Category Archives: Partnerships

Bhaalu Shows at SITEX 2013 Singapore

sitex-2013Special thanks to Amconics Singapore for displaying to their customers, a sneak preview of bhaalu at the Sitex 2013 Expo event in Singapore this past weekend. Amconics knows the future of television, and can see the potential of bhaalu as a universal set top box in Singapore.

The event was crowded as usual, and interest was strong for Singapore’s newest television platform bhaalu.

Bhaalu Displays at Sitex 2013 Event in Singapore from Jeff Bhaalu on Vimeo.

Amconics Technology Pte Ltd was established in 1987 as an IT manufacturer and distributor. Then in 1999, embarked on a new product line, namely, digital cameras and web cams. In 2002 and 2003, their product lines were further increased to distribute Internet Phones and Electronic Dictionaries. Currently, they specialize in Home Entertainment Portals, Home Media Hubs and Alternative Television Platforms in Singapore.

Singapore Hotel Television Solution at-visions

Last year, the German company at-visions sparked a deal with Singtel for its ONEvision suite of services, to sell television solutions to hotels throughout Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. SingTel Group is Asia’s leading communications firm with operations and investments in more than 20 countries.

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According to the press release posted at the at-visions website:

With the partnership, at-visions and SingTel hope to bring even greater synergy to the hospitality markets that they both serve. This partnership will translate into greater value and savings for its customers. And we would offer greater variety and integration of content, especially for hotels in the (Singapore) market.

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How has this partnership manifested?

We had the chance to utilize the hotel TV product in one particular Singapore venue, and found that, the product platform hardware is actually from a company called Pivos, located in Fremont California. Specifically, the product platform is an IPTV set top box called the Pivos XIOS DS Media Play, which is essentially an android app device.

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The Gadgeteer wrote a good comprehensive review of the Pivos XIOS DS Media Play after having put it through the wringer for over a month. In summary, they conclude the following:

If you’re looking for something to play your media on a TV, there are better  options available.  We’ve reviewed several here at The Gadgeteer.    This box is not for the technically challenged and is definitely not  plug-and-play.  However, there may be a market for the DS  Media Player.  The device could be a platform for techies that want to  experiment with Android in a box, and it can be used as an XBMC device by  downloading the Linux XBMC firmware.  Just be prepared to spend a lot of  time on the vendor’s forums and website.

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The remote control however is from at-visions, and while it is a sleek, elegant, precision engineered, finely crafted remote. It is however a bit complex, with many buttons that don’t function (or are not activated). It is also not easy to know what buttons you are pushing in the dark, and unable to read the labels.
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The channel content changed in just the five days we test drove device. Currently, the channels available are 6 MediaCorp FTA channels: Ch 8, CNA, Okto, Ch U, Suria, and Vasantham, and also 3 sports channels Fox Sports, Mio Stadium and Star Sports.

However, three days ago, it also contained MediaCorp Channel 5, Asia Travel Channel and Bloomberg. All 3 of those channels just vanished a couple days ago.

The picture quality is good, but often “jumpy”, like as though it is skipping an occasional few frames. There is a long delay between switching channels, perhaps 4 seconds on average. And on occasion, the picture freezes, requiring the box to be rebooted. But this is not clear if it’s a problem with the box, or the internet connectivity, I suppose the latter.

Yahoo Screen Mobile Application

Re-imagining Video For Mobile with Yahoo Screen

Yahoo launched a new mobile application called “Yahoo Screen,” which runs on Apple iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The Yahoo Screen app will become Yahoo’s media content portal, offering a simple, swipeable user interface for browsing through the video channels.

yahoo-screenThe Yahoo Screen app allows users to browse through trending video clips, granular searches for specific programs, and includes gesture-based navigational controls – for example, swiping left and right skips between the episodes, while swiping up and down flips through channels.

The idea, the company explains, is to re-create the feeling of channel surfing on the TV on mobile. The navigation controls are on the left side of the screen, where you can scroll up and down through the available content channels, tap a search button, or access a side bar where you can navigate in between other Yahoo apps like Mail, Flickr, Fantasy Sports, and more.

To kick things off, Yahoo Screen has announced a deal with Viacom to offer clips from some of Comedy Central’s best shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. Along with an exclusive digital clip archive of Saturday Night Live, Yahoo Screen offers access to a lot of comedy video content.

More information from Techcrunch and Yahoo.

TWC TV App for Xbox Live Now Available

Xbox-360-TWC-TV-app-640x393Time Warner Cable TV’s application for Xbox live is now downloadable at the Xbox Live Marketplace. Microsoft and Time Warner Cable’s partnership is critical in positioning the Xbox 360 as a one-stop solution for streaming TV and movies.

The TWC TV app will allow users to access up to 300 TV channels, including AMC, BBC World News, Bravo, the Cartoon Network, CNN, Comedy Central and the Food Network, depending on their specific subscription. It also enables users to navigate through TV shows, music and movies using voice and gesture control through the Kinect peripheral.

Xbox 360 owners already have access to apps from content providers including Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video, as well as streaming live TV through networks like HBO GO, Fox News, NBC News, MTV and Nickelodeon.

Full story at Techcrunch.

LG’s Smart TV Interactivity

cognitive-logo-homeLG just announced that it will partner with Cognitive Networks to bring smart television interaction to LG’s 2012 and 2013 smart TVs, enabling advertisers and content owners to “enhance” shows and ads with interactive features.

Cognitive Networks uses automatic content recognition (ACR) to determine what viewers are watching and then to serve up dynamic and interactive ads and other content relevant to what is happening on the TV screen.

Right now Smart TVs do not know what content they are displaying. Right now Broadcasters do not know which TVs are displaying their content. Our core technology enables Smart TVs to become content aware. Our platform creates a network of Broadcasters that know which TVs are displaying their content. We are Cognitive Networks.

Cognitive Networks has also announced its Engage Enhanced TV platform, which partners will use to build interactive features. The platform enables viewers to see multimedia content during shows, participate in polls, and make purchases directly from the TV.

More information about this story.

Asia-Pacific Satellite Industry Committee

images (2)The CASBAA Satellite Industry Forum takes place every year, and was held this year on 17th June at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore.  The theme of this year’s forum was “An Industry in Transition,” highlighting the growth of the industry in the Asia-Pacific region.  Fittingly, the opening speaker at the forum was Gwynne Shotwell, president of satellite company and new CASBAA member SpaceX.

Many topics were explored this year, among which were the industry’s huge rise in competition (and, thus, drop in prices), different aspects of and bodies involved in regulation, and talk of new satellite technologies.  Discussions were mostly geared toward managing these aspects in order to secure future success for the industry.

CASBAA’s press release for the forum quotes Paul Brown-Kenyon, CEO of MEASAT and Chairman of CASBAA’s Satellite Industry Committee:

“The future is…different. It’s going to be an exciting future – lots of innovation, lots of change…but the key thing is it’s uncertain. The trick is to figure out how to deal with that uncertainty – how to build in the flexibility, to evolve and capture the growth. It is going to come in interesting areas.”

With over 70 satellites hovering over the Asia-Pacific region operated by more than 20 providers, those “interesting areas” could be isolated to companies that differentiate themselves from others.  The market is beginning to look more and more monotonous, so a breakthrough service or idea is certainly at the forefront of all companies’ minds.

CASBAA Adds 7 New Members

CasbaaThe Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA), the lobbying body for multichannel TV across the Asia-Pacific region, has added 7 corporate members, bringing the total membership to 130.  These new additions, including companies headquartered in places like Mexico (Grupo Televisa) and Germany (SmartCast), illustrate just how widespread and diverse the TV industry has become.  Also among the new additions was SpaceX, a California-based company that develops and launches rockets and is currently executing a US$1.6B (S$2B) contract with NASA.

The new member corporations will only add to CASBAA’s claim of over 445 million connections within the TV industry.  Every connection serves to raise the already high influence the association has throughout Asia, which CASBAA has been striving to do ever since its inception in 1991:

“… within a footprint spanning China to Australia and Japan to Pakistan, CASBAA works to be the authoritative voice for multichannel TV promoting even handed and market friendly regulation, IP protection and revenue growth for subscriptions and advertising.”

CASBAA also bolstered its Asia-based membership with Hong Kong law firm Haldanes, information services provider Media Partners Asia (MPA), and online Software as a Service (SaaS) platform Movideo (the largest of its kind in Asia).

With older members such as Sony Pictures, Disney and BBC (to name a few), CASBAA has already established itself within the content production community.  Its new members, however, represent the association’s ongoing desire to have lobbying power from every facet of the broadcasting community.

See full article at bloomberg.com

TV Features for Xbox One

xbox-one-tvIt is no secret that Microsoft is looking to make a big move into the TV video content market with its new Xbox One gaming console.  Leading up to its US release date later this year, the company has hinted that the console’s new TV capabilities will potentially be a big step toward Microsoft’s takeover of living room media. Why? Paul Sweeting breaks down Xbox One’s new TV features:

The Xbox One is designed to support a TV content ecosystem…

  • Rather than spending its money to license non-exclusive linear distribution rights, Microsoft is investing in creating exclusive original TV content directly for the Xbox Live platform.
  • Microsoft is co-opting the incumbent pay-TV service providers rather than disrupting or displacing them from the living room; Xbox One’s HDMI pass-through technology is a compromise that spares it the need to negotiate individual agreements with service providers and avoids antagonizing them.

Microsoft officials have already met with big studios, such as CBS and Sony TV, to probe the idea of creating content exclusive to the Xbox video platform, Xbox Live.  However, they would be well-served to proceed with caution in that endeavour, as the cost-effectiveness of exclusive OTT content has yet to be proven.

Whether or not Microsoft will pursue localized TV partnerships to accompany Xbox One’s Asian release (said to be in late 2014) still remains to be seen.  Conventional wisdom says that the company won’t put too much effort into it, as the total number of pay TV subscribers in the US is double that of Asia’s top two – Japan and South Korea – combined.