Apple iPad TV and Video News Round-Up
--Brightcove, CBS, Discovery, Disney, Howcast, Jackson Fish Market, MTV, NBA, NBC, Netflix, The Weather Channel, Ustream, Yahoo!, and More
Here is a round-up of recent announcements and news related to the Apple iPad which [itvt] readers might find of interest:
- Apple has published a list of Web sites that offer iPad-compatible video. The sites include CNN.com, Reuters.com, Vimeo.com, TED.com, MLB.com and NHL.com, among others.
- Spin Media has announced that it will use Brightcove's new Brightcove Experience for HTML5 solution to deliver video to the iPad, as well as to the Apple iPhone and iPod touch (note: the devices do not support Flash video). Spin is the third Brightcove customer--the others being Time and The New York Times--to announce that it will use the solution to make its Web site iPad-compatible. According to Brightcove, Brightcove Experience for HTML5 provides a new embed code that auto-detects the device used by the consumer to access a site; the platform then provides Flash-based video if the consumer is using a Flash-capable device, and, if the consumer is using an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, it provides HTML5 video.
- CBS has announced that it is ensuring that programming from a range of its properties is iPad-compatible, including clips of many of its most popular shows, full episodes of "Survivor" (note: the broadcaster says it will offer full episodes of other shows later), and technology-related video from CNET TV.
- Discovery Communications, which recently launched an iPhone/iPod touch app for its pop-science show, "MythBusters" (see the article published on itvt.com, March 29th), has launched a version of the app for the iPad. According to Discovery, the new app--which like the iPhone/iPod touch version was developed in partnership with Phunware and which is priced at $4.99 (i.e. a dollar more than the iPhone/iPod touch version)--"builds on the recently launched MythBusters App for iPhone and iPod touch, maximizing the user experience through the iPad's larger screen and innovative Multi-Touch user interface." Among other things, Discovery says, it offers "an interactive video experience with a robust collection of ad-free, short-form video content, including sneak peeks, outtakes and behind-the-scenes clips, which can be easily collapsed, expanded and moved around the screen."
- Disney has announced that it "will offer applications from all of its businesses" on the iPad. Those apps include, among others, 1) the ABC Player app, which is based on the ABC.com Full Episode Player and which will allow users to watch free, ad-supported episodes from around 20 ABC series through WiFi, and also purchase downloads of episodes from the iTunes store; 2) two "Toy Story" read-along apps from Disney Publishing Worldwide that offer a range of video and interactive features; 3) a custom iPad version of Disney.com which offers a range of long- and short-form video; and 4) ESPN ScoreCenter XL, a version of the ESPN ScoreCenter app for iPhone/iPod touch that has been optimized for the iPad's interface; according to Disney, its features include "live play-by-play, video highlights, game summaries and statistics, box scores and standings," as well as "personalized news and video on 'myTeams,' and the leading headlines and highlights of the day available through 'Top Events.'"
- Howcast has announced that it will shortly offer an app to make its instructional videos available on the iPad. "When Apple first announced the iPad, we brainstormed for the best way to present Howcast videos on the device," Howcast co-founder and chief product officer, Sanjay Raman, wrote on the company's blog. "While our popular iPhone app will run on the iPad, we didn't want to simply port over our existing app because we believe that the screen size and the new gestures available to iPad users will make the experience fundamentally different. We wanted to rethink the experience of interacting with instructional video and build something that could really take advantage of what the iPad offers for a multimedia content viewing experience. We're psyched to try out the beta build of our new Howcast for iPad app, which will feature Howcast videos encoded in a high-resolution H.264 format that can take advantage of the full screen."
- Jackson Fish Market has launched an iPad version of "A Story Before Bed," an interactive online video service that was showcased at the TV of Tomorrow Show last month. The service, which launched last November, allows grandparents (or other fond relatives) and absent parents (for example, military personnel serving overseas) to record videos of themselves reading picture books to a child, and then send the child a link to an interactive experience that includes both a digital version of the book and the video of themselves reading it.
- MTV Networks has announced the availability of four new iPad apps from MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1 Classic.
- The National Basketball Association (NBA) has launched an iPad app that basically functions as a two-screen interactive TV application, allowing users to access broadcast-synchronized statistics and other information during live game broadcasts. The app, which is being offered free of charge during the 2010 playoffs, but which is expected to become paid next season, provides users with a graphical representation of where players are on the court: when they touch a player's graphic, they can see where and when that player scored. The app also features Twitter integration and broadband video highlights. Broadcasting & Cable's Alex Weprin has more.
- Despite having recently shown the New York Times mock-ups of an iPad-optimized version of its mobile Web site and having stated that it would likely offer full episodes of certain of its shows on the iPad by the end of the month, NBC has now decided to block iPad viewing of full episodes, according to an NBC official who told the Times that he or she did not have permission to comment and was therefore speaking anonymously.
- Netflix has launched a free iPad app that allows Netflix members on subscription plans that start at $8.99 per month to instantly stream movies and TV episodes to the device. "The Netflix iPad App...will deliver a high-quality viewing experience, a broad array of movie and TV choices and a clean, intuitive interface," the company promises. "TV episodes and movies are conveniently organized into a variety of categories based on members' personal preferences, popular genres, new arrivals and members' individual instant queues. Members can choose a movie or TV episode from any of the lists and just tap the Multi-Touch screen to play instantly or save the title to their individual instant queue for viewing later. Additionally, users have the option of fast-forwarding and rewinding the video stream." In a posting on its corporate blog, Netflix has also confirmed that it plans to offer instant streaming on the Apple iPhone/iPod touch--though it did not provide any timeframe.
- Live Internet broadcasting platform provider, Ustream, is bringing its Ustream Viewer app to the iPad, according to an article in Mashable. The app will allow users to browse live video streams and will also provide them with a social TV experience through Ustream's chat and Social Stream features.
- The Weather Channel (TWC) has announced the availability of a free iPad app, sponsored by Toyota. According to the company, the new app, which features a "video center" and social media integration, "uses all the revolutionary functionality of iPad to combine the 'lean-forward' experience of mobile devices and the 'lean-back' experience of television viewing" and "marries the best of TWC on mobile with the best of TWC on television to give consumers customized weather information at the tap of a finger, including an extensive index of maps, an enhanced video center and severe weather coverage alerts."
- Yahoo! has launched a free iPad app called Yahoo! Entertainment, which is based on its Yahoo! Entertainment portal. According to the company--which bills the app as offering "one of the most interactive and personal experiences possible"--the app "takes advantage of iPad's geo-location functionality to pinpoint consumers' locations to deliver relevant, local television listings and content," and "through real-time content from local providers...surfaces and recommends TV shows, entertainment articles, and a wide variety of videos from across the Web."