Wednesday, December 05, 2007

TV & Video In The Palm Of One's Hand

Nokia N95 multimedia computer/smartphone with a satellite or cable signal playing on the handset. Image Credit: Sling Media, Nokia, Vipul Mehrotra

TV & Video In The Palm Of One's Hand

Last week, Symblogogy was able to attend a very specialized conference held in San Diego, produced by the prestigious international technology advocacy group, Informa.

This definition from the Informa website –

Informa plc is the leading provider of specialist information to the global academic & scientific, professional and commercial communities via publishing, events and performance improvement.

Choose from over 10,000
events and training courses, 40,000 book titles, over 2,000 subscription-based services including academic journals, magazines, newsletters, real-time information and news services, unparalleled performance improvement solutions, hundreds of exceptional brands and 70 countries.
Reference Here>>

Handsets Forum USA held in San Diego coordinated by Gavin Whitechurch & Laura Black of Informa plc. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks

The conference, Handsets Forum USA, was attended by professionals from the mobile phone industry and covered virtually every aspect associated with the business of providing cellular phone solutions to the North American marketplace.

Some of the more interesting subjects addressed packaging and distribution, manufacturing and technology nuances, niche marketing in a perceived homogeneous environment, “The Value Tree”, security vulnerabilities, closed vs open source program solutions, successes, and failures.

In one conference module presented by Nokia’s Director, Business Development – Convergence Customer and Market Operations, Vipul Mehrotra, discussed the concept of “Quad Play”. Through the presentation, he illustrated how one would be able to take advantage of technologies that exist today, throughout the day through a smartphone handset.

Image Credit: Nokia, Vipul Mehrotra

In a Quad Play world, one would be able to utilize the handset in many different and functional ways making this small tool valuable beyond just the cellphone it represents. Move content from DVR to mobile, grab the latest song from the net, utilize it as a dataport away from the home or for work, initiate VOIP (voice over internet protocol) phone call at hotspots, share photo images in many applications for personal and professional purposes, and the most interesting demonstration – video broadcast delivered to the handset directly from the cable or satellite service one already gets at one's home!

Image Credit: Nokia, Vipul Mehrotra

Vipul showed how he was able to retrieve content being broadcast and delivered to his home address in the Dallas metro area to his handset in San Diego. He hooked up his Nokia N95 smartphone handset to an overhead projector and reached out to a Slingbox device located next to his television set. By having the Slingbox connected to his Satellite feed and broadband DSL connection, he was able to address the Slingbox via TCPIP and further, give it channel commands and display the content that was being delivered to his home on that specific channel. In the demo, he was first able to show Drew Carey hosting “The Price Is Right” and then he punched in the channel code for CNN Headline News. Simply fascinating … web, and cell, TV in the palm of one's hand.

What makes this concept economically feasible today, of course, is a phone plan that allows unlimited minutes or what is commonly termed an “all-you-can-eat” plan. So this concept is do able and accessible by most consumers with a typical smartphone handset.

Slingbox Family - Slingbox SOLO, Slingbox PRO, Slingbox AV - Image Credit: Sling Media

Related news excerpted from CNET -

Tech innovation in 2008
By CNET staff - December 1, 2007

Technology luminaries, analysts, and other experts tend not to be shy about predicting what might be the bust-out developments in their respective fields. CNET reporters asked several sources what they thought would be among the most important innovations in 2008 in their areas of expertise. Some, naturally, referred to their own projects, some to technologies and trends likely to emerge in the marketplace, and trends that have already gathered steam and are likely to grow in prominence. All responded thoughtfully. Here are some of their insights on topics such as automotive technology, broadband services, games, "green" transportation, Internet search, microprocessors, open-source software, photography, privacy and surveillance, security, enterprise software, and wireless technology.

While there's plenty of video accessible on the Internet, there isn't much commercial video available online. The dearth of such programming has been cited as one of the reasons products such as Apple TV, which allows you to play Internet video on your big-screen TV, have not really caught on. Internet communications pundit and VoIP industry pioneer Jeff Pulver says he aims to help change that in 2008 by launching an Internet TV service called pulverTV 24/7, which, as Pulver notes on his Web site, will produce its own programming in the spirit of "the early days of broadcast TV from the 1950s." Beyond his own project, Pulver said he expects 2008 to see the emergence of other Internet TV channels and more online delivery of video content from major media companies--plus "the first weekend premiere of major movies both in the movie theaters as well in our broadband home theaters." Next year, he adds, also will be a "breakout" year for Internet-video advertising.

Competition in 2008
between the phone and cable companies, meanwhile, will precipitate "the biggest war over customers we have ever seen," says Jeff Kagan, a wireless- and telecommunications-industry analyst based in Atlanta. Faced with slowing rates of subscriber growth, the phone and cable carriers will bundle their services -- voice, video, Internet access, and even wireless -- as attractively as possible to win customers

The most innovative product of 2008 could be one announced this year--the Amazon Kindle -- according to another game-changing gadget maker, Blake Krikorian, chief executive of Sling Media, which created the Slingbox. "The Amazon Kindle will be the first successful e-book after dozens of attempts by other companies over the past two decades." Although many companies have attempted to develop electronic books offering the right combination of features and reliability, none found wide acceptance with mainstream consumers. Krikorian blames that on "a poor user interface, lack of content, or buggy software." But's first go at making its own gadget gets the formula right, he argues. "I think this is the first e-book solution to deliver on the promise. It has a great user interface, an impressive catalog of content, and a service that 'just works.'"
Reference Here>>

At Symblogogy, we look at these two categories highlighted by CNET and wonder – Why is the CEO of Slingbox talking about Kindle when, in the previous section of 2008 technology projections under "Broadband", the smartphone/cellphone combined with his company’s brilliant interface device, one can deliver their own cable or satellite television service to their handset? Just asking.

Slingbox SOLO Back Panel - Image Credit: Sling Media

Heck, with very little set-up and tweaking, one can deliver video images from a camera mounted over one's front door directly to the handset giving the average consumer the same capability of a security professional at any major casino property … discrete camera video broadcast directly into one's hand!

All this takes (along with a cable/satellite service and a remote security camera) is a smartphone handset and a Slingbox hooked up to a DSL line!


Next month, Informa will be sponsoring a conference in the Bay Area entitled Mobile Web 2.0 and if it features the quality and calibre of conference participation that the Hnadsets Forum USA experienced, this event will be a “must attend” for anyone interested in exploring mobile applications.

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