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

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

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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Opera TV Store integrated into MediaTek's series of Smart TV solutions, 140 Plus HTML5 TV Apps available

Opera-and-MediaTek-smart-TV-app-storeOpera today announces that MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, has integrated the Opera TV Store into its Smart TV solution. Manufacturers that implement MediaTek chipsets can now provide web functionality and application environments for their TVs, set-top boxes and media players.

Smart TVs are rapidly gaining share worldwide. NPD DisplaySearch forecasts that shipment of Smart TVs with open internet access will grow to 95 million in 2016. The connected TV industry is embracing open standards, such as HbbTV and HTML5.

The Opera TV Store, an HTML5-based app store for connected TVs, set-top boxes and media players, offers a selection of high-quality, easily navigated web apps. Side-by-side applications allow viewers to use TV apps without losing focus on the program they are watching. The Opera TV Store has also been enhanced with the ability to display ads, thereby enabling publishers and content providers to inject pre-roll ads and to monetize their applications. The store is now available on Sony Bravia TVs and Blu-ray DVD players. It will be soon shipped by other leading TV and set-top-box manufacturers, such as TCL and Humax.

“MediaTek is an important partner for us. Our two companies share the vision of bringing more web to more people,” says Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “Implementing the Opera TV Store in MediaTek’s Smart TV solution will help to move Smart TVs from being a novelty to the mainstream. Millions of app-hungry users will be able to enjoy a comfortable, ‘leanback’ experience on their TVs.”

The Opera TV Store is now integrated in MediaTek’s chipsets. TV and media player manufacturers that want to provide the complete Smart TV solution to their end users can now reduce the time to market significantly. Currently, in the Opera TV Store, there are more than 100 high-quality, HTML5-powered TV apps available, such as Associate Press News, Facebook, AUPEO!, Tunein Radio, Redux TV, Twitter, Viewster, Vimeo and more. The number of the apps in the store is constantly growing, since developers can easily repurpose existing HTML5 applications running on computers and phones to work on TVs, creating cross-platform applications that work on any device running the Opera TV Store.

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Samsung's 2013 Smart TV's To Have Promising Features, TV App Developers will Benefit

Samsung Smart Hub
Samsung has recently released the much awaited SDK 4.0 for the 2013 series of Smart TV Platforms. This means a whole lot of new features and functionalities have been added and the TV app developer community can build TV apps with these new features and functionalities for an amazing user experience. To experience some of the Smart TV Apps on the Samsung TV’s visit the Samsung Smart Hub (Smart TV App store ) US Store , India Store

Lets look at what the SDK 4.0 has to offer. The toolset includes an Eclipse-based application editor, Visual Editor, debugger, and Smart TV Emulators for current and past TV platforms.

The Mac OS X and Linux platforms are now supported by the Samsung Smart TV SDK. In addition to the Eclipse-based App Editor, a new Linux-based Emulator has been released. This Emulator executes in an Ubuntu virtual machine that is run in the Virtual Box virtualization tool.

This release also marks the introduction of the Cloud Emulator. The Emulator is hosted on a remote server that developers can connect to using a “thin client” Emulator on their development machine. Currently, this feature is supported only on the Mac OS X platform.

■ [Editor]

– Open Samsung Smart TV Semantic Service
– Support for Mac OS X and Linux platforms
– Full WYSIWYG code editing (visual editor and code editor are synced)
– 6 new Visual Editor components (arrowbutton, hscrollbar, pageindicator, slidern, togglebutton, tooltip)
– Smooth re-sizing of components
– Web Inspector (debugger) support

■ Features for 2013 Platform on Windows

– Smart Interaction: Gesture events have been added (New HI (including Gesture) Simulator).
– Apps Framework
– 2013 App Engine (HTML5 Video/Audio, WebSocket, WebGL)
– UniPlayer
– SEF (Service Extension Framework)
– Convergence Framework
– OCI (Open Convergence Interface) : MIDI support
– MPEG Dash
– AllShare
– In-App Ads
– Flash 11.1
– Smooth Streaming
– Web Inspector support
– ATT (Automatic Test Tool) : User can record and playback input events for testing.

■ Features for 2013 Platform on Linux (First Release)

– Apps Framework
– App Engine / WebKit
– UniPlayer
– SEF (Service Extension Framework)

■ Features for 2013 Platform on Mac (First Release)

– Apps Framework
– App Engine / WebKit
– UniPlayer
– SEF (Service Extension Framework)
– Cloud Emulator client for Mac OS X

With this release I see a great potential in Video streaming apps for entertainment companies. TV channels / Video on Demand categories can best utilize these features. With motion sensors, the Minority Report style of  experience is very much possible in the apps. Gaming experience will be amazing. Social interactivity will increase. Education is another space which can better utilize this platform. A whole new world of opportunities awaits . I am sure with Samsung and other OEM’s focusing a lot on R & D , we can expect this space to evolve.

The TV Apps space will do well in  countries where broadband speeds are good. To experience the streaming content on the smart Tv’s a high speed internet is required. India is yet to catch up, once 4G/wimax is launched, this space will see some growth. But in countries like US where Technology adoption is faster and better, will see tremendous growth with Europe and Australia markets picking up well.

If you are interested in keeping  track of this space you can follow the following Networking/Professional/Developer Groups @ Linkedin

Smart TV/Connected TV/Social TV App Developers  (700+ Members)

Samsung Smart TV Apps ( 170+ Members)

 

 

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