Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): Samsung, Towercom, SeaChange, Zazum, OUTtv
--2011 Samsung Free the TV Challenge Will Focus on "Converged Apps"
--Towercom Taps SeaChange for Hybrid EPG Generation
--Zazum's tCommerce App to Make its Broadcast Debut October 1st
Due to the large volume of news generated by the IFA, IBC and CEDIA trade shows--and because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on TVOT NYC Intensive 2011--we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us several days to catch up with all the recent news: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us.
- Samsung Electronics America has announced the return of the "Free the TV Challenge," the connected-TV app-developer contest it launched last year (note: the company says that its Samsung Apps connected-TV platform now offers over 900 apps and has seen nearly 10 million downloads to date). "The new challenge is designed to celebrate the recent release of version 2.5 of Samsung's Software Development Kit (SDK 2.5), create excitement among developers and showcase Samsung's unique ecosystem, which allows developers to create an entirely new category of 'Converged Apps'--apps that work across multiple screens, running on both the TV and another device such as a phone, tablet or computer--to create new experiences for consumers," the company states in its press materials. "The winner of last year's Challenge--MOVL's WeDraw--represents a perfect example of Converged Apps. By simply installing the WeDraw app on both a Samsung TV and any iOS or Android phone or tablet, users can use the handheld device to draw pictures that appear in real time on the TV. Other players then race to guess the word by typing their guesses into their phones...There are three categories of Converged Apps that Samsung is encouraging developers to explore: 1) Controller Apps--These apps enable a second device to control an app on the TV, thus providing touch or mouse input and interactivity that a standard remote control cannot. 2) Companion Apps--These apps use a second device to provide additional information (including via Web sites and social media sites) that is synchronized to, and supplements, what is shown on the TV itself. 3) Interactive Apps--These apps allow the user to use a second device as a secondary display. For example, a user can pause a video on the TV and resume it on the other device. To participate, developers can simply visit www.FreeTheTVChallenge.com to enter the competition and find information about downloading SDK 2.5. SDK is available free of charge at the Samsung D Forum site, www.samsungdforum.com, where interested developers can also find guides, tutorials, a Q&A section, and an emulator. The Samsung D Forum site also provides a community for developers to ask questions, discuss ideas and concepts, and otherwise interact. MOVL, LLC, the developer of WeDraw, is also making its MOVL Connect Platform available to developers free of charge during the contest entry period. This service provides both tools and cloud-based infrastructure to developers, freeing them from concerns about bandwidth and servers when creating applications bridging multiple devices." The winners of the contest will be announced at CES in January. The first prize winner will receive $100,000, a high-end Samsung TV and a Galaxy tablet. More detail on the contest's prizes and judging panel is available here.
- SeaChange International has announced that Slovakian broadcaster, Towercom, is deploying its eventIS linear broadcast platform for EPG creation and management to enhance its hybrid satellite (DVB-S) and digital terrestrial (DVB-T) services. "Towercom's primary operations center in Bratislava will host the SeaChange solution, while a backup deployment in Prague will support the operator's operations redundancy strategy," SeaChange states in its press materials. "Overall, Towercom services deliver over 50 channels to more than 1.5 million households across Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Consisting of the STAGIS, CASIS and SPECTRIS products, SeaChange's eventIS linear broadcast platform helps operators manage, monitor and automate the complex metadata, EPG, table generation and scheduling functions required to meet and support open DVB standards. The STAGIS schedule management system collects EPG data, parses files, checks consistency and converts them into a standard format. CASIS provides MPEG/DVB-compliant table, access criteria generation and MUX profile scheduling. SPECTRIS supports both system and metadata monitoring and verification."
- Zazum, a New York-based company that is attempting to bring together automatic content recognition (ACR) and tcommerce (note: for more on the company, see the articles published on itvt.com, July 12th), contacted [itvt] last week to let us know that its flagship SeeLoveBuy iPhone app will make its broadcast-TV debut next month, during the October 1st episode of Canadian LGBT channel OUTtv's show, "Men's Fashion Insider" (airs 8:30PM ET/PT). "Viewers who use SeeLoveBuy during a special 10-minute segment on 'Men's Fashion Insider,' featuring a new line of men's bags, called NB Man by Nella Bella, will be able to buy the bags as they appear on their TV screens," Zazum explains in its press materials. "To use SeeLoveBuy, viewers simply turn on the app when they see Zazum's blue heart in the corner of their screen. The app then identifies advertisers' products in the broadcast, allowing the viewer to explore product images, read descriptions and buy the things they want, right on their iPhones." Said OUTtv president, Brad Danks: "We are absolutely thrilled to be the first broadcaster working with Zazum. We were looking for a new way to integrate our advertising partners into our 'Men's Fashion' show. Zazum's application is perfect because it is so seamless and easy to use. We love it because it allows our viewers to take immediate action on a product while not disrupting the flow of the programming for the rest of the audience. Our sponsors love it because they can get an immediate response to their ecommerce platform."