Ericsson To Acquire Microsoft Mediaroom

ericssonEricsson has reached an agreement with Microsoft to acquire its TV solution Mediaroom business. The deal is expected to close during the second half of 2013.  The agreement is subject to customary regulatory approvals and other conditions. Mediaroom will be incorporated into Business Unit Support Solutions. Mediaroom is situated in Mountain View, California and employs more than 400 people worldwide.

Commenting on this, Per Borgklint, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Support Solutions at Ericsson said: “Ericsson’s vision of the Networked Society foresees 50 billion devices to be connected via broadband, mobility and cloud. Future video distribution will have a similar impact on consumer behavior and consumption as mobile voice has had. This acquisition contributes to a leading position for Ericsson with more than 40 customers, serving over 11 million subscriber households. In addition, Ericsson will be powered with senior competence and some of the most talented people within the field of IPTV distribution.”

The global IPTV market is estimated to reach 76 million subscribers in 2013 with revenues of 32 BUSD, growing to 105 million subscribers and 45 BUSD in 2015.

The total media solution portfolio of Ericsson in the TV and video space combined with a further increased focus on consumer needs will be the foundation for providing services to end users. The importance of video distribution capabilities for the customers and their consumers will be increasing as more and more LTE networks are deployed and filled with smartphone users.

Microsoft Mediaroom is the TV technology behind many of the world’s leading television service providers like AT&T U-verse®, Entertain of Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, TELUS Optik TV(TM) and Swisscom. Mediaroom-powered TV services are offered on more than 22 million set top boxes deployed throughout the Americas, EMEA and APAC.

Ericsson already sees that the ever-changing behaviors of TV consumers are evolving faster than ever. Speed of innovation and intelligent solutions drive consumer propositions in TV anywhere. This development will continue to fuel the industry as convergence becomes reality. The development requires content owners, broadcasters, TV service providers and operators to re-think their propositions.

This move builds on Ericsson’s triple Emmy award-winning leadership in the media industry, providing its customers with a truly unique experience in TV anywhere spanning the entire media value chain from camera to consumer.

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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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Yamgo TV Launches Social TV Facebook App

yamgoMobile TV network Yamgo has expanded its television service to Facebook, bringing over 100 fully licensed live and linear TV channels to the world’s biggest social network. The recently launched Facebook app aims to enable users to watch TV without ever leaving Facebook, meaning viewers can chat with their friends and check their notifications whilst enjoying a wide range of TV channels. Consumers can access the Yamgo app from the Facebook App Centre or by visiting the Yamgo website and opting to log-in with Facebook.

The Facebook app is the latest update to the Yamgo service which claims to have built a user-base of over 35 million views per month through a bouquet of smartphone apps and desktop and mobile websites. Using the Facebook app, Yamgo intends to make television more social by allowing users to share their viewing activity with their friends via Facebook’s Open Graph. Initial numbers for the application are positive with the lure of live TV from content providers such as Sony SAB, France 24 and Zee TV leading to over 9000 users within days of the launch.

Commenting on the launch, Ian Mullins, Founder and CEO of Yamgo said, “Watching TV has become a huge social experience, we’re not just watching along with the people in our living rooms anymore, we’re watching with the whole world. In terms of social TV, Twitter has received a lot of attention regarding television lately for their research with Nielsen and their purchase of Bluefin Labs but Facebook also has a lot to offer as an entertainment platform – the success of current games and applications on the platform are a great example of the potential growth possibilities that the social network offers.”

With the increase in the internet user base, online TV is growing consistently as viewing habits have changed toward instant gratification and on-demand consumption of media. Concurrent to this growth the rise of social media means that audiences can express their views on content in real time via social networks like Facebook, Twitter and GetGlue. An article published by eMarketer noted research by Nielsen for the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) which found that Facebook is the dominating social network for people to share what they’re watching. Up to 40% of viewers used Facebook to discuss what they’re watching compared to just 21% who used Twitter.

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Times Internets BoxTV Now Available To All Viewers

times-internetFrom 21st February, 2013, Times Internet Ltd’s BoxTV moved from its beta phase to its public phase.  BoxTV was launched on 25th August 2011 in an invite-only phase. In the first month of its beta stage, BoxTV had received 50,000 requests for joining.

BoxTV is a provider of premium video service that offers a large bouquet of entertainment, including blockbuster movies, TV shows, short films, documentaries and more, which users can watch on a regular web browser or through the device of their choice. The content library comprises content from Hollywood, Bollywood, Regional Movies, Documentaries & TV Series.

In order to provide viewers with premium titles, Times Internet Ltd’s BoxTV has entered into content agreement deals with Sony Pictures Television and Disney UTV.  Other content providers include UTV Motion Pictures, Shemaroo Entertainment, Rajshri Entertainment and Everymedia Technologies for Bollywood and regional content in addition to international studios like Celestial Entertainment – for Hollywood content.A portion of these premium titles will be available for unlimited streaming for a monthly subscription of Rs 199 (introductory price).

boxtv
BoxTV has developed an India-centric media experience, which includes bandwidth meters, dynamic streaming and video chapters, along with metadata and search.  The portal allows users to access BoxTV via a wide range of apps on the platform of their choice. It will be available across iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets; Kindle Fire, EvoTV, Woxi Pod and Roku. Apps for Windows 8, J2ME and Blackberry platforms are currently in the pipeline.

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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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Intel is getting into the set-top box business,will reshape the online video delivery business

IntelAccording to FierceOnlineVideo, Intel is ready to launch a new consumer electronics product and an Internet TV offering it hopes will reshape the online video delivery business.

The product is expected to use an over-the-top model but compete with incumbent pay TV service providers.

Intel is joining a crowded field that already includes boxes from Apple TV and Roku as well as streaming online content delivery from Netflix, Hulu and a bevy of others offering varying levels of over-the-top online video Internet content. It’s also entering a field long dominated by cable, telco and satellite providers with deep pockets and even deeper connections with content owners.

It all depends, of course, on Intel’s ability to get the right content at the right price for packages that will entice consumers away from what’s already there. There’s also the question of Intel’s hardware prowess when it comes to developing consumer electronics, but that’s another matter as the chipmaker moves into the content delivery business with packages, rather than standalone content options.

Eventually it is going to be a content play business, if Intel is able to provide high quality content with the boxes and a better subscription package, they will have a good chance.

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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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Comigo Offers WatchApps – A New Type of Contextual TV Interactive Applications

comigoComigo, an Israel-based company has announced that it will use its presence at CES 2013 to demonstrate its unique social and interactive applications (WatchApps) which allow viewers to engage with the content they watch and interact with their friends.

The WatchApps are offered as part of Comigo’s multi-screen Smart TV platform. The viewers can participate in polls, betting or trivia questions, get extended internet-based information related to the content they watch, buy merchandize or other items – all while watching the show with no need to surf the web or search in the application store.

For example, while watching a Sports match, the viewer can enter the Facebook page of the league, get the history of the players, receive real-time results of other games being played at the same time, re-play interesting events that took place during the game, minute-by-minute, make a bet, purchase tickets for the next game and more.

Viewers can purchase specific products related to the viewed content and invite their friends to join this purchase – in return they can get a discount.

Viewers can also use the WatchApps to send virtual multimedia messages to friends while watching a show, such as Birthday Cakes and wishes and throwing a tomato when their friend’s team scores.

Comigo offers SDK, enabling developers to build such interactive-applications and back-end tools for the TV Service Providers to manage and correlate the interactive-applications with their EPG.

About Comigo

Comigo is the creator of a feature-rich smart TV platform which combines the TV/Video/Broadcast viewing with the Internet capabilities. Comigo developed an advance Smart TV platform, including middleware for Android based STB, Applications for iOS/Android Smartphones and Tablets, as well as a strong Server side that manages and enhances the solution.

 

 

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Video: Samsung's New Launches at CES US, Check out the Cool Gadgets Samsung is Launching

Samsung CES 2013 Press Conference was held on January 7(PST) in Las Vagas with the theme of ‘Discover the world of possibilities’. At the conference, Samsung introduced full of innovative products including Smart TV F8000, 85′ UHD TV, Series 7 Chronos, NX 300.. Check out the Samsung’s Full Press  Video Conference at CES 2013

See the Press Conference (49 mints) Video (Full version) 

Let us know what do you think.

 

 

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