Dushyant Kohli, Head Growth, NexGTV

Imagine, for a moment that the modern smartphone has disappeared from our lives. The sheer number of products and devices that we would need, to make up for its absence, are astounding. Calendar, wrist watch, music player, landline and desktop – the compact gadget in our pockets has evolved to encompass the functions of all these devices and more. A similar progression is followed in technology across other categories as well – innovation and subsequent consolidation. The TV has come a long way from featuring just one government-approved channel to completely transforming the way we spend our free time. And the future lies in increasingly smarter combinations of various technologies. Home entertainment now means so much more than just a surround sound audio system and a sleek plasma TV set.

This evolution is connected to the digitization of cable TV, and the prominent presence of direct broadcast satellite television providers in the country. The audio and video quality of content has only gotten better and better, which has led to an increase in the time the average viewer spends in front of a screen. The ability to choose content has also changed the expectations of a consumer from an in-home entertainment system.

The future involves further streamlining of the entertainment experience with a single Smart Hybrid OTT Box' being all you need. A single device with a single wire that will embody the streaming revolution that is already taking place around us – and effectively fuse together the Internet, telephony, and cable service. This in-home entertainment system will consist of centralized streaming, which will provide homeowners instant access to and complete control over the content of their choice. A viewer will be able to curate entertainment from not just the running television channels but also from everything available on the World Wide Web. This means ready access to infinite VOD options, movies, TV shows, games, web series, and viral content from across the globe. Gaming on this system will allow for multiplayer matches that can include experiences with friends and family, as well as the newest gaming technology such as glyphs, which allows users to feel as though they are within the gaming arena.

The way we listen to music will undergo a transformation as well allowing us to choose from both running channels and audio-on-demand. Combining this with the technology used by apps such as Shazam and SoundHound, users will be able to play any song they like, even if they do not know the title or the artist. The smart box will also have additional features to enhance this experience including, say, finding the lyrics to the chosen song and playing them in a karaoke mode – the possibilities are endless. Of course, this system will also enable us to stay connected to social media, sharing content with peers, and following our favorite creators and actors.

The mainstay of the system, ideally, will be interconnectedness, with the main OTT box syncing wirelessly with multiple devices. This will allow multiple devices to connect with the box and each other to share or consume common content or play multiplayer games seamlessly on interconnected devices even without using Internet. Tablet- and smartphone-based remotes will become much more common. A built-in camera will facilitate video calls and enable users to upload videos of themselves to sites like YouTube directly from their television screens. This interconnectedness would also allow for auto-curation, as the entertainment system will be able to generate recommendations based on consumer profiling and overall usage by the individual. In addition, the OTT box will enable repetitive watching without utilization of Internet bandwidth, acting as a storage device that can also stream downloaded content to other screens. Ultimately, the system will become a home entertainment assistant of sorts, with the help of face- and voice-recognition technologies, which will play, save, and organize content even without touch.

To conclude, the future of in-home entertainment will be built on consolidated innovation that aims to provide more and more control to users. An average viewer will not just be watching newly released movies, and streaming live concerts, but will also be able to post social media updates, form a library of favorite music, and send out content to the world. All of this instantly and with minimum wiring! Sounds too good to be true? With time, you'll realize it's not!