“We must regulate televisions like smartphones, Google or Amazon”

Chronic. Buying a television in 2021 is to see how much this object has changed. We do not think, here, of the size of the screen or the quality of the image – always larger – but rather of the access to the programs. We are first offered to connect the station to the Internet by Wi-Fi. Then to confirm which applications will appear on the home screen: the famous platform of films and series Netflix, its competitors published by platforms. forms of e-commerce Prime Video (Amazon) or Rakuten TV, services of French audiovisual groups such as Canal +, France.tv or Salto (TF1, M6 and France Télévisions), the video platform of Google YouTube, assistants voice from Google or Amazon, audiovisual offers from telephone operators such as Orange, Bouygues or Free, etc.

To these will be added, once configured the television – in this case a Samsung – a link to Samsung TV Plus, a bouquet of channels published by the Korean manufacturer. Finally, on the remote control, there are two buttons for direct access to the Netflix, Prime Video and Samsung TV Plus services.

What a contrast to conventional linear television. Of course, the habit of watching its deferred programs is already well established: on the catch-up services of the chains, in the form of extracts, often on mobile, in video on demand… But a new explosion takes place with the Internet access, “Over the top”, without going through the regulated services. This may ultimately call into question the building created in France since the 1986 Audiovisual Law : the Superior council of audio-visual (CSA) allotted to the audio-visual groups of the frequencies to diffuse there the chains, with an ordered numbering, in exchange for commitments on the quality and the diversity of the programs, etc.

Admittedly, notes the CSA, the current TNT (digital terrestrial television) is not dead: 22% of the French still receive television by this only means. And 60% access it via the decoders of Internet service providers, which respect the numbering of the channels for the linear part. But 81% of French people have a television connected to the Internet, 40% of which live (+ 7 points in two years).

New audiovisual universe

In this new audiovisual world, channels, and even telephone operators, risk losing ground. As with smartphones, a crucial point is now the operating system of televisions. The leaders are the manufacturers Samsung and LG, or Google, which installed Android TV (a version of its mobile environment) on Sony, Philips, TCL, Thomson televisions … Apple and Amazon are also vying for a place, with their boxes to connect televisions and access video services, Apple TV and Fire TV.

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