Social TV Network Launches: Now Youtoo Can Be a Television Star

  • Producer Mark Burnett and the team at Youtoo is hoping to kickstart the first age of social TV by “putting 500 people on TV each day — providing more Americans than ever before with a real shot at their 15 minutes of fame,” according to the press release.
  • Burnett’s production studio VIMBY (Video in My BackYard) and online distributor KoldCast TV have joined Youtoo CEO and founder Chris Wyatt in the venture.
  • “VIMBY will be producing content for the network asking users to submit video ‘FameSpots’ or ‘Social Shouts’ via the Web, iPhone, iPad or Android to insert themselves into the content,” reports Lost Remote.
  • Youtoo’s patent-pending software and cross-platform technology stack enable users to record an HD broadcast quality video, or a “FameSpot,” which is filtered by the software and if chosen, will be put into the live broadcast feed.
  • “Youtoo is the world’s first social TV network,” says Wyatt. “Since millions of people want to be on TV, we created a website and app for that. Youtoo is a social network, television network, and the technology to make them all work together. Just like a social network, you can interact with your friends or followers. However, you can also interact with a national audience on TV. Think of it as Facebook for TV in concept.”
  • Youtoo launched September 27th in beta and is currently live. According to Wyatt, the network has distribution to 15 million households through Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter, Verizon, Service Electric, Bright House, National Cable Television Cooperative and Insight Cable.

CEATEC News: Toshiba Unveils New 55-Inch Naked-Eye 3D TV

  • Toshiba is showcasing its 55-inch Regza 55X3 TV at CEATEC this week in Japan. The unit boasts a resolution of 3,840×2,160 — and glasses-free 3D at 1,280×720 — for what TechCrunch is calling “the first TV of its kind.”
  • “The TV features 5,000:1 contrast ratio, LED backlight, a new processor called ‘REGZA Engine CEVO Duo,’ a face-tracking function to enable high-quality 3D pictures for viewers, REGZA LINK, five digital tuners, 10W×2ch+10W speakers, four HDMI ports, and two USB ports,” reports TechCrunch.
  • TechRadar reports that the Toshiba TV joins Sony’s VPL-VW1000ES projector and Sharp’s 60-inch LCD in the 4K offerings featured at CEATEC this week. The report also suggests Toshiba hopes to ship 1,000 units a month of the Regza 55X3. “This is high hopes for a technology that’s burgeoning in the cinema market but is brand new in the home,” indicates TechRadar. “And with the economic climate as it is will be something of a battle, even with both Sony and Toshiba on board.”
  • The Regza 55X3 will be available by December in Japan for $11,730 (U.S.).

Sharp Showcases 4K LCD Prototype at Tokyo Electronics Exhibition

  • Sharp is unveiling its new 60-inch LCD TV touting a 3,840×2,160 resolution at CEATEC in Japan this week.
  • The prototype offers four times the definition of full HD and uses ICC (Integrated Cognitive Creation) technology developed by the I3 (I-cubed) Research Center in Kawasaki. ICC attempts to emulate depth and distance experienced when viewing scenes in real life.
  • According to the video demo, the technology involves more than up-conversion of HD content to 4K and noise reduction. Instead, it offers “viewers a sense of perspective, 3D dimensionality and texture that’s much more similar to the natural world” by creating images with “an optical signal instead of an electrical signal.”
  • “It’s not as impressive as that 85-inch TV with Super Hi-Vision resolution (7,680×4,320 pixels) Sharp showed in May this year,” reports TechCrunch, “but in contrast to that model, the 4K TV has a (vague) sales date: sometime in 2012 and in Japan first, according to the company.”

Sony Vision: Will Tablets be Key to the Future of TV?

  • Rob Wiesenthal, chief financial officer of Sony America and chief strategy officer of Sony Entertainment, says TVs will get access to video content through tablets which would enable, for example, Sony’s Video Unlimited subscribers to go to a friend’s house and “throw” a film to the TV set.
  • “If you think back five years, it was all about the boxes; Tivo, Slingbox, Roku,” he said. “I think consumers really had box exhaustion.” Apple’s AirPlay, for example, allows iPads and iPhones to wirelessly connect to TVs.
  • Sony is using the Digital Living Network Alliance standard to interoperate with different manufacturer’ devices without the need for a box.
  • “Other benefits include the lure of offering more targeted advertising through an IP-enabled tablet than has proved possible through set-top boxes, and the advantages of finding content on a tablet rather than by aiming a remote control at a TV 10 feet away,” reports Financial Times.
  • In order for this approach to work, however, home Wi-Fi networks will require the capacity to transfer large video files without interruptions and cable providers will need to be willing to make content available this way.

Disruptive TV Trends: What is the Future of the Business of Television?

  • Amsterdam’s annual IBC event offered a number of potential TV game-changers earlier this month, suggests TVNewsCheck. These include cloud-based or service-oriented architecture (SOA) applications for capturing, producing, processing and distributing digital video and audio; IT-based playout (channel in a box) tools that could potentially make broadcast playout more affordable; and 3D technology likely to be deployed for the 2012 London Olympics.
  • Also on display were technologies “aimed at making 3D production more affordable and compatible with standard 2D operations.”
  • Cloud services were at the forefront since broadcasters are now challenged by having to support an increasing number of distribution platforms.
  • Vendors discussed the fundamental concerns about cloud-based architectures, “notably content security, access to content, collaboration, bandwidth and workflow continuity,” reports TVNewsCheck.
  • In a related article from GigaOM that analyzes shifts in traditional television, venture capitalist Habib Kairouz writes that the TV industry is poised for some significant changes due to a number of upcoming trends: TV anywhere and anytime will catch on; the rise of the Internet-connected TV and interactive programming; and personalized advertising.
  • The article suggests that content owners will benefit as MSOs, IPTV providers, and others compete with one another. MSO’s are hedging their bets by purchasing both traditional and interactive content, while TV manufacturers are looking to build Internet services into their low margin businesses. We should watch for new entrants to increase the disruption in this space.

Turner Looks to Google TV for Next Wave of TV Everywhere Initiative

  • Turner is working with Google TV to launch apps giving users who authenticate they are pay TV subscribers access to full-length episodes of TBS and TNT shows.
  • Turner is already doing this on the Web and through iPad and iPhone apps. The broadcaster confirmed it will offer the new apps, but did not say when they’d be available.
  • The next version of Google TV is expected in a few weeks. “The second iteration of the platform will be based on Android 3.1 (a.k.a. Honeycomb) and have access to the Android Market,” reports GigaOM. “Dedicated apps as well as authentication features could possibly convince other TV networks to embrace the platform as well, but it’s unclear how this would be received by consumers.”
  • Consumer interest in Google TV had been initially tepid but is showing some signs of improvement. Logitech, for example, was forced to drop the price of its Revue set-top box from $250 to $99 in July, but then the companion box to Google TV “made a brief appearance in Amazon’s list of the ten best-selling gadgets last month,” indicates the article.

New Social Media Tool Launched: Track TV Trends with Trendrr

  • TV industry insiders can start monitoring buzz around TV shows through Trendrr’s real-time dashboard, launched this week.
  • It measures buzz on Facebook, Twitter, GetGlue, and Miso and allows users to compare the show’s performance on the various platforms.
  • The dashboard can tell users how effective the social networking sites are in building up anticipation for upcoming episodes and how long the buzz lasts the moment the show airs.
  • It can also tell which show is garnering the most buzz, show top markets and hash tags, and explore Twitter users tweeting about the show.
  • “Trendrr and its parent company Wiredset have been tracking how well TV shows fare in social media for quite some time, and the company claims to count half of the top 25 cable networks as its customers,” reports GigaOM. “Its most ambitious project so far has been the Weather Channel’s new social media initiative, which incorporates curated tweets into the network’s website and on-air programming.”

Smart TV: Netgear Goes After Roku with its NeoTV Streaming Player

  • Netgear will roll out its smart TV box, the $80 NeoTV Streaming Player, which provides streaming media from Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Pandora, Napster, Picasa, blip.tv, Crunchyroll, Revision3 and others.
  • “Looks like Netgear is taking what it learned from licensing Roku’s tech last year and streamlining its connected TV offerings,” suggests Engadget.
  • The company’s press release indicates the device “opens up a world of Internet entertainment with streaming movies, TV shows, music, videos, news clips and games.” Users can also connect to friends through Facebook and Twitter channels.
  • “On the hardware side you’re looking at a glossy black box with a 300Mbps Wi-Fi radio, Ethernet, optical audio out and, of course, HDMI,” reports Engadget. The media player also includes a regular remote control for those who opt not to use the NeoTV Remote app via their smartphone.
  • The Roku 2 XS is currently the CNET pick for best media streaming solution under $100, but NeoTV may provide some competition.

Professional Editor Offers a Different Slant on the Future of FCP X

  • “CSI: Miami” editor and creator of 2-pop FCP informational site, Lawrence Jordan A.C.E., provides an alternative analysis of Apple’s much maligned Final Cut Pro X release.
  • In his recent Editors Guild Magazine article, Jordan discusses the history of FCP emerging as an affordable alternative to Avid, the unveiling of FCP X at the SuperMeet in Las Vegas, the subsequent negative backlash and comparisons to iMovie, Apple’s response to the debacle, and a refreshingly optimistic view of FCP’s future.
  • “Marketing debacles aside, once you dig in and start to really understand the breadth and depth of the things it can do, it’s hard to argue that Final Cut Pro X is not groundbreaking,” he writes. “It’s a slick, sophisticated and innovative rethinking of the editing paradigm that, considering Apple’s weight and power in the marketplace, will very likely be embraced by an entire new generation of media creators — people who will be crafting stories into the future, for platforms and devices that don’t even exist yet.”
  • Jordan concludes on a promising note: “Although I can’t recommend it to my fellow editors for editing features or television in its current incarnation (after all, it is only version 1.0), I look forward to what Final Cut Pro X will have to offer as it matures and as Apple begins to deliver on promises of a professional-level product that meets the needs and expectations of both its new and experienced users. I guess we will just all have to wait and see.”

Movea Wants You to Control Your Cable Box by Flailing Your Arms

  • French company Movea is looking to provide motion control options for TV and set-top box manufacturers.
  • The company’s MoveTV platform offers remote control technology to OEMs, and “opens up the company’s tools to developers for building games and apps,” reports Engadget.
  • The post lists early partners: Korean cable provider C&M Media — and Remote Solution, which “will be licensing Movea’s SmartMotion and integrating MoveTV into the set-tops provided to C&M.”
  • “MoveTV is the first platform that takes an ecosystem approach, offering an integrated suite of SmartMotion technology components tailored to the needs of service providers, application developers and the different PayTV ecosystem partners. MoveTV platform components work together seamlessly on the backend and are designed to be modular, giving ecosystem partners the flexibility to adopt different levels of motion-driven functionality and capabilities,” says Sam Guilaumé, CEO of Movea.

Ooyala Everywhere Goes Social with TV Platform for Facebook Users

  • Ooyala Social, a new HD-quality Social TV platform (and additional entry point for Ooyala Everywhere) allows Facebook users to “share video with their friends and family, live chat while viewing, discover new content and watch video across multiple screens and devices,” according to the company’s press release.
  • It supports several business models including rentals, subscriptions, purchases and advertising.
  • Discovering new shows is based on user’s social circles. Viewers can share videos they “like” with their friends, or “loan” a show for later viewing.
  • Users can watch from tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs. They can purchase, rent, or subscribe to content by using Facebook Credits, PayPal, a credit card or a mobile phone number.
  • “Broadcasters, distributors and Hollywood studios can capitalize on the Social TV trend by using Ooyala Social to make premium on-demand and live video widely and easily available on Facebook,” suggests the press release. “The solution offers built-in social features and other tools that enable media companies to grow audiences, boost viewer engagement and realize new revenue streams.”

New Ad Campaign from Turner Educates Viewers about TV Everywhere

  • Turner Broadcasting has begun airing a series of television commercials on TNT and TBS that lets viewers know they can watch TV episodes streamed online if they have a cable subscription.
  • The campaign is designed to educate consumers about the concept of TV Everywhere.
  • “Consumers have bought tens of millions of iPhones and iPads,” explains Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. “Our vision is that TV Everywhere kind of becomes the consumer-enabling technology that allows them to unlock the potential of those devices.”
  • An instructional video is also posted on YouTube that goes into detail about how to download the app and login (for example, viewers should be aware that they will need to have their cable bill account number available during the process).
  • It is interesting to note that Nielsen is crediting the viewing in its ratings if the show is watched within three days of airing.

HDTV Prototype Unveiled by Vestel: Would You Buy a BitTorrent TV?

  • The first BitTorrent certified HDTV was demonstrated at the IFA trade show in Berlin last week, although ZDNet points out that torrent fans will be “hard-pressed to get their hands on one (especially in the U.S.).”
  • The Vestel prototype uses BitTorrent’s Chrysalis platform to simplify the process of downloading and converting torrents to view.
  • Although the idea may be exciting to many, it’s a bit early to celebrate. “Not surprisingly, there’s no information about any kind of release dates or distribution model for the TV (or even basic specs like screen sizes, etc.),” reports ZDNet. “Vestel is obviously not a household name, and past BitTorrent-based networking products from the likes of Netgear haven’t been runaway successes.”
  • “Major retailers might not want to stock a BitTorrent TV for fear of offending their digital content partners,” adds the post, “so this might be a niche product that you’d have to track down online. Or it could wind up being vaporware altogether.”
  • ZDNet asks its readers if they would consider buying a BitTorrent TV — a good question for our ETCentric crowd. What are your thoughts?

Viewsonic Cancels Boxee HDTV: Will Apple Revive Demand For Smart TVs?

  • Viewsonic announced it will axe the launch of its planned smart HDTV, which would have run Boxee’s media center software. Coupled with Logitech’s price cut for Google TV, it seems there is little demand for smart TVs that are connected to the Internet.
  • However, some analysts believe that may change.
  • “The Logitech Revue and Boxee were both originally priced considerably higher than the $99 Apple TV, which has sold relatively well on Amazon, despite only being what Steve Jobs famously referred to as a ‘hobby’ for the company,” reports ReadWriteWeb.
  • We’re all expecting the future living room to be Web-connected and interactive — as initial steps are taken by mobile technology, social networking and second screen apps — but what we don’t know is exactly how this will play out. Apple has long been rumored to be working on a smart HDTV that would possibly play a more prominent role in our living rooms.
  • Will Apple TV jumpstart the smart TV market? ReadWriteWeb points out: “If Apple’s impact on the markets for smartphones and tablets is any indication, an Apple-branded HDTV may serve to popularize connected TVs in a way that Boxee and Google TV have failed to thus far.”

Liberty Global Looks Beyond the Horizon with Multi-Screen Video Platform

  • Liberty Global unveiled a new video delivery platform at IBC in Amsterdam that the company claims will reinvent television by combining the interactivity of the Web with cable and personalized content.
  • The multimedia gateway will create a wireless network that connects the TV to personal devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones, reports Communications Technology.
  • The technology, dubbed Horizon, centers on a PC as “the heart of the digital home,” includes a 3D user interface, and is presently undergoing field trials in the Netherlands. Liberty Global suggests it will be commercially available next year.
  • Sixty content providers — including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter — have already signed up to develop applications for the platform.
  • The platform has a number of tech partners including Samsung, which built the multimedia home gateway, powered by the Intel Atom CE Media Processor.
  • NAGRA Media Access will provide the conditional access solution that will support MoCA and Wi-Fi, and participate in the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) ecosystem.