Active-TV Technology for iPhone and iPod touch

Active-TV Technology for iPhone and iPod touch
Navigate YouTube

Navigate YouTube available at iTunes App Sore

An easy to use iPhone and iPod touch App that enables both new and advanced YouTube users to get the best from YouTube.

Browse video Standard Feeds, Categories, Channels and Playlists. Then organize new videos into your own favorites and playlists. Make playlists private or public. Subscribe to other user's playlists and video collections for future viewing. Subscribe to videos matching search-words.

Look at publicly viewable favorite videos, playlists and subscriptions based on your YouTube friends, family and contacts. Send and receive video links with YouTube contacts via YouTube video messages.

Search for new videos tagged for your language or geographical region, using local keyboard. Explore for new videos via easy switching of user ID to the owner of interesting videos - then explore their world.

All actions are kept in sync with PC, Mac or Apple-TV access to YouTube. Available at Apple App Store.

active-TV technology for PC

active-TV technology for PC
Windows PC based home network

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Joost on a Set-Top Box within 18 months !

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

The Issue: Joost and other PC-based P2P software users want to deliver video to the living room TV.

Solutions: A standalone solution (i.e. direct access to Internet video by the TV, without PC involvement) involves managing complex technical problems, including integration of P2P sharing software into a very low-cost TV chip and related system components. Joost estimate this project may take 18 months.

Behind the scene: An immediate and more powerful solution is available using active-TV technology (which uses the PC to format and deliver TV-web to the TV). This approach favors the existing long replacement cycles expected from a TV. As well as ensuring, unlike a PC, zero TV maintenance and upgrading. And also an easy path for integrating new features, with lower incremental TV hardware cost. Active-TV technology requires PC-assistance from a networked always-ready PC, to be sure, but what potential Joost user doesn’t already own a networked PC?

Steve O’Hear asks in a Last100 blog entry, “how long before we see Internet TV service, Joost, running on some kind of a set-top-box” (STB)?” He provides Joost CEO Mike Volpi’s response: [within] “the next 18 months”. Volpi goes on to say, “Over the long term I think we kind of expect that… we have to have to other platforms that attach to the television set because we are delivering a high quality viewing experience”.

Like BitTorrent, or similar video-sharing PC-web sites using peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, Joost may be trying to integrate P2P firmware directly into TVs or STBs. This is very difficult to achieve and maintain. It also offers a path to fewer useful features, not to mention problems dealing with the fact that buyers do not like to replace their TVs or (in the U.S. at least…) STBs very often.

In contrast, it is actually very easy to put Joost video on a TV or STB, using the active-TV technology approach. This requires networked-PC assistance. But to the critics who keep asking, “Why can’t the TV process TV-web video without the assistance of a networked PC?” the answer is simple: The chip inside a TV costs $15 or less. It is hard to get this chip to perform many of the same functions that a PC does, which costs closer to $400 or maybe more; if it did, you can be certain there would be initiatives under way to build a PC from a TV chip!

Using active-TV technology, P2P software continues to run on the PC. Just the Joost video and the TV user interface (UI) is sent over the network to the TV or STB. Last100 also questions whether or not Joost will build an “open” internet service or a “closed” IPTV portal service like Apple TV. Is Joost’s development delay due to the construction of a closed system?

I hear TV-web template software will shortly be freely available. The example code I have seen includes support for YouTube video and some other sources. However, it appears very easy to change the XML parser to feed on a Joost library-API, rather than, say, the YouTube API. In fact, the TV-web example (below) could be easily modified to use any of the video sharing services with freely available library-APIs.

(Picture below: TV-web for active-TV technology TVs or ‘MCE-conformant’ platforms. The example uses a 4x3 TV format, but 16x9 is also available.)

As a result, for those TVs or STBs using active-TV technology (such as the recently upgraded D-Link DSM-520) it’s quite possible that Joost video might appear on the TV very soon. For Joost enthusiast there is certainly no reason to wait 18 moths to get video on a TV or STB.

The TV-web template software available soon may look different from that shown above. I believe the code is now at a design firm for a style “make over”.

Regarding competitors to Joost, Apple TV also offers an attractive TV UI. But it is not an open system and consequently I have not heard of any TV-web template software available for constructing a TV-web channel living room viewing.

(Picture below: Apple TV using a 16x9 TV format)

It remains to be seen how both proprietary and open approaches to bringing internet video to the TV evolve. As simple and cost-effective hardware devices from D-Link and others proliferate in the market, it will be increasingly incumbent on PC-web video portals and aggregators to develop a viable TV-web strategy; their approach must take into consideration the economic realities of TV design and engineering and the familiarity and practicalities of PC ownership. In doing so, they can bring new and compelling services & features to consumers, eager to bridge the gap between what they currently view on their PC and what they would like to view on their TV. Active-TV technology offers such a path.

Feedback, corrections and comments welcome. Contact me for more information or support with active-TV technology development.
Daniel Mann


Anonymous said...

Nice post! thanks. Why is nobody coming out with a device which works independent of PC and does show the PC-Web on TV? Will such a device be costly or is it not viable to build such a device? Does the Dlink and linksys media extenders show PC-Web on TV without PC?

Anonymous said...

From what I understand the DSM-520 with Active-TV technology requires a backend program on a networked computer to function.

and I phrase it in that way because, as a DSM-520 owner, I can't be sure of the specifics because DLINK has pushed forward the release date of the necessary firmware for the DSM-520. Announcing a firmware release for a specific day, and failing to provide that is fail. Full of fail.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, what necessary phrase..., a magnificent idea