02 December 2011
So you want to watch content wherever you are on a tablet?
The market for TV related apps for tablet devices is strong at the moment, with new announcements weekly on the latest hot app, which does the latest hot thing. Figures from market surveys (such as the Orange Essentials 2011 survey) show that tablets are being used for TV viewing, and should be seen as a serious competitor to the humble TV set. So what can you do with your tablet today?
The TV apps for a device such as the iPad split into a number of categories, such as EPG, “extended” EPG, over the top (OTT) services and content specific apps etc.
EPG apps, and indeed their extended cousins, require that you tell the app where you are and on what device you watch the TV. The app then uses a network connection to get the EPG for you and display it in a nice friendly way. The extended versions (such as Zeebox) add in twitter feed and relevant information about the content. You can also tell everyone else what you are watching, if you select this on the app. But what about actually watching content? With these types of apps, there is no content to watch, they are designed to be “second screen” i.e. compliment your experience on the main TV set, not replace it. Some of the apps also allow you to control the TV, either using IR, or via a network connection for selected connected TV’s.
OTT apps include the likes of Lovefilm and the various catch-up TV services from a number of operators such as BBC / Channel4. These offer streaming access to selected content, specific to the supplier of the app (so only BBC content on the iPlayer). These apps are streaming only and in general don’t allow you to download content to take away and view at a later date. Some apps, like the overseas version of BBC iPlayer, do allow you to download based on a monthly subscription fee and keep the content for a limited time, although this is the exception rather than the rule. Some other streaming services, from the likes of Time Warner Cable and Cablevision in the US, allow streaming of a range of live channels, but no download of content and are also limited to viewing within the users home.
Content specific apps can be from a single TV Channel (such as some of the network affiliate broadcasters in the US) or from a brand (such as Mercedes Benz). These apps have a limited content and in most cases are re-packaged versions of their smartphone apps, which are themselves simply using the content available on the website (news / sports clips, weather forecasts etc).
So what happens today if you decide you want to watch content when travelling on a plane? If we take the iPad again, then your choice is pretty much limited to purchasing / renting content from iTunes.
This is where Video2Go comes in.
Video2Go from Motive Television allows the viewers to download content from their STB to an iPad (today – more coming later) which the viewer can then watch when they want and where they want, with no need of a network connection. Of course Video2Go also allows the viewer to stream the content from their STB if they are at home, and they don’t need to download.
Why is this different to Sideloading that Motive offers?
Sideloading uses local processing of the content within the STB to create a mobile version of the content and present it to the tablet / smartphone. Video2Go processes the content before it’s delivered to the STB. Sideloading can use a dynamic adjustment to take into account what activities the STB is doing and can work across a wide range of currently deployed STB’s. Video2Go can address an ever wider range of boxes and can provide a first step towards a full sideloading system.
So Video2Go allows the user to take content with them, what else?
Well, Video2Go is connected to the users STB, so the app can know what channel the STB is currently displaying, without the need for any check-in. Also the EPG information comes directly from the box and control is directly to the box, giving the customer an all round experience with a simple one step once only set-up.
Beyond the STB.
The technology developed for Video2Go can be used to address vertical markets such as hotels / coffee shops / cinemas etc. In these markets there is no STB, but there is a desire to provide content to the user. Only watched part of that Pay-per-view movie? Take it with you and watch the rest later. Want some behind the screens content to the latest blockbusters, or to take away the trailer you liked to show your friends?
This extension to Video2Go coupled with elements of Motive’s Television Anytime technology can offer a ready made solution to these markets.
So if you want to take your content with you to watch safely and securely wherever you are, Motive Television has the solutions.
Dr Glenn Craib
Managing Director Motive Television Scotland Ltd
Managing Director Motive Television Scotland Ltd