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

Saturday, October 27, 2007

YouTube Channels turned into living room TV-web

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

The Issue: The path to bringing Internet-delivered video to the TV has been a long one, with lots of disappointments and delays.

Solutions: The barriers to adoption until now include overly-ambitions business models, inappropriate use of complex technology, high-priced solutions and poor communication with end-users. These have all contributed to delays in bringing Internet video to the TV. It is now possible, however, using active-TV technology, to demonstrate simple and practical, as well as reliable, solutions that overcome these barriers. These solutions are on sale today in many consumer electronics retail stores (see ).

Behind the scene: The ease with which it is now possible to construct TV-web sites, supported by active-TV technology, will quickly lead to a flood of TV-web channels for living room TVs.

Starting with the premise that YouTube members can select their own video favorites, create or use existing playlists, and even arrange videos into a “channel”, individuals as well as companies such as National Geographic, BBC, Sony and many others, actively use YouTube as a means of further distributing their video portfolio – they upload with great frequency a veritable treasure-trove of interesting video clips. For example, at last count the National Geographic YouTube ‘channel’ included 252 videos, and the CBS channel had 3711 videos.

YouTube provides an interface for requesting these videos over the Internet. They actually provide the cut-and-paste code enabling the video to be embedded into a blog or website. I have taken a different approach and effectively pasted them into a TV-web channel. The simple steps and tools for accomplishing this where recently described in a blog article.

To demonstrate how easy it is to build TV-web channels, I have quickly created the 9 examples below. I will supply the support code at the for anyone who wishes to add these channels to their active-TV technology-enabled TV or Set-Top Box. Additionally, D-Link is now supporting a free website for DSM-520 owners who want to add active-TV technology.

National Geographic TV-web image (based on National Geographic ‘channel’ on YouTube)

This BBC Top Gear channel looks interesting, but is not a success. Interestingly, anyone uploading video to YouTube can ‘mark’ the video, so limiting viewing options; in this case much of the video is marked “not to be embedded”. This means the video can only be views from the YouTube PC-web page. This is rarely a problem, but many of the very popular BBC Top Gear videos are ‘marked’ as such and cannot be viewed outside the YouTube PC-web page.

Warner Brothers music video TV-web image (based on Warner Brothers ‘channel’ on YouTube)

David Pogue is a New York Times technology columnist. He does not have a YouTube channel. But it is still possible to group relevant videos into a TV-web channel. Without the use of YouTube channel grouping, there is always a small chance that the video selection filter used to gather video clips may allow an inappropriate or unrelated video to be included in the ‘Pogue’ TV-web channel line-up.

Sony Pictures UK TV-web image (based on Sony’s ‘channel’ on YouTube)



Rudy Giuliani

Hillary Clinton

There was a bug in the TV-web Flash support code released previously at . The bug was introduced by a software protection tool. It is now fixed and the blogspot download software has been updated. I was not able to devote the time to clearing this problem up sooner. The bug caused a problem with left-right swapping used to protect Plasma TVs. All should be resolved now.

So far I have made examples in 4x3 TV format, but will start adding widescreen or 16x9 format, as there have been several requests for this.

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Internet video development tools ensure "no TV left behind"

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

The Issue: Lack of low-cost and easy-to-use technology-in-a-box for Internet-based video has kept it from reaching a living room audience.

Solutions: Established companies (with only mixed success so-far at resolving both business and technical issues…) appear stalled due to conflicting business agendas.

Behind the scene: A new Web 2.0 ‘mash-up’ site for TV-web content makes it easy to build customized TV channels for delivery right to the living room TV. You no longer have to wait for established companies to make great strides in enabling a path to the living room TV.

In a recent Knowledge@Wharton article, Wharton Business School marketing professor, Peter Fader, argues that “by adopting so-called web 2.0 techniques -- such as consumer rating systems and new combinations of content – [TV] networks could create a sense of community, much like that found at social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook”. He is referring to the broad adoption of Internet-based video streaming directly to the TV.

Key to Fader’s argument is not “to resist the urge to protect content but instead to focus on giving users a good experience.” Also, that “the goal is creating connections and a trail to eventually buy a DVD. Doing that would create revenue and a deeper relationship [with consumers]."

To this end, the PC industry has done a poor job of delivering on its promise of elegant yet cheap technical solutions that deliver Internet video to the living room TV. This is clearly pointed out by Matte Richtel in a New York Times article: so far, “here’s the reality: laboriously hook your computer to your TV; watch low-definition photos of the family vacation. At no risk of hyperbole, the promise of the digital home has fallen desperately short”.

Richtel goes on to describe a “new crop” of boxes which take a “more modest” approach to satisfying the needs of consumers who want to watch YouTube on the TV. Given this new potential, and the perhaps little understood but far-reaching consequences of a power shift in the TV industry, he speculates that “television makers could demand a share of advertising or subscription revenue from content partners who are given access to the viewers of their TVs”. Hence, content owners and TV builders would effectively side-step or supplant the current business model led by dominant service providers and relatively subservient set-top-box providers. It is a scenario most suited to the US market.

What is more likely to drive market development is extending the reach of PC-web-based social networking and video sharing sites to the ‘big TV’ via TV-web supported devices that use active-TV technology. To show how easily this can be done, a ‘mash-up’ of Web 2.0 components are available at With the availability of active-TV technology-enabled boxes such as the recently upgraded D-Link DSM-520, it is quite easy to bring Internet-delivered video to any TV. What is next is a mash-up combining or merging Web 2.0 content for both PC-web and TV-web. At that point it will be easier to build your own TV-web channels than building a blog.

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

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