Amsterdam highlights

25Sep08

Since my last post was a little on the negative side, it’s time to lighten things up and talk about some of the sool stuff that was on show at IBC. So here’s a run down of my picks of the show:

Accedo: These guys (from Sweden) put stuff on your TV that isn’t TV content – usually games and interactive services – but at IBC, they were demoing a service wher social media applications such as YouTube, facebook and flickr to the TV screen. While it can be argued that things like Windows Media Centre do that already, Accedo’s slant is that they’re not simply replicating the web experience, but actually optimising the application for the TV platform. From what I’ve seen, this really comes to life for media heavy apps like Flickr, where you can present high quality slideshows on the big screen.

However, for some of the more communication based web-apps, you’d want to combine the TV experience with the online experience. Inuk Networks, the company behind student IPTV service Freewire used the show to talk about what they call “a truly converged triple-play IPTV service incorporating television, voice and PC applications within one interactive interface” Round the corner, expect to see “Lewis is watching Prison Break” as an automated Facebook status update, and things like updating your twitter feed or sending social network messages from within your TV’s EPG. Inuk’s Nick Ruczaj also told me that they’re planning to open up the Freewire API to let folks build their own widgets which will add interaction to the viewing experience. in my opinion, IPTV apps would be a great place for budding developers looking to get a foothold in the world of media convergence.

Speaking of which, Qualcomm had some interesting concept demos which looked at using 3G blended with its MediaFLO technology to get the Inuk-esque interactivity on mobile phones. It was nice to watch, and while it’s a concept at present, I think the issue here is going to be screen real estate. Only devices like the iPhone are really going to be able to deal with that much information on screen in a useable way. But with plenty of device manufacturers replicating the big screen interface, it won’t be long before concepts become reality.

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