At IBC today, Liberty Global, a leading international cable operator serving 18 million customers across 14 countries in Europe, Chile and Australia, today presented "Horizon" - an elegant media and entertainment platform for the home, which seamlessly integrates cable, web-based and personal content. Using a simple and intuitive interface and a powerful recommendation engine, consumers will be able to share and view content on multiple screens and devices wirelessly throughout the home.
The Horizon user experience was demonstrated today in Amsterdam by Mike Fries, President & CEO of Liberty Global. Commenting on Horizon, Mike Fries said:
"Over the last 20 years, Liberty Global has been at the forefront of driving technological innovation for its customers in Europe. Both in high-speed broadband and digital interactive television, we have constantly strived to improve our customers' experience. With Horizon, we're reinventing television."
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Open platform for a world of apps
In the same way that apps have added a new dimension to the use of smart phones and tablets, the Horizon open platform for apps aims to do the same for TV. The Horizon ecosystem is an open and scalable platform for the future on which developers can continue to improve and enhance the functionality for consumers. Liberty Global is working with international and national content providers, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, to develop applications for its standards-based 'App Store'. In this store, subscribers using Horizon will be offered a full catalog of web-based apps & widgets that will be seamlessly integrated in the TV user interface.
Liberty Global is reaching out to potential content partners and third party application developers and will soon launch a software developers' kit for Horizon, inviting them to join the already existing 60 content partners that have developed apps for the new platform.
Horizon is designed to put a computer at the heart of your digital home. This multimedia gateway will create a wireless network that connects your TV to all of your personal devices - computers, tablets and smartphones. The TV interface uses 3D graphics and images that will bring your content to life and make navigating simple, instant and seamless.
Supported by search and recommendation features, it will integrate access to personal media content such as photos, music and movies stored in the home or in the cloud. Horizon will also allow customers to take their entertainment experience beyond their home TVs. Applications have been developed for smartphones and tablet devices (second screens) as well as web browsers that will enable a similar and complementary experience on different devices both in and out of the home.
Liberty Global is currently executing field trials on Horizon in the Netherlands and later in the year will move to consumer trials. Commercial launch is planned for Q1 2012 at UPC in the Netherlands, with UPC Cablecom in Switzerland and Unitymedia in Germany following soon thereafter. Horizon will be added to the company's existing line-up of advanced digital products, and existing digital customers will be offered an attractive upgrade package at launch.
Liberty Global has developed Horizon with a set of world class technology partners. Samsung has built the multimedia home gateway, which will be powered by the Intel(R) Atom(TM) CE Media Processor. The middleware and the user experience will be provided by NDS. Nagravision will provide the conditional access solution through NAGRA Media Access. This solution will support MoCA and WiFi, and participate in the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) ecosystem. The ability to enable the TV experience on different devices (computers, tablets, smartphones) both in and out of the home will be delivered by IOKO's enterprise service platform and by the Platform video content management system. Empathy Labs was responsible for the website design.
Accedo provides applications, both through its own app store solutions and through application platforms from all major TV device manufacturers. Among Accedo’s applications is Funspot©, the most widely deployed TV game service, as well as video on demand apps, live TV apps, news and information, social media apps, to name but a few. Its cloud based solutions power applications on a number of major TV services and CE platforms.
“We are excited to reach this milestone,” commented Michael Lantz, CEO, Accedo. “The growth is absolutely phenomenal at this point and we believe that we are seeing just the beginning of the emerging TV apps industry.”
Accedo has deployed apps on more than 50 operator platforms and has active application deployments with major media and Internet brands on most Smart TV platforms. With customers on all continents and local presence through five offices around the world, Accedo’s solutions are scalable for local requirements and global consumer demand.
“So far we have mainly seen the larger players launch TV apps, but we believe that smaller media companies will see the opportunity to generate new revenue streams and find new customer groups,” added Michael Lantz. “We have launched the SmartApp™ solution for such companies, to allow them to quickly launch high quality apps on multiple platforms. This product is already available for a number of application categories and platforms, with more on the way.”
Accedo is showcasing its products and solutions at IBC on booth 4.C81.
Mobile and digital technology business Mobile Interactive Group (MIG) today announced that it is working with broadcaster, Channel 5 and Endemol to deliver voting via Facebook for the next Big Brother season.
The broadcaster has developed a specially created Facebook application that will run alongside the current series which it bought the rights to from Endemol earlier this year.
Rebecca Whitlock, Commercial Dev Controller, Channel 5 commented:
“Trends in the broadcast and entertainment industry are constantly evolving, yet providing the best and most innovative interactive services for our viewer’s remains a core focus for us. We’ve worked with MIG for several years, and their knowledge and insight into the broadcast industry ensures our viewers receive the best and most engaging multi-channel experience possible.”
Rob Weisz, Commercial Director, Mobile Interactive Group said:
“This is a major development in the broadcast interactive space. It is widely acknowledged that viewers are moving to multi-channel experiences when watching traditional shows and we are delighted to announce this partnership with Channel 5 and Endemol. This technology has been developed specifically to create an exciting and engaging interactive experience regardless of whether you interact with a TV show via Facebook, iTunes, Android, traditional web and mobile web.
“We strongly believe this will allow global broadcasters and production companies a seamless way to monetise their audiences, whilst creating a deeply social experience within the show format and on the second screen. It is unlike anything this industry has seen before but defines exactly where interactive television is going. This is a watershed announcement for this industry.”
The application will allow viewers to vote for contestants using Facebook Credits through MIG’s mVoy Engage platform casting votes in real time through to the live show alongside traditional interactive voting methods. The platform is also integrated into the Official Big Brother UK iPhone and Android Applications offer a true multi-channel voting experience.
Additionally, MIG’s ‘Mobile, Facebook and Interactive TV’ white paper recently revealed that ‘40% of mobile users are most likely to be multi-tasking using their phone while watching TV’ and that ‘Social participation TV (S P-TV) will drive interactive behaviour to generate $2.9bn globally by 2016’. The white paper can be accessed here – http://info.migcan.com/MIGwhitepaper
In May 2011 MIG achieved Facebook Preferred Developer status, marking them as one of the only UK mobile, transactional and interactive businesses in the Facebook developer network.Add a comment
Apps on my TV? Yes, you heard correctly: web-enabled TV applications are
no longer the stuff of sci-fi films. At IBC 2011, Opera Software pulls
out of its hat the all new Opera TV Store, a simple solution for
developers to build HTML5 apps for connected TVs and devices. OEMs, on
the other hand, can take advantage of these ready-made apps and offer
them to their customers in an instant.
"Apps are a new must-have on TVs,” said Frode Hernes, VP Products, TV and Connected Devices, Opera Software. “With the Opera TV Store, developers can easily build cool and useful apps for millions of TV viewers. And, yet again, Opera takes these apps across devices, bringing games, news, video and audio apps to TVs, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players."
Why stop there?
Opera also presents the Opera TV Emulator, a tool that allows developers do all the nips and tucks needed to build various TV apps without leaving their computers, and without investing in expensive bells and whistles needed for TV development.
The Opera TV Emulator rocks the following innovative features:
"Developing applications for TVs could not be easier," said Andreas Bovens, Group Leader, Development Relations, Opera Software. "Opera TV Emulator offers a complete package to develop, debug and deploy TV applications right from your PC."
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No SDK left behind
Meet Opera at IBC
See the Opera TV Store and Opera TV Emulator in action at IBC 2011. Please visit the Opera Software booth in Hall 5, B47, or, for more information, contact Katrin Jaakson (firstname.lastname@example.org). The following partners also showcase Opera on their devices: AirTies Wireless Networks (Hall 5, B33), Albis Technologies (Hall 4, C71), Amino Communications (Hall 5, B40), CreNova Technology (Hall 5, B15b), Entone (Hall 13, 266), Ericsson (Hall 1, D61), HUMAX Co. Ltd (Hall 4, B70), IMAQLIQ (Hall 13, 372), SetOne (Hall 4, B50), Technisat Digital S.A. (Hall 1, A44), ViXS Systems Inc. (G104), Zappware (Hall 4, B51), 3view Consumer Electronics Ltd. (Hall 13, 154).
TV App Agency, a London based, specialist developer of Apps for internet connected TV’s and devices are working with Rightmove to develop a property App for connected TV. The App, to be launched later this year on Samsung Smart TV sets, will provide the ultimate shared viewing experience by allowing families and friends to use Rightmove to search for property and be able to view property pictures, floor plans, details and maps on the largest screen in the home.
Andy Eardley co-founder & Director of TV App Agency said:
“We are really excited about developing a TV App for Rightmove. As a leading adopter of technology they immediately bought into the vision our team created to develop a dedicated Rightmove TV App. The App looks amazing, viewing large images of property on a TV with families and friends is an enjoyable shared experience”.
Rightmove director Miles Shipside comments:
“TV App Agency have developed an exciting new Rightmove app for use on connected TV’s. The App is an ideal addition to Rightmove’s range of home-hunting platforms, allowing users to now search for their next home on the largest and most communal screen in the house. We see the TV app marketplace as having a lot of potential and it is a platform we were keen for Rightmove to appear on.”
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Accedo and Vestel have announced a partnership to bring Accedo’s applications and services to Vestel TV devices and jointly drive the development of attractive applications and services.
Accedo’s portfolio of TV applications and services has been deployed on numerous TV platforms. Accedo works with leading media and service companies, in addition to internal innovation, to bring the best possible application experience for TV consumers.
“We’re thrilled to establish a partnership with Vestel,” commented Michael Lantz, CEO, Accedo. “From a market leading position in Turkey, it has established itself as a challenger on the international TV market, which has embraced Internet Connected TVs fully.”
“Accedo’s experience and knowledge of the TV industry made them an ideal partner for us,” said Hakan Kutlu, Deputy General Manager responsible for Marketing, Vestel. “Consumers want all types of Internet content in their living rooms and TV remains the most desired device for consuming the digital media. With Accedo applications, Vestel connected TVs will increase technology and innovation to meet consumer demands.”
The first Accedo applications on Vestel TVs will be launched Q4 2011, with further applications and services to be introduced in 2012.Add a comment
Gracenote is expanding its offerings for Smart TVs with the launch of Gracenote eyeQ™, an Interactive Program Guide (IPG) which delivers the most comprehensive European television channel and program listings available today, as well as other powerful Smart TV features. Philips will be one of the first TV manufacturers to feature a program guide powered by Gracenote eyeQ in its 2011 Smart TV line-up. In addition, Loewe will demonstrate iPad and Android channel guide Apps featuring Gracenote eyeQ during IFA this week in Berlin.
Gracenote eyeQ is a one-stop global solution that enables consumer electronics manufacturers to transform Smart TVs into media hubs where viewers can easily browse TV schedules for local and national broadcasters, as well as on-demand and streaming content. Gracenote eyeQ takes viewers beyond typical channel guides, creating a launching point to explore content. Clicking on a TV listing uncovers synopsis, cast and crew information, high resolution artwork, and links to related content. Viewers can also discover new TV programs through smart recommendations specific to their viewing habits and likes.
Gracenote eyeQ integrates with Gracenote's suite of Smart TV technologies – which include Gracenote MusicID®, VideoID™ and Video Explore™. The Video Explore technology lets viewers link from a TV program listing to search Gracenote's database of movie and TV information. Meanwhile, Gracenote MusicID lets viewers identify songs playing in any movie or TV program, as well as better manage digital music collections across devices and home networks.
Gracenote and Philips Deliver a Smarter Way to Watch TV
By adding Gracenote eyeQ into its Smart TV platform, Philips is providing a "home screen" where viewers can easily find and access content from both broadcast and on-demand/streaming sources. The Gracenote powered program guide and smart recommendation technology will first be available as a software update to current owners of Philips Smart TVs.
Gracenote and Loewe Pair Mobile Apps with Smart TV
Loewe will be demonstrating an iPad and Android App at IFA that allows TV viewers to interact with their TV set using a program guide powered by Gracenote eyeQ. By simply launching the Loewe App on their iPad or Android device, viewers receive a more personal Smart TV experience, letting them browse channels without interrupting the main TV screen.
The Backbone of the Smart TV
"TV viewership is on the rise and is being radically transformed from a passive experience to a more engaged, interactive, and on-demand experience," said Stephen White, president of Gracenote. "Gracenote eyeQ lets manufacturers provide a deeper and more personal way to watch TV, while also getting the ability to steer people to purchase, stream and download content."
Gracenote eyeQ uses direct feeds from content owners, as well as industry-leading partners such as Tribune Media Services, which provides TV, movie and celebrity metadata, images and program schedules. In addition, through Gracenote's recent integration of German-based tvtv Services, the preeminent Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) and connected TV service provider in Europe, the company now offers television programming listings for more than 17,000 channels in more than 20 countries.Add a comment
Ericsson ConsumerLab has released the results of its annual study "TV & Video Consumer Trend Report 2011", with 22 qualitative and 13,000 quantitative interviews conducted representing almost 400 million consumers - shows that social media usage has impacted the way we watch TV. More than 40 per cent of the respondents reported using social media on various devices such as smartphones and tablets while watching TV.
Data for the report was collected in Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK, the US and South Korea.
"Our in-depth interviews - especially those in the US, which is a frontrunner in TV/video consumer trends - show how social media usage is impacting viewing. The majority of families combined TV viewing with the use of Twitter, Facebook, texting, voice calls and forum discussions about what they watched. This is particularly the case when watching reality shows and sports. This communication adds another dimension to the TV experience, as consumers found an annoying reality show funnier when they were able to comment on social media about 'terrible' singers, 'ugly' clothing or when your favorite team scores a goal," Erlandsson says.
The report also noted that people are spending slightly less time watching scheduled broadcast TV, and that they are spending more time watching streamed on-demand TV online. More than 44 (38) percent of the respondents reported watching internet-based on-demand TV more than once per week, while about 80 percent watch broadcast TV more than once per week. People in Germany spend no less than 25 hours per week watching TV and Video, but only 28 percent of this content is on-demand. In Spain as much as 44 percent of all TV viewing is on-demand.
Anders Erlandsson, Senior Advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab, noted:
"On-demand viewing is increasingly popular, while broadcast viewing has remained as the most common way for people to watch TV. People want both broadcast and on- demand viewing to be available. TV and video have not been negatively affected by the internet in the same way that print has; we just watch TV in many more ways than we did before."
In terms of what consumers want most from their TVs, good quality remains the top factor and is more important than, for example, the availability of 3D TV and access to applications. The service consumers are most willing to pay for is getting fresh Box Office movies, that still run at the movie theaters, directly to the TV.
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The checkin is not the answer to Social TV, Miso CEO Somrat Niyogi, told Appmarket.tv at the first Social TV Summit in Los Angeles earlier this year. And it appears that Miso has perhaps found the answer?
"The integration of Miso’s social TV app adds another dimension to the viewing experience and supports DIRECTV’s strategy to assist customers in discovering television shows, sports and movies through their friends and social connections," said DIRECTV CTO Rômulo Pontual.
“Our partnership with DIRECTV is a big step toward delivering a truly connected home experience because, for the first time ever, a social TV app will enable viewers to easily share what they’re watching, as they’re watching it,” said Somrat Niyogi, CEO of Miso. “DIRECTV is a leader in providing innovative entertainment and we’re excited to be working with them to deliver this industry first. This is just the first of many new partnerships we’ll announce in the coming months.”
The San Francisco Gate is reporting that Miso, via a new deal with DirecTV, is now entering the synchronous 'scene' with a multiplatform play that, unlike a number of others such as IntoNow does not rely on audio fingerprinting, but rather taps into the wireless network in the house.
"...DirecTV subscribers will find their Miso app will automatically display what's currently on their TV, even if they change channels or watch a program recorded on the DVR. (See video below.) The integration only works with DirecTV's Internet-enabled HD set top box, which the Miso app communicates with through the user's home WiFi network.
Miso only has about 225,000 users, but the concept of social TV is generating buzz within the entertainment industry because viewers are already using a "second screen" - like laptops and smart phones - to share what they are watching.
One big example came Sunday when the MTV Video Music Awards generated a record 8,868 Twitter tweets per second as singer Beyoncé Knowles revealed she is pregnant. As Forbes contributor Michael Humphrey noted, there were 5 million mentions of the VMAs on Facebook, Twitter, Miso and GetGlue. That, Humphrey said, could be as important a stat someday as the Nielsen ratings.
Cory Bergman at Lost Remote interviewed Niyogi:
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Lost Remote: You’ve said the check-in is just a starting point. Does your DirectTV deal signal a new era of the integrated check-in?
Somrat Niyogi: We think this is a lot bigger than just an integrated check-in. We see this as a new era around “connected social TV,” where devices are truly communicating with each other to deliver a more seamless and integrated sharing experience. Now that I know what you’re watching whether live, on DVR, or on-demand, and I know what you’re watching, we can start exploring delivering what you want at those exact moments. What if you are watching “Glee” and Brittany says something funny that you want to share and immediately you get a push notification with the quote she just said on TV. No more typing, just more seamless sharing. This is the start of an era of delivering on the promise of a connected home.