The BBC is exploring ways that it could let customers link their data from online services like Netflix, Spotify and Ticketmaster to get a more personalised content experience. The BBC’s Director of Audiences Nick North said that the BBC is still in “experimental mode” with the project, but started to look into the idea with other media owners about a year ago.
There are no drum rolls for this proof-of-concept – it is not VR and does not require an entire ecosystem to fall into place. But TVlights does take the television we already have and make it more enjoyable by ‘projecting’ synchronised light around a room, with the colour and intensity matched to on-screen action in a kind of ‘surround-light’ experience. It is based on STB software integrated with Philips HUE smart lights.
A leading UK consulting firm has been analysing where the EPG is going next and predicts a Netflix barker channel, a pseudo-linear Facebook channel, a completely fluid line-up of broadcast, IP unicast and IP multicast delivered channels, far fewer channels and super-EPG slots that are a gateway to more content, plus more millennial-centric brands like VICE and Twitch.
There is growing interest in giving viewers a linear-type experience when they are watching on-demand content. A new UEX concept supports a personalized ‘channel’ where VOD, catch-up, SVOD and other OTT sources are aggregated, with content lined up in a schedule that you can watch or skip through. You can ‘tune-out’ to some live broadcast TV as required, then resume where you left off.
Media companies should expect more from a template-based multiscreen solution, 3SS is claiming. The company is offering mid-sized and smaller operators, and broadcasters, an approach that uses native coding and so maximises the UEX potential of end-devices. The ready-made apps framework is adaptable and has a mediation layer that means you can swap out the backoffice without influencing the app coding
As broadband access speeds improve, Wi-Fi is becoming the new bottleneck. A growing number of service providers are using advanced Wi-Fi technologies, like mesh networks, to increase the in-home wireless performance and some of them, including Waoo in Denmark, are charging extra for this premium capability.
The VRIF is in a hurry to establish voluntary guidelines that will ensure end-to-end interoperability and high-quality services for VR. Motion sickness, accessibility and content protection are three of the subjects under review. MPEG’s Omnidirectional Media Application Format is an early candidate for inclusion in the guidelines, the first of which should be published this year.
Over-the-air viewing of broadcast channels is growing in the U.S. at the same time that people are watching more subscription OTT. This is a convenient combination for cord-cutters and cord nevers. AirTV from DISH Networks is feeding this trend with its hybrid DTT/streaming device that integrates Sling TV, Netflix and broadcast TV.
IBM Cloud Video plans to launch a new Media Insights video analytics product later this year, powered by its Watson AI. Meanwhile, it is piloting the use of cognitive computing to segment video into scenes on the basis of their semantic content, with a view to enabling powerful new search, discovery and recommendation tools.
hayu, the new reality TV OTT service from NBCUniversal is an early example of genre-specific SVOD for the masses. It takes the first release window in its international markets at the expense of channels and there is already Pay TV onboarding. Although NBCU-dominated, more third-party content is coming. Only long-form content is behind the pay wall; a whole world of clips, news and social is accessible to all. It looks more like broadcaster catch-up than an SVOD library.