Interactive TV News Round-Up (III): Concurrent, Disney/ABC, Academy, Imagine Communications

--Concurrent to Showcase TellyTopia i2TV Technology at CableLabs Winter Conference
--Disney/ABC and the Academy Launch Two-Screen Interactive TV Oscars App for iPad, iPhone, iPod
--Imagine Communications to Showcase Multiscreen Video Technologies at CableLabs Winter Conference

Due to the large volume of news generated over the past few days, we are covering stories in this issue in summary/round-up format.

  • Concurrent has announced that it will be demo'ing "an innovative commercial video application for exchanging personal video content" at the upcoming CableLabs Winter Conference (February 27th-March 2nd in Atlanta). The application is based on the "i2TV" technology platform that the company acquired through its purchase of TellyTopia last fall (see the article published on itvt.com, October 18th). "During the conference...Concurrent will enable users to record and upload personal video content from a mobile phone to Concurrent's cloud-hosted i2TV platform," the company states in its press materials. "Using the i2TV solution, users can define video sharing profiles and make content available to friends and family for on-demand playback on a variety of consumer devices, including traditional set-top boxes, personal computers, and mobile phones. As a cloud-hosted service and an open system, Concurrent's i2TV solution allows video content to be shared across service providers, enabling subscribers to connect with other i2TV users around the globe...Concurrent's i2TV system is a cloud-based, online video platform that enables premium content, user-generated content (UGC),and 'Best of the Web' content, as well as hyper-local and national advertising content, to be ingested and delivered to any device as linear broadcast or VOD programming. i2TV serves as a foundation for next-generation video applications targeted at service provider and content provider markets."
  • The Disney/ABC TV Group's Digital Media team has partnered with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to launch an "Oscar Backstage Pass App" for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. According to Disney and the Academy, the $0.99 two-screen companion app will provide users with "access to live video streams from a multitude of cameras, allowing special behind-the-scenes access throughout the night's events. They will be able to choose their own video experience on the red carpet and inside the ceremony with live video coverage extending through the Governors Ball, the Academy's celebration immediately following the Academy Awards," press materials from Disney/ABC and the Academy continue. Said Disney/ABC's EVP of digital media, Albert Cheng: "The Backstage Pass App is one of the many ways that we are using digital technology to redefine the Oscar experience this year. Together with the Academy, we're excited to be able to lower the 'velvet rope' and offer viewers new ways to be a part of Hollywood's biggest night. We wanted to offer an experience to viewers that allows them to feel like they're there with their favorite nominees and be able to see the stars mingle at this prestigious event." A video demo of the app is embedded above. (Note: For more on other interactive Oscar night offerings planned by Disney/ABC and the Academy, see the article published on itvt.com, January 28th.)
  • Digital video solutions provider, Imagine Communications, has announced plans to demo "technologies that ensure multiscreen vibrant picture quality while saving infrastructure and bandwidth" at the upcoming CableLabs Winter Conference (February 27th-March 2nd in Atlanta). "At the conference, Imagine will feature a live iPad demonstration of today's traditional software-only multiscreen transcoders, compared to Imagine's ICE Video Platform," the company states in its press materials. "The ICE platform is a hybrid hardware/software solution giving operators the ability to deliver an unparalleled viewing experience across all devices, while gaining the most efficient network resource optimization." Said Imagine's VP of product marketing, Chris Gordon: "Mobile is the most rapidly emerging video display market, and video quality will differentiate mobile video service providers. An issue that cable operators are now struggling with is the complete mismatch between interlaced HDTV video and the progressive displays on mobile PC's, tablets and smartphones. It's critical for cable operators to offer a quality mobile viewing experience and a key ingredient to that experience is video de-interlacing. The ICE Video Platform's unique hybrid architecture leverages de-interlacing technology that is simply unavailable in software-only solutions, and the difference in video quality and network efficiency is remarkable. PC's, laptops, tablets and smartphones are all (p) progressive, without support for interlaced video display. However, the vast majority of HD programming delivered to service providers is still 1080i (interlaced) video. Further, the majority of televisions sold today natively support 1080p. Whether the cable operator is serving living rooms, mobile devices or both, it is clear that converting these 1080i signals to a progressive format is a critical new requirement to ensure competitively high-quality and consistent picture display across all devices. Imagine has recently completed research of available de-interlacing technologies for their effectiveness and impact to picture quality and user experience, in particular the transcoding of live HD 1080i content for streaming to an iPad. Our results indicate there is a range of technical solutions and that off-the-shelf software de-interlacing techniques can be devastating to picture quality, irreversible and harmful to the overall compression efficiency. Solutions that depend on software-based transcoding will always be limited to underwhelming HD quality and a high streaming bitrate tax. Professional de-interlacing not only allows for a clean picture and compression efficiencies, but also enables cable operators with a significant quality advantage in the multiscreen environment."
North America