Thursday, December 15, 2011

Synchronizing the SecondScreen beyond Audio into the OTT app environment

I know most of us have discussed the coming evolution of this space many times, but it is great to see a milestone achieved in the marketplace.  The SecondScreen landscape is littered with attempts at providing a Stimulating experience--some much better than others.  There are a few efforts going on to create an exhaustive database of audio fingerprints and/or watermarks so that various audio syncing technologies can determine not only which show you are watching, but at what point you are in the show (the time code).  Once you know this, you can use scene level meta data (a subject for a different blog) to create a real Stimulating SecondScreen experience.

However, you can create a much better experience by being able to control the entire video environment--then you can fully know where the consumer is at any given second of the video.  There are 2 main stream opportunities in today's world to accomplish this.  The first is the Blu-ray environment: BD Live along with wi-fi syncing technology can allow the application develop to truly know exactly where the user is no matter how many times he/she moves around--in fact, you can use the experience to control the Blu-ray player.  The second opportunity exists with OTT video apps.  Think about Vudu, Netflix, Hulu, Boxee, etc, etc.  Because that application is serving up the video stream and managing the buffering and the trick play directly, it by definition knows which timecode the consumer is on all of the time.  Now it just needs to be married up with some great scene level contextual meta data and have communication to a compatible app on another device (your SecondScreen).

The article linked here is about the testing that capability on Boxee with Miso in a private Beta. Take this a step further.  Google TV claims they will allow third party apps to work in the background and that they will publish the APIs and push the resulting meta data back out to communicating apps--meaning they will create a potential SecondScreen ecosystem.  The more powerful and the 3rd way to make this synchronization happen is discussed at the end of the article.  The real holy grail is syncing directly into the Cable or Telco Set Top Box--then instead of accessing a small world of early adopters, you can actually start to penetrate main stream consumers with tablets and smart phones in 85m+ homes in the US alone.  If you can marry that up with engaging consumer experiences as a result--you have a powerful opportunity on your hands (whether for videophiles, commerce opportunities, or advertising).  WOW.

Miso Sync: A Second Screen Experiment Using Android & Boxee [EXCLUSIVE]

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