San Francisco – Advances in interactive TV won't be constrained by the slow rollout of technology by pay TV providers, with programmers able to reach viewers through broadband connected TVs and second-screen devices such as Apple's iPad. That was a key theme here this week at itvt's "The TV of Tomorrow Show."
Just 12 weeks after IntoNow launched its social TV application, Yahoo! Inc. said it acquired the Silicon Valley-based startup.
The deal could help Yahoo expand into interactive TV programming, using IntoNow's automatic content recognition (ACR) technology. IntoNow's app for Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch lets users identify which TV programs they are watching, and share their viewing choices with friends.
-- BBC iPlayer Sets New Traffic Record
-- Huawei, Pace, Vestel to Build YouView Devices
-- Zeitera Helps Broadcasters Synchronize Video with Apps for Mobile Devices
-- Cablevision Launches Optimum Link PC-to-TV Media Relay Service
-- Accenture Shops "Over-the-Top TV" Solution
New Edition of StoryCentric Features Albert Cheng, EVP of Digital Media at Disney/ABC Television Group
[itvt] is pleased to present the LATEST EDITION of StoryCentric, our new video column from Brian Seth Hurst, CEO of The Opportunity Management Company and former second vice chair of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. StoryCentric focuses on the business, technology and art of interactive storytelling, and highlights new technologies and other industry developments that have the potential to fundamentally change the way we create and interact with stories and narratives--in television and beyond.
-- DirecTV Shoots 3D Series on Women Surfers
-- GetGlue Reaches 1 Million Users Milestone
-- Miso Upgrades Social TV App for iPhone
-- Hillcrest Raises $5.5M for Motion-Control Technology
-- Synacor Teams with Akamai on TV Everywhere Demo
- DirecTV is banking on 3D video of women surfers to help differentiate its programming lineup from pay TV rivals. The DBS provider signed Union Square Agency to produce a 3D TV series that will take viewers behind the scenes of the professional female surfing circuit. "Gone Until December" is scheduled to debut this summer on n3D, DirecTV's 24-hour 3D network. More
- After hitting the milestone of 1 million users, social-TV check-in service GetGlue is comparing itself to Web giants IMDB, Fandango, TV Guide and Amazon.com. The company boasts that it has also hit the milestone of generating 100 million data points, which represent "connections between people and the entertainment they've consumed, revealing insights about tastes and dynamics of entertainment consumption." GetGlue says it generates as many as 10 check-ins per second during primetime, and that it sees 500,000 new unique data points on an average day. More
- Miso, another social-TV check-in service, upgraded its iPhone app. Users can now use a five-star rating system for TV episodes and movies. It also added a push notification system that allows viewers to receive emails when their friends check in to a show, and it updated the navigation bar on the app. Miso recently struck a deal with Starz to help promote its "Camelot" series. Viewers that use Miso to check in to "Camelot" can earn badges based on the show.
- Motion-control technology firm Hillcrest Labs raised another $5.5 million, according to an Securities and Exchange Commission filing. While Hillcrest hasn't yet struck deals with pay TV providers to deploy its Loop remote, it has licensed its Freespace technology to LG Electronics, Universal Electronics, Logitech and other CE manufacturers for use in connected TVs and devices. Hillcrest, which in 2009 settled a patent infringement suit filed against Nintendo for allegedly using its technology in its Wii controllers, didn't name its new investors in the filing.
- Among the "TV Everywhere" technologies Akamai Technologies and Synacor touted at a joint demonstration at the NAB convention in Las Vegas this week is a "viewing continuity" feature – or allowing viewers watching video on a PC to pause a scene, and resume play on a tablet. But the companies don't yet have a joint multiplatform video product to pitch TV programmers and distributors, noting in an announcement that the new features "are not yet commercially available." Synacor operates a Web video portal for Charter Communications, and has been shopping a TV Everywhere authentication and authorization solution to other providers. More
SnappyTV is gaining some attention for its social TV viewing site, which allows users to share 20-second video clips from shows with friends on Facebook and Twitter. But since it only has rights to share clips from a handful of programs from Fox, Bravo, and other networks, it could be difficult for SnappyTV to attract a broad following.
Interactive TV News Round-Up (VII): Tunerfish, Ustream, Warner Bros., Facebook, Weather Channel, YouView
--Social-TV Service, Tunerfish, Launches "Fanning" and "Liking"
--Ustream Launches New Version of its iPhone App
--Warner Bros. to Offer Movies through Facebook
--Weather Channel Uses Nielsen's Media-Sync for New Broadcast-Synchronized iPad App
--YouView Names Alan Sugar Non-Executive Chairman, Replacing Kip Meek
Because the [itvt] editorial team has been busy this week working on the TV of Tomorrow Show 2011, we are covering recent news in round-up/summary form. Once again, we anticipate that it will take us a few days to catch up with all the news we plan to cover: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us.
AdaptiveBlue, the company behind the social-TV check-in service, GetGlue (note: the company recently announced that it had raised $6 million in a third round of funding that was led by Time Warner), recently teamed with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and with Mercedes Benz USA on a promotion for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.
Social-TV "check-in" company, Philo, and TV Guide Magazine have formed a promotional partnership that they say will result in Philo's check-in and community site providing a destination for TV Guide's 14 million readers to engage with one another around shows featured in the magazine, take part in regular contests and have the opportunity to win a range of real and virtual prizes.
BBC America is teaming with location-based social-media service, Foursquare, in an attempt to seed TV viewing parties in pubs and restaurants for its live coverage of the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship.
--Service Offers Free Live Streaming of Five Irish Channels, Twitter and Facebook Integration
Irish triple-play provider, Magnet Networks, has launched a free broadband video service, called Magnet WebTV, that offers live streaming of five Irish channels-- RTE1, Network 2, TV3, TG4 and 3e--and that features Twitter and Facebook integration to enable a social-TV experience.
IntoNow--a Silicon Valley-based social-TV/programming-discovery company that bills itself as having been founded by veterans of Google, Microsoft, IDEO, MTV Networks and Stanford University's artificial intelligence program--emerged from stealth mode, Monday, with two new products: SoundPrint, a patented technology platform that the company claims can automatically identify live TV content and any previously aired content from the past five years (as well as on-demand programming); and IntoNow, a free iOS (i.e. iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) companion application that it says leverages SoundPrint to help viewers connect and engage with their friends around TV shows.