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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Apple ends TV remotes rather than replace them ?

The new Apple TV has received some disappointing remarks from commentators. In part this is due to its lack of direct support for iPhone-like apps or apparent inability to get rid of the tangle of boxes and wiring behind the TV. As well as not providing the one-TV-remote that does everything, and gets rid of the rest. But maybe these criticism are unfair and resulting from Apple's strategy having not fully emerged.

However, Apple may think their is no need for UI apps to run on the TV. Clearly, the TV is not going to support a touch-based interface. It is likely all the UI controls a TV requires can be better accomplished using an iPod, iPhone, or iPad. Consequently, the TV's UI could be provided by apps running on multiple mobile devices used around the home.

We can see this direction emerging with Apple's AirPlay which enables mobile devices to stream video and audio to any AirPlay connected devices, such as an Apple-TV connected TV. This is a bit like using an iPod touch to stream music to a Hi-Fi system connected using a wireless AirPort Express. The AirPort acts as a bridge between the Hi-Fi and the home network. The Apple-TV could be used like an AirPort Express for Video. The relatively low $99 cost and power requirement of the new Apple TV would fit with this operation.

The Apple TV web site shows how in the future an iPod can be used to switch its output from the mobile display to a wirelessly connected TV (see How it Works). Video could be discovered or organized with a mobile app, but ultimately viewed on the TV. Maybe we will soon see an update to the iPhone SDK to support an AirPlay icon and menu for switching video output to any connected TV. This would enable developers to better build "TV apps".

Video stored on an iPod could be streamed to the TV, but it is also likely the iPod could alternatively just send the storage location of the video to the TV, along with the play-back position. This would reduce network traffic. A mobile app may find or select a video for TV viewing, but it need not have to be actually stream to the TV. Once given the video's network address, the Apple TV alone could deal with the decoding and presentation.

Now consider the tangle of boxes and multiple remotes. One solution would be a relatively simple video receiver box with no remote controller or built-in TV UI. In effect, a NAS-like box (Network Attached Storage) sitting next to an Apple TV and network-wired to the Apple TV. The box could receive ATSC, DVB-t or cableCARD-type CA-protected broadcast video. The UI for accessing the video would be on the iPod or other Apple mobile device. It would be easy and network-efficent for the UI on the user's mobile device to have the video "sent" to the TV for display, as the video's network address is close (wired) to the TV.

Such a system would easily support video time shifting and TV access to any video reachable on the home network, such as video stored on a laptop computer. All the TV-remotes are gone, replaced by the iPod of the like. Missing from the story, is the ability to control the graphics engine inside the Apple-TV. AirPlay only provides a means of switching the location for video decode, there appears no means for a UI application to incorporate such things as graphics transition animation between video playback. But maybe that's a future Apple demo.

Daniel Mann