Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Coactive TV -- The World of TV is getting there, and more is yet to come...

The kind of advanced "coactive" TV that I been promoting since 2002 is finally reaching the mainstream, but there is still much more to come.

As noted in a new page on the CoTV Web site, "Coactive TV: User-centered Convergence Today and Tomorrow:" 
The increasing prevalence of "media multitasking" (simultaneous use of TV and the Web) on laptops and smartphones began to change perceptions, and 2-screen ITV began to be seen as desirable in itself. Users were creating their own manual ITV experiences by finding relevant Web services on their own.  That set the stage for the emergence of CoTV 1.0, which was then kick-started by the iPad.  One indication of CoTV crossing the chasm into mainstream attention was the survey by Katherine Boehret of the influential Mossberg/Wall Street Journal/All Things D team on 12/20/11.

Another indication this is getting real was the number of announcements at CES. As reported by Bill Niemeyer in the 1/13 OTT Monitor from The Diffusion Group:
One key takeaway from CES that has floated above the noise pertains to Automated Content Recognition (ACR) for TV and video platforms. CES saw announcements from a number of ACR vendors including Audible Magic, Civolution, Gracenote, and Zeitera.
What is ACR? It's a variety of technologies that allow a device or service to recognize automatically a specific piece of content and synchronize to it within seconds. ACR can be based on audio/video watermarking or fingerprinting (i.e., cloud-based pattern matching used by mobile music app services like Shazam). Let your cell phone hear a brief bit of a song and Shazam will tell you what it is and even provide synchronized lyrics.
How can ACR be used in OTT [Over The Top]? It can synchronize interactive experiences for programs - whether viewed live or time-shifted - as well as advertising or e-commerce apps. Distinct from watermarking, which requires insertion in the content, fingerprinting can be done completely outside the realm of content providers, networks, and PayTV operators. That said, developing third-party synced apps without infringing on copyrights could be tricky.
With ACR, literally "the possibilities are endless" (to use a trite phrase). It's a powerful tool that needs to be put in the hands of creatives to realize fully its artistic potential, as well as clever business-side types to see how much "extended revenue" it can create.
But this is just the start. To look further into the future of advanced TV and video-based hypermedia, check out the section on "CoTV Tomorrow -- CoTV 2.0" on that new CoTV page.  A partial list of advanced features:

  • Selectable, Alternative "Enhancement Channels" 
  • Screen targeting
  • Flexible session-shifting
  • Link-and-pause (and sync bookmarks)
  • Full hypermedia browsing  
  • TV Context parameter/API
  • Full Coactive Internet commerce and advertising
  • Third-party linking rights/fees

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