Beware the ides of March indeed! Not least since it’s a month that delivers the double whammy of TV Connect (18-20 March) and the TV Connect Awards (19 March). This year the awards are being held at the spectacular BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, a perfect place to celebrate the best innovations and achievements in connected entertainment.
The shortlist for all the different categories were announced last week, and in the coming days we’ll be digging a little deeper into some of these, starting rightaway with the famous Best TV Experience Enhancement award, where TV Connect celebrates those innovators smoothing the edges of this rapidly evolving industry, and making advances accessible and fun for the consumer.
First on the shortlist is the AdCast platform by Active Video, which has been selected for bringing Web-style simplicity and scale to interactive ads for television and connected devices. The CloudTV software platform facilitates the delivery of web-style interactive TV advertising at scale, allowing for cutting edge advertisements to enjoy greater range and ease of application.
Regardless of who wins this year, IP&TV News thinks Advanced Digital Broadcast SA’s Graphyne has the nicest tagline: “Rather than trying to make TV as complicated as the internet,” explain its creators, “we opted to make the entire open-ended awesomeness of the internet as simple as TV.”
A great sentiment! But it took more than this to impress the judges, and Graphyne provides users with equal access to everything on the home network and beyond – whether linear TV, DVR content, OTT/VOD and catch-up, social media applications, Skype, music or personal photographs (even home security and energy management apps). The user experience is replicated across all devices, providing a visually impressive way to navigate all forms of digital content and services in the home and on the move.
Another visually impressive selection, Alticast’s Windmill 1.0 provides an end-to-end interactive solution with modular support for multiple platforms, services and devices, enabling viewers to watch TV while using their smartphone or tablet to browse related social media, shopping, music, video and advertising content.
Windmill manages to be dizzyingly versatile, but never bamboozling, a very fine balancing act that has deservedly won the admiration of the TV Connect judges!
For a dash of innovative bravado look no further than MEO Kanal by Portugal Telecom, a service that allows customers to produce, edit and share MEO multimedia contents on a customized television channel on MEO – to have, in short, their own channel.
“This service is more than just an evolution in the MEO television experience,” says Zeinal Bava, Portugal Telecom, Chief Executive of PT. “It is a revolution whose impacts are difficult to imagine and that we will discover in the way how our customers will use the service.”
Universal Video Player by SoftAtHome has already picked up awards in the course of its short existence. And this first carrier-grade media player software, which supports all current video-streaming technologies across all networks, is expected to provide stiff competition here too.
Voila’s OTT TV Service is another hugely impressive selection, and offers an incredible wealth of content, including more than 130 linear TV channels and an online library on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets, running iOS and Android.
Last but not least is Yahoo’s connected TV platform, Yahoo Smart TV, which scans thousands of program options and learns from your viewing habits to recommend content. The recommendations include a combination of shows that are about to start, interesting in-progress content such a football game, Video On Demand content and the Web.
Taken together, these selections give clear clues as to what connected entertainment will look like in a few years time. As for who wins, however, we’ll have to wait for the 19th to find out.
For more information on the TV Connect Awards go here.