The Cable TV App Bandwagon-Whos on it

Cable TV

We’ve all heard the phrase “there’s an app for that” and when it comes to cable TV streaming to your phone or tablet, that’s the absolute truth.

If you subscribe to cable or even satellite TV in the US, odds are you can download a free app that’ll let you watch TV on your smartphone or tablet. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or an Android device. All the big cable companies, and many channels have free apps you can download so you can have your TV anywhere you are.

Here’s a quick list of channels and companies that have free apps available for streaming TV:

– ABC, CBS, CW, FOX and NBC. All the major networks have one. These can provide access to currently running shows, news, some live events and may even allow you to play shows from earlier in the season to catch up.

– AT&T U-verse – For those who subscribe to AT&T U-verse, apps are available for download to allow access to your TV subscription.

– Charter – Charter provides subscribers with streaming access to their packages via the free Charter app.

– Comcast – With Comcast’s Xfinity app, you can access live TV wherever you are.

– COX Communications – COX also provides their subscribers with a free streaming app.

– DirecTV – As with cable companies, satellite TV providers are also allowing subscribers to download free streaming apps. DirecTV also provides expanded football coverage with their apps as well.

– DISH Network – In conjunction with their Hopper, DISH subscribers can access their subscription as well as shows stored on their DVRs.

– ESPN – With their WatchESPN app, you can have access to ESPN coverage regardless of where you are, any time.

– HBO Go/ MAX Go – These apps, much like the ESPN app above gives subscribers of HBO and CineMAX access to shows and movies while you’re on the go.

For companies that require subscriptions such as your local cable TV provider, your app usually gives you access to your online billing account as well. For those who also subscribe to internet services via a cable TV provider, you may also have access to your e-mail accounts, too.

These apps are available online from several sources including Apple iTunes and Google Play. Most of these apps are designed for current versions of iPhone software as well as the latest versions of Android from Honeycomb (3.0) and later. When you log into Google Play or iTunes your device compatibility will be verified before the app is downloaded.

Do keep in mind that, especially in the case of your smartphone, data rates may apply. If you don’t have access to a Wi-Fi network, your phone will try to use your 3G/ 4G connectivity to stream your content. For constant users, this can easily surpass your data limits which could cause your cell phone bill to be extremely high, unless you have an unlimited data plan. Also keep in mind that, even with an unlimited data plan, your cell phone provider may impose data rate limits.

In today’s hectic world, it can be a real challenge to find the time to sit on the couch and watch TV. Between work, family activities and other responsibilities, taking the time to watch your favorite show or even a favored sporting event may simply not be possible. However, with free streaming apps available from your TV provider, you can watch shows when you want, where you want. Don’t do without TV when you don’t have to. Download an app today and enjoy!

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Sony's 4K video store launches with over 70 movies and TV shows in US

sony4k

Sony’s 4K video store has officially gone live today, offering owners of the company’s $699 4K media player over 70 movies and TV shows in native Ultra HD resolution. Sony expects its 4K video library will grow to over 100 titles by the end of the year.

TV episodes run $3.99, with film rentals priced at $7.99 for a 24-hour viewing window. Buying movies is a bit more costly at $29.99, but Sony says “select” content will include UltraViolet digital copies — a nice perk for early adopters.

Sony’s 4K player can store up to 50 feature-length films on its 2TB hard drive, so thankfully it seems you won’t need to erase or re-download the huge movie files often. Unfortunately the entire setup is only compatible with Sony-branded 4K TVs. That’s not altogether surprising, but if you’ve already invested in another brand, it seems you’re out of luck.

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4K video on connected TVs to get a boost with the new HDMI Specs

4K Videos

4K VideosBoth cable operators and over-the-top video rivals may be able to deliver 4K, or Ultra HD programming, to TVs following the release of a new version of the HDMI specification on Wednesday.

The HDMI 2.0 spec can handle delivery of video at 18 Gbps, the HDMI Forum announced at the IFA convention in Berlin. It can also support 32 audio channels.

In June, Comcastran a demonstration at The Cable Show that showed how it could deliver 4K programming from PCs at cable headend facilities by using Arris  cable modems and a High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) solution from Elemental Technologies.

The HDMI Forum said it signed HDMI Licensing, LLC as the agent to license the new spec.

“The introduction of the HDMI 2.0 Specification represents a major milestone for the HDMI Forum,” Sony Corp. executive and HDMI Forum President Robert Blanchard said in a prepared statement. “Our members collaborated closely to take the highly successful HDMI Specification to the next level by expanding audio and video features for consumer electronics applications,” he added.

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Is Apple planning to launch a new Apple TV version on September 10th Launch ?

appletv

appletvThe release of the newest iPhone may not be the only announcement on the roster for Apple’s next major event on Sept. 10. GigaOM reports that Panjiva, a global trade intelligence platform, predicts Apple will also be unveiling the newest version of its Apple TV.

A Panjiva blog post referenced shipments to Apple from Chinese equipment supplier BYD Precision Manufacture in August described as “Set Top Boxes” and “Set Top Box with Communication Function.” The post speculated that the set-top boxes were one of three things: Apple’s TV-focused product, a retooled version of its current Apple TV or “something that’s not particularly interesting, but that has an interesting description to throw us all off.”

GigaOM’s Om Malik suggests the upcoming iOS 7 might be the driving force behind a new Apple TV.

“With a new iOS 7 on the way, it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect a newer model of Apple TV that accommodates the increasing number of channel options and brings some of the features of the iOS to the big screen,” Malik says.

According to MacRumors, Apple TV hasn’t been updated for 546 days, though the average time between updates is only 377 days. By that timeline, it would make sense for a newer version of the product to be released at the Sept. 10 event.

Releasing a new Apple TV could help Apple compete with over-the-top video device manufacturers ranging from Google  to Samsung and Microsoft.

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Google Drives the Future of HTML5 and User Interfaces at OTTtv World Summit

HTML5

The OTT video market is expected to swell to US$29 billion in 2017 through a combination of key revenue streams such as advertising, subscriptions and transactions[1]. As subscriber behaviour and expectations evolve and the proliferation of connected smart devices continues, content providers are looking to take advantage of the growth opportunity. Google’s Head of Strategy and Media, Matt Frost, will explore this topic as he hosts and chairs a workshop on The Future of HTML5 and User Interfaces at this year’s OTTtv World Summit.

Following its successful feature in the agenda in 2012, the exclusive workshop will provide insight on Google’s future plans for online video, assess the challenges of online content distributors and explore how HTML5 will create a fundamental shift in the market. Mr Frost will examine how Google’s approach to HTML5 will solve many of the problems content owners currently face, with its evolution on the Chrome platform creating a major opportunity for broadcasters and OTT players. The role of adaptive streaming, the challenges of content protection and the future of MPEG DASH will also be explored.

Mr Frost is Head of Strategy and Media of Google’s Chrome team, focusing on video strategy for the web platform. Prior to joining Google, Mr Frost was CEO at On2 Technologies, a developer of video compression technology and hardware video processor designs, before On2 was acquired by Google in 2010.

“Ever-faster broadband networks and new TV devices are driving competition and innovation in the once staid TV market,” says Rob Gallagher, Head of Broadband & TV Research at Informa Telecoms & Media. “But this new openness has created fragmentation. HTML5 promises to play a key role in cloud-TV strategies, aimed at reducing the complexity of delivering better TV and video services to a growing array of screens.”

The HTML5 and User Interfaces workshop will take place on Tuesday 19 November, 4:30pm – 6:00pm.

The 2013 conference and exhibition will take place at Millennium Gloucester Hotel Conference Centre, London, on 19-22 November. To view the full event programme and register for OTTtv World Summit, please visit http://ottworldsummit.com or call +44 (0) 20 7017 5506. Alternatively, keep up to date with event news on Twitter @OTTtv or using #OTTtv.

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Emerging markets adopting Smart TV's faster, leads in comparison to mature markets

Smart TV

Smart TVConsumers in emerging markets are twice as likely as those in mature markets to purchase an Internet-enabled smart TV over the coming year, according to a new report by NPD DisplaySearch.

The analyst’s DisplaySearch Quarterly Smart TV Usage Study found that nearly three-quarters (71%) of flat-panel connected TV owners in such markets report they are likely to purchase a smart TV in the next 12 months, compared with 37% in mature markets. In all markets this amounted to just fewer than 60% of people saying that they were likely to purchase a smart TV in the next 12 months.

The survey also found that of the connected TV owners in emerging markets who are not likely to purchase a smart TV in the next 12 months, a quarter mentioned that they owned other smart devices that could access the content they wanted. Consumers also cited the high cost as one of the reasons for not planning to purchase a smart TV in the next 12 months. Reasons also varied by country: Russians’ most cited reason (35%) was the existing ownership of other smart devices; in Indonesia, smart TV pricing was the major purchasing hurdle; in both Turkey and Mexico, consumers did not see the need for a smart TV in connected flat-panel TV households, since many of the households already owned one.

Consumers in emerging markets did not consider either expanded application stores or video conferencing capabilities as important for their future smart TV purchases.

“Features that are key to future smart TV purchases include being able to search for online content, Web browsing, and video-on-demand (VOD) services, as they allow consumers to access entertainment, news, and other online content such as shopping,” said Riddhi Patel, research director at NPD DisplaySearch.

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Times Internet's BoxTV Partners With Amkette to Make True OTT a Reality in India

box-tvTimes Internet’s online video-on-demand service  has partnered with Amkette to make a wide variety of content on BoxTV.com available on Amkette’s flagship product – EvoTV.  EvoTV is the first-of-its-kind television-connected device that changes the way of how consumers interact with their television screens. BoxTV has partnered with EvoTV to provide its users with unlimited selection of full length movies and television content through its app on the platform. Consumers can browse and watch over 10,000 hours of free content across various languages and genres with one click on the big screen.

The BoxTV app on EvoTV platform provides several special features which allow users a quick access to movies recommended by BoxTV editorial team on the home-screen, one click access to a large content library with popular movies and TV shows and several multimedia features like play, pause etc though a remote control integration. BoxTV offers a large bouquet of entertainment including blockbuster movies, TV shows, short films and documentaries having unique features such as bandwidth meters, dynamic streaming and video chapters along with an unparalleled metadata and search.

EvoTV is one of the first few products, globally, to integrate XBMC, an open source software media player and entertainment hub for digital media, enabling direct playback from Android and iOS devices for EvoTV users. Some of the innovations on the original Evo TV include: endless number of customizable views with a single click; a remote housing a microphone so that all conversations on VoIP are free of ambient noise; dynamic content discovery; move content across devices; access social platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. with one click access.

Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Pandurang Nayak, Business Head, BoxTV said,”One of the key objectives for the BoxTV service is to be available across all different platforms, so users can view the content of their choice anywhere and anytime. EvoTV is an exciting product, bringing together a host of features that one would only find in very premium range of devices under one simple user-friendly device. We are glad to have BoxTV as one of the earliest apps of this ground-breaking platform.”

Users can access the entire BoxTV content catalogue and stream it with ease on the TV via EvoTV. As a special ‘limited time’ offer, BoxTV and Amkette are providing one month free subscription of BoxTV services to anyone buying EvoTV before July 15th, 2013. This application is available on ‘EvoStore’ accesible via EvoTV and the user also has an option to download it from the Google Play Store.

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Opera Mediaworks Launches Next Gen ad platform AdMarvel For Connected TVs

opera-mediaworksOpera Mediaworks has announced the launch of AdMarvel, its next-generation ad platform for connected TVs. AdMarvel for Connected TVs will provide publishers and advertisers a dynamic, rich ad-serving platform combined with sophisticated ad exchange, ad serving and ad management functionality on connected TVs.

The AdMarvel platform aims to help publishers and developers find the right buyers at the right price for their inventory, as well as enabling agencies and brands to connect with their audiences on the yet-unexplored, but fast-growing, TV platform. For the consumer, this means seeing more relevant advertising in the form of pre-roll ads and other formats, while viewing content and using applications running on different connected TV platforms.

AdMarvel, Opera Mediaworks’ ad-serving and mediation platform, has already built an impressive list of technology and demand partners through its certification program for mobile and tablet platforms. With this announcement, AdMarvel is beginning to extend this certification into connected TVs.

Early partners who are working with the AdMarvel for Connected TV platform are video ad networks such as Brightroll, TubeMogul, Videology, iVdopia, SpotXchange, as well as Opera Mediaworks’ Mobile Theory premium ad network, to extend video advertising across the AdMarvel publisher base into connected TVs.

Opera Software already has a track record in the connected TV business worldwide. The Opera Devices SDK, a framework for OEMs to develop or deploy user interfaces, applications or browsers, is used by some of the top device makers worldwide, including Sony, Toshiba, Sharp, Phillips, Boxee and MediaTek.

The Opera TV Store is an HTML-5 based app store for TVs and ships on Sony Bravia TVs, Blu-ray disc players and devices such as TCL, Humax and MediaTek. AdMarvel for Connected TVs will power all platforms, including, but not limited to, the Opera Devices SDK and the Opera TV Store, as well as different ad formats that run on connected TV platforms.

Speaking on this, Mahi de Silva, CEO, Opera Mediaworks said,”As connected TV households worldwide reach critical mass in the coming couple of years, the TV screen will become the next frontier in delivering relevant advertising to consumers. Opera Mediaworks provides the necessary technology and expertise to publishers and advertisers in meeting their goals on mobile, tablet and, now, connected TV.”

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BBC Launches The Application Layer (TAL) for Smart TV App Developers

tal-appThis is an interesting development. BBC has launched an unusual new venture that will give app developers a chance to develop products for smart TV/Connected TV sets, basing their new releases around the official BBC ‘TV Application Layer’.

The new service is designed to offer external developers to create new applications that are ‘universally compatible’ across all TV-based devices (including set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, and games consoles along with the obvious means of smart TV).

To achieve this, the broadcasting giants are making it easier for such systems to be developed, with their new ’open-source software’ carrying the HTML-based code and documentation required for the foundation of such a platform, and available for download from the ‘open-source repository’ GitHub.

BBC ‘future media TV & mobile platforms’ executive Peter Lasko announced the release in a blog post, writing: “The TV Application Layer originated from our ambition to run BBC iPlayer, News and Sport applications for Connected TVs on as many different devices as possible. There are hundreds of different devices in the marketplace and they all use slightly different technology to achieve the same result.

“Having figured out how to build an application on a specific device we want to use this knowledge to build additional applications for that device. Our answer to this challenge is the TV Application Layer (TAL). By abstracting the differences between devices and creating a number of TV-specific graphical building blocks (like carousels, data grids and lists), we provide a platform upon which we can build our applications.”

About the TV Application Layer

The purpose of the TV Application Layer is to allow developers to write an application once and for this to then work on all HTML based Connected TV Devices.

Comprising of a number of JavaScript libraries, The TV Application Layer operates across a wide range of different Connected TVs, IPTVs, games consoles, set top boxes and Blu-ray devices in the market.

The common feature of these devices is that they all get used via your TV, still the best place for consuming video content.

As each new application faced a similar set of device specific challenges, such as media playback, animation or networking, we set about making the TV Application Layer a standalone product that could support our entire Connected TV product needs both now and in the future.

tvapplayer-bbc

Because the abstraction code is modularised into the specific areas that vary between devices, we effectively have a selection of options that we can configure for each device.

This allows us to add new devices to our applications simply by recognising the device’s browser and applying a specific configuration appropriate to that device, without modifying the application’s code.

Therefore we can deploy our applications on devices that might have different key features such as video playback, animation, persistent storage and remote control key codes, by creating a new configuration file.

The TV Application Layer also provides some TV-specific graphical widgets for use in new application development. For example: the menu carousel used in iPlayer.

We find that the TV Application Layer allows us to concentrate on building the features our audience want rather than addressing device specific differences that we have already solved before

While it remains to be seen how much the platform will be used outside the BBC’s confines despite its open-source stature, will the BBC’s ‘TAL’ prove to be a positive way for would-be smart TV app developers to get started in the industry?

To know

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Apple TV Launched In India @ Rs 7990

appletvFollowing the launch of itTunes India store, Apple has launched Apple TV in India. It is a media streamer that lets you stream and share multimedia content or content stored on iCloud. Neither does it require content storage, nor any syncing with the iTunes library. HD films from iTunes play over the Internet on your HDTV, and music and photos stream from your computer. You can play content from popular services like YouTube, Netflix and Hulu Plus, as well as some other services like Vimeo.

The iCloud and Photo Stream features automatically update your photos.The Airplay feature enables you to wirelessly stream content from your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch to your widescreen TV via Apple TV. You can easily watch a movie stored on one of your devices, stream home movies, photos, or videos from websites and AirPlay-enabled apps.with AirPlay Mirroring, you can also display the screen of your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch on your HDTV.So when you tap, swipe, pinch or play something, it shows up on the big screen. AirPlay is available on all devices running iOS 4.3 or later. Some features require the latest software. AirPlay Mirroring is available with iPad 2 or later, and iPhone 4S.
apple tvApple TV is powered by a single core Apple A5 processor and supports upto 1080 pixel resolution. It is very small and weighs only 0.27 kg. It comes with an Apple remote for control and navigation. It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless connectivity. The device features an HDMI port, a micro-USB port, Ethernet port, a built-in IR receiver (for the remote). It also comes with 512MB RAM and 8GB NAND Flash memory for caching content.

The Apple TV device is compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI and capable of 1080p or 720p at 60/50Hz, including popular models from these manufacturers: Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio and Westinghouse.

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