IFA GPC 2017: ‘Personal time’ viewing is driving a revolution in portable video

IFA GPC 2017, Lisbon: Why your habit of watching video on your phone while flying or or on a train is making Netflix and Amazon up their game

Lisbon, Portugal: Have you started downloading videos from Netflix or Amazon to your phone or tablet prior to a long flight? The increase in time we spend watching video on our phones and on our own is drastically changing the content we’re being offered. That was the message coming out of the IFA GPC 2017 in Lisbon, where Ultra HD downloads and streaming was focused on as being on the cusp of availability to travellers, commuters and people watching TV on their phones around their home.

Rise in mobile video

A global online survey of 26,000 consumers in 26 countries by Accenture this week reveals that people increasingly prefer to watch TV shows on devices such as laptops, desktop computers and smartphones. 42 percent said they would rather view TV shows on a laptop or desktop, up from 32 percent in last year’s survey, and 13 percent said they prefer watching TV shows on their smartphones, compared with 10 percent last year.

 

Mind the gap

The reason for all this are the streaming services’ clever tactics with regard to Ultra HD, and higher quality generally. “Pay TV companies have been marketing Ultra HD as a top-tier service, but Netflix and Amazon has been saying saying that their content is better, and, by the way, it’s also in HDR and Ultra HD,” said Paul Gray, Principal Analyst/Researcher at IHS Technology, at the IFA Grand Press Conference in Lisbon on Friday. “They use Ultra HD to market their content, they don’t sell it as a specific product – and it’s transcending the gap between mobile and ‘static’ viewing on a TV.”

What is HDR and 4K?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which increases the colour definition of video, while 4K ups the resolution a stunning four times compared to Full HD. After a few years of being offered to stream on 4K TVs by streaming services, they’re now offering them to the latest phones from Sony and LG, which have both HDR and 4K-capable screens.

Impressive experience

“It’s an impressive achievement when you hold up an LG G6 against an HDR TV and both screens look the same,” said Gray. “Watching video on your phone or tablet is becoming ‘personal time’ – it’s your own time to enjoy your video while you’re on a train or a plane,” he said. “It’s about a personalised spoiling of yourself.” Gray added that while a shift in consumer behaviour has caused Netflix and Amazon to concentrate on HDR and 4K for phones, there’s a bigg reason coming around the corner; the next 100 million subscribers for streaming services will mostly come from the developing world, where smartphones and the internet and one and the same.

IFA 2017 will take place in Berlin from 1-6 September, 2017