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"Zeebox" is the new project of Anthony Rose, the technologist who built KaZaA and BBC iPlayer, and Peoplesound founder and ex EMI SVP Ernesto Schmitt as CEO, is due to go live in October as reported by PaidContent.org. They raised $5MM from unidentified investors.
What Zeebox is
Zeebox is a real-time system for social TV viewing and for engaging deeply around those shows that depends on recognising sofa-based second screens as the place for innovation. The -free-Zeebox app for the iPad is a TV guide that displays what your Facebook and Twitter friends are watching. If users have connected TVs they can use the app as a remote control.
Zeebox's contextual power
"But this “second-by-second” approach is the fabric of more than just Zeebox’s social interaction. Using both commercially licensable broadcast metadata and frame-by-frame analysis of live TV pictures and audio, Zeebox will apparently understand exactly what is on the TV screen at any given moment (“just as Google (NSDQ: GOOG) spiders the web”), in order to serve up all manner of related material on the handheld app.
As example, Schmitt shows how, whilst Tom Cruise is interviewed on Top Gear, the app will auto-display “infotags” for spoken topics (say, “Ferrari 458”, “Abu Dhabi”, “Sebastian Vettel” and “Tom Cruise” himself), as Cruise is speaking. Each topic becomes an in-app link to a corresponding piece of online content, on Wikipedia, IMDB, iTunes Store or whatever.
The method involved is Zeebox’s “secret sauce”, the subject of a pending patent application, but it’s called automated content recognition (ACR), a field with several vendors including Civolution."
Great to read it has this contextual power to enrich the TV content in a two-screen way besides the social context. In this article I wrote how contextually enriched video and WebTV create immersive experiences.
Both Rose and Schmitt dislike the gamified approach of Getglue and Foursquare, they automate it through audio fingerprinting to offer a full automatic experience.
Rose's ambitions: “There’s a shitload of technical work that needs to be done. Getting there is non-trivial. We want to go to the moon.”
Looking forward to see how this evolves towards consumers but also the market.