Interactive TV News Round-Up (II): Audible Magic, 1K Studios, BendBroadband, Synacor, CableLabs
--Audible Magic in ACR Partnership with Cinram's 1K Studios
--BendBroadband Launches HBO's "TV Everywhere" Services, Using Synacor Authentication Technology
--CableLabs Trumpets Success of February ETV Interop Event
Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on The TV of Tomorrow Show 2012, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.
- Automatic content recognition (ACR) specialist, Audible Magic, has formed a partnership with 1K Studios, a subsidiary of Cinram International Income Fund. "The relationship, which involves the supply of best-in-class audio-syncing technology from Audible Magic to 1K Studios, will enable 1K to enhance its development of second-screen platforms," the company states in its press materials. "1K Studios is a world-class provider of creative technology to the media and entertainment industry. Responsible for recent high-profile projects utilizing film, gaming and publishing content, 1K Studios has a track record in delivering innovative consumer experiences. Audible Magic provides a solution called SmartSync Media Synchronization that enables mobile devices to listen to TV audio and match it with frame-level accuracy to a mobile device. Most developers can successfully integrate this technology into their applications within just a few hours...1K's second-screen platform is to debut shortly on a major studio release."
- Regional cable operator, BendBroadband, has launched HBO's "TV Everywhere" services, HBO Go and Max Go, employing subscriber-authentication technology from Synacor. The operator also recently launched Turner Broadcasting's TV Everywhere services.
CableLabs has published an account of its most recent ETV Interop event (February 6th-10th). "Representatives of these 18 companies participated in the Interop to validate their development work against the latest versions of the CableLabs ETV (enhanced TV) and CoDF (Content Definition Format) specifications: Canoe Ventures LLC, Comcast, Cox Communications, enableTV, Ensequence, ESPN, FourthWall Media, Inc., HSN, icueTV, Inc., Ignite Solutions, S&T, S3 Group, Showtime, Softel-USA, Starz Entertainment, Time Warner Cable, Unisoft and Zodiac Interactive," the organization states in its press materials. "The latest CableLabs ETV Interop occurs against a backdrop of ongoing development for ETV technical specifications. In 2011, CableLabs issued the I06 version of its ETV specifications and the I02 version of its CoDF specification. As both of these specifications mature, the ETV user agents are able to present increasingly complex ETV applications. (A user agent is a 'player' resident on a set-top box that graphically presents the interactive application on the TV screen.) Enhancements included in the I06 release of the ETV specification include a Graphics Device Profile that supports .jpg and .gif image formats as well as increased support of animated widgets. Other added features include support for unbound applications (not synchronized to the underlying video) and time-shifted content, as well as common approaches to navigator functions and extensions of ETV applications to launch video-on-demand (VOD) content. Participants at the Interop reported several areas of progress. Applications executed consistently across 10 different user agents, meaning that an application has the same look and feel regardless of playout across different cable systems. In turn, adherence to CableLabs' specifications creates a true national ETV footprint for developers. Application developers expressed optimism that they are able to write their application once for consistent perform across multiple cable systems without major debugging or troubleshooting efforts. The applications presented at the Interop included a variety of interactive features and capabilities such as tcommerce, polling, trivia, social media feeds, text message fulfillment, coupon offerings, focused mini-guides, and VOD telescoping. The event culminated with a Showcase Day in which each participant had the opportunity to demonstrate their applications to an audience representing cable companies and programming providers. Many of the applications showcased are currently in test development phases with cable distributors, and will join other deployed ETV applications that reach millions of cable customers today. CableLabs estimates the ETV platform associated with the CableLabs specifications currently reaches over 30 million US cable households." Said Don Dulchinos, SVP of CableLabs' Advertising and Interactive Services Program: "Today we witnessed real examples that create audience engagement, improve customer service, provide new revenue opportunities for operators and programmers, and enhance the overall television viewing experience."