in on the act too. 20% of adults use IM and 16% social networking sites. Plus, 22% of us want a quick and easy way to recommend shows to friends.

Paul Tapp, Consumer Electronics Marketing Manager for Intel EMEA, said: ‚TV is still a ‚group activity’ that is, families and friends gathering round the TV to watch their favourite programmes, only today we are just as likely to gather virtually through social networking sites, as in person. The World Cup this summer was a prime example of this, with increasing numbers of us turning to Facebook and Twitter to comment and quip on events as they happened.‚

‚Even more of us are set to join the ‚Global Fireside’ thanks to the biggest TV revolution since television born – smart TV,‚ continued Tapp. ‚It combines everything people love about TV and the Internet. People can easily surf between TV channels, websites, their own digital content and social networking applications, and enjoy an interactive and highly social experience. For example, with smart TV devices people will be able to chat with others, regardless of their location, in real-time. Imagine the possibilities – if you’re a fan of the Boston Red Sox but live in Geneva, you’ll be able to connect with a group of TV friends from as far afield as Nairobi, Bangalore and Manila to watch the game together, and talk about it as it happens.‚

Channel You

We may have hundreds of channels to choose from, but well over a third of us (46%) still struggle to find something we actually want to watch. Too much choice, it seems is no choice, with the vast majority of us (86%) sticking to the same small number of channels despite having lots to choose from.

But the days of complaining there’s nothing to watch are numbered. Smart TV serves up our own personal TV channel, making it easy for us to watch all sorts of programming on our TV set, whether that’s traditional broadcasts, streaming video on the Internet or films stored on our laptops ‚ 39% of us say we will welcome this innovation with open arms. But it’s not just a question of making it easier for us to do the work, what we actually want is our TV to do all the work for us.

60% want our TV sets to recommend programmes based on our previous viewing habits, along the lines of websites that suggest books or music we may like based on our previous purchases: while two-thirds (67%) of us want our TVs to find our favourite shows that are no longer on air. Smart TV has the potential to do both.

Satisfying a cravingWe are unwittingly trying to create our own smart TV by fusing together TV, the Internet and our own personal digital content. 42% of us use our laptops whilst watching TV: while just over a third of us (35%) have linked our laptops to the TV set. Unsurprisingly, given the general confusion about cables, ports and tuning, the tech-savvy amongst us (52%) are more likely to have experimented with this.

While this tech wizardry may be considered futuristic by many of us, the motivations for linking up the laptop to the TV are timeless. 62% of us do it so we can show off photographs to our friends and family ‚ the Noughties’ equivalent of old-fashioned slide show ‚ loved by many, yet hated by more: while 59% of us simply want to watch films we’ve download from the Internet.

What is Intel bringing to Smart TV?

Intel is using its deep experience and compelling computing innovation to drive the industry forward and propel advances in smart TV technologies. The Intel Atom processor is bringing intelligent and powerful capabilities to the smart TV experience. Available in a new range of TVs, DVD/Blu-ray players and set-top boxes, this processor provides the compute performance needed to deliver a truly integrated broadcast and broadband experience.

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