Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): Shazam, STMicroelectronics, Fraunhofer HHI, TelVue

--ACR Company, Shazam, Begins Offering Unlimited Free Tagging on iOS Devices
--ST, Fraunhofer HHI Unveil Standards-Based 3D Adaptive Video-Streaming Software Receiver
--TelVue Launches B1000 HyperCaster IP Broadcast Server

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.

  • Audio-based automatic content recognition (ACR) specialist, Shazam (note: the company, which is best known for offering a mobile application that consumers can use to identify music, as well as unlock supplemental content associated with TV shows--a process it calls "tagging"--recently raised $32 million in order to further its efforts to target the TV space--see the article published on, June 22nd), has announced that it will now offer unlimited free tagging globally through its free app for iOS devices. Previously, users were limited to five free tags per month. "Shazam provides people with the opportunity to more deeply engage with their favorite television shows as more broadcast and cable networks offer exclusive, new content directly to the Shazam community," the company states in its press materials. "Similarly, many of the world's leading brands want to reach and directly engage the 150 million Shazamers via their mobile and television advertising...Shazam's free app is supported primarily by advertising, exclusive sponsorships and product sales. Capital One Financial the launch sponsor for unlimited tagging in the free Shazam app globally on iOS and Android." Said Shazam CEO, Andrew Fisher: "Shazamers already identify over 1 billion songs each year and go on to purchase over $100 million in digital music via our service. Now, with no limits, people can Shazam even more songs they don’t know--or they already know - to conveniently purchase them, see the lyrics, watch the official music video, share on Facebook, Twitter or email, get recommendations and purchase concert tickets instantly. Unlimited free access means people can use Shazam even more as part of their daily lives. All of this is possible due to the increasing maturity of mobile advertising and the strength of Apple's iOS ecosystem. Because of these essential improvements, we can make this fundamental change to unlimited usage in our free app."
  • STMicroelectronics and the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) have unveiled what they are billing as the industry's first 3D video receiver based on the new MPEG-DASH standard for dynamic and adaptive HTTP streaming. "The fully working prototype developed within the EU-funded COAST (Content Aware Searching and Streaming) project is being demonstrated at the Networked and Electronic Media (NEM) Summit in Torino, Italy on 27-29 September 2011," the partners state in their press materials. "HTTP streaming enables high-quality video delivery over IP to connected-TV sets, set-top boxes and mobile terminals. Recently released by the 3GPP and MPEG groups, Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) aims to simplify the deployment of broadband video streaming services across different network infrastructures and end devices, replacing the multitude of proprietary HTTP streaming protocols with one open, standardized solution. DASH defines formats for content preparation and tools for fast and efficient content adaptation. It supports trick modes, multi-language subtitles and audio tracks, ad insertion and multiple digital rights management technologies aimed at protecting content, and works with standard Web-server and cache technologies. The ST-HHI DASH-based software video receiver uses sophisticated algorithms to guarantee uninterrupted video delivery and optimal viewing experiences through automatic selection of bit-rate, video resolution and format based on the actual network conditions, end-device capabilities and user preferences. Bandwidth fluctuations are compensated for by automatic variation of the video bit-rate while the video format is automatically selected according to the type of terminal, so that consumers are able to watch the same 3D content on standard 2D-display devices. On show at the 2011 NEM Summit, the ST-HHI 3D adaptive streaming environment comprises a video server, a PC connected to a 3D monitor, and a thin client with 2D display. The 3D video content is generated and delivered over IP from a remote server to both terminals, while the same 3D video flow is automatically adapted to 2D in the thin client. The prototype implements the DASH technology in GStreamer, a popular multimedia framework for PC and embedded platforms that supports a wide range of media formats and streaming protocols."
  • TelVue has launched the B1000 HyperCaster IP Broadcast Server, which it bills as providing cable operators with an easy, low-cost way to launch high-quality 24x7 digital channels "within minutes of unpacking. Hardware savings of up to 75% can be achieved through the elimination of real-time encoders and legacy baseband playout systems," the company's press materials continue. "The B1000 HyperCaster provides IP origination for up to 20 independent digital broadcast channels supporting local origination (LO), leased access (LA), PEG channels and long-form advertising. When the B1000 HyperCaster is used in conjunction with the TelVue Connect cloud-based Broadcast Content Management System, cable operators can achieve dramatic workflow improvement and labor cost reductions of 60% to 80% in typical LO/LA operations. The B1000 HyperCaster supports CableLabs MPEG-2 Transport with both MPEG-2 and H.264 encoded video files in standard- or high-definition formats, including ATSC. The HyperCaster's native IP-over-Gigabit-Ethernet interface easily integrates with copper or fiber IP network architectures. The B1000 is a compact 1 RU server with dual power supplies and a high-reliability solid state hard drive for the operating system and high-capacity SATA2 RAID for content storage...In addition to the full suite of scheduling and content management, capabilities of the new B1000 HyperCaster include: 1) High channel densities: Originate 1 to 20 channels in SD or HD formats, fully supporting both MPEG-2 and H.264 networks all with a server occupying a single rack space. 2) IP capture enables simultaneous broadcast of live streams and IP-to-file capture for archival and re-broadcast. 3) New MPEG transport processing allows the HyperCaster to interoperate seamlessly with modern digital ad-insertion and EBIF-based interactive TV applications...The B1000 HyperCaster's full integration with TelVue Connect means that the operator can schedule LO/LA contributor series into pre-assigned time slots using flexible rules and recurring patterns such as 'once a week at 8PM.' This allows contributors to self-manage their episodes within a series, effectively distributing the channel scheduling task amongst the contributors." Said TelVue president and CEO, Jesse Lerman: "Current LO/LA workflow incorporates a patchwork of legacy analog playout servers and equipment that don't fit in the modern digital headend and require per-channel real-time encoders. The problem is compounded when multiple programming contributors are submitting different media types and video formats making LO/LA channels a huge challenge to manage and schedule. All this complexity has led the industry to regard LO/LA as a burden while subscribers are demanding more local content. By deploying the TelVue HyperCaster with TelVue Connect, LO/LA channels can now be a significant revenue opportunity as well as a competitive differentiator."
North America