#TVOT10 Platform Smackdown

04Mar10

TV of Tomorrow has to be one of the most productive industry shows around.  Not only was the staging cinematically breathtaking but there was as much drama offstage in the dealmaking.  If I wasn’t assigned to do ten SXSW band interviews for Spinner over the next few days I could easily post nine thousand words on the gems that were shared.

What I can post quickly is that there are many new video platforms becoming available to the consumer and opening to the indie producer.  Verizon FiOS has a secret weapon in their new platform evangelist Maitreyi Krishnaswamy who is aggressively reaching out to coders to come and play in the FiOS sandbox.   They’re looking for games and video app submissions and going for quality having certified 25 apps in the last four months.  Watch for a developer challenge this summer. SDK at code.verizon.com.

In the OTT arena, Boxee, Syabas, Roku, Sezmi, Yahoo! Connected TV, TiVo, ActiveVideo, Miniweb and ZeeVee also took the stage.  Boxee with its open SDK (developer.boxee.tv), 300+ apps, 1mm+ downloads, rabid fan base, and star CEO was a main attraction talking about payments platform and D-link box (out soon at $199).   As Avner headed off to wrestle Mark Cuban at SXSW, he laughed at the packed cable crowd – the DVR is dead, forget timeshifting, the audience has spoken.

Syabas with 300,000 HD boxes sold at $129-149  is about to release Popbox a close competitor to Boxee in interface.  Eventhough Boxee swept all of the awards at CES including Last Gadget Standing and Best of Show, Popbox has a particularly strong showing with much interest from the press.  A great platform for both games and video, their SDK is at http://popbox.com/#/develop.  Current partners include blip, CCTV, Clicker, Crunchyroll, Eyecon, FrameChannel, FunSpot, IMdB, Livestation, MalaysiaKini, Mediafly, Metachannels, Netflix, NextNewNetworks, Photobucket, PicoChannel, Revision3, SHOUTcast, Swarmcast, Twitter, Twonky, Tinpot, WeatherBug with more partners to be announed at their party at SXSW on Su 3/14 at Speakeasy.  Party details here:  http://popboxsxsw.eventbrite.com/

Sezmi has finished it’s pilot in LA and is getting ready for a rollout across the US. Yippee! for San Francisco, finally an alternative to Comcast for the cord-cutters. The box will retail for $299 and service will begin at $5/month for broadcast, cable and broadband content plus 1TB DVR.  Watch for a launch event later this Spring.  More at www.sezmi.com.

Panasonic proudly stated that Vieracast was seeking exclusive content (only) for its walled garden.  Most web TV producers are being relegated to the YouTube app. That said, the apps that do get through are experiencing a competitive 2 month turnaround and Vieracast now boasts a very cool Skype app that allows free videoconferencing from the sofa with anyone around the world.

The basic message coming from most of the speakers was that the consumer hates the current experience of lousy UI and miserable navigation and that change is coming one way or the other even if in the end we’re back on the tv with a hybrid solution.

Twitter also showed up to talk about their power to flock an audience.  And there was much talk about the consumer’s willingness to pay for communication.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the iVideo talk where panelists demoed their solutions for buying Jennifer Aniston’s sweater.  VideoClix (Revision3’s vendor), ConciseClickKlickable.TV, Veeple, Clikthrough, evenhere, and Tremor Media.  The panel also included Michael Fink, inventor of YouTube annotations and video annotation star Rob Polonsky of Interactive Adventures with ChadMattandRob.com.  They had a crowd swarm them afterward.  In the audience QVC, HBO, Turner and others in town to hear more about Canoe’s EBIF initiative tomorrow.

Lastly, there were many governors from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences present (Brian Seth Hurst, Opportunity Management, Lori Schwartz IPG, Geoff Katz, Transpond and others) recruiting Interactive Media Peer Group members and submissions for the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards which will air on ABC Sunday, 8/29.  Deadline for submissions Friday, 4/30.   Details at www.emmys.tv/interactive.

Tracy Swedlow will have soon have the video from the conference up at www.itvt.com.  Well worth watching.  And kudos to @PamKulik, @GOK8 and others who did a great job getting tweets out while most of us on iPhone could not.  (Seems Sprint works in YBCA) You can follow the conversation for the last two days as well as all things EBIF tomorrow at #TVOT10.

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