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Multi-Screen Interactive TV: SmartGlass is a Hint of What’s Coming (6/26 Update: Apple TV Cranks the Heat – New Demo Video)

June 6, 2012

Imagine watching a TV show/ movie/sporting event or playing a video game on your big screen TV while interacting with supplemental information like statistics, real-time banter with select Facebook pals, or alternative camera angles– all from your smart phone or tablet.    We like to call it ‘remote picture in a picture”.  And, oh yeah, your smartphone/tablet can also act as a TV remote allowing you to toggle views between screens.

While we have used dozens of apps that do bits and pieces of the scenario described above, nobody has come close to providing an integrated experience like what you will see in the video below recently released by Microsoft to demonstrate their new XBox SmartGlass platform.   The world of possibilities it depicts will be upon us next Fall.

Start watching a movie on your mobile device and you can pick up where you left off on your TV when you get home. SmartGlass also positions your tablet or handset as a supplemental screen, offering up contextual information for movies and games — play a game of Madden on your TV, and you can make plays on your tablet. And what of remote control and trackpad functionality? That’s all there, too. Oh, and Microsoft even briefly touched upon the feature’s ability to bring added social functionality to the experience.  -read more-

Update:  Some in the Wall Street analyst community feel SmartGlass will be the next big thing for Microsoft.  Check out this analyst piece Microsoft’s SmartGlass May Be New Gold Mine

In recent posts we have made the case for the impending collision between social/mobile/gaming and sports.   To date, we believe this video provides the best glimpse of where the puck is heading for sports and entertainment in general.

And it’s not just via the Xbox platform.  The wide array IPTV formats (Apple, Google, Roku and countless WIFI-ready options built into today’s TVs) combined with the growing frequency at which people are consuming TV with a second device in hand will change the way we consume TV-based content.   It will also  open a variety of new doors for New Market Entrepreneurs to provide fun and entertaining solutions that combine a unified multi-screen set of experiences.  (Update-the 6/10 Seeking Alpha analyst put’s it well):

To gain a bigger market share of the consumer’s leisure time living room entertainment, companies need media content of every source. Content is still king and Microsoft has already secured content agreements withNike, ESPN Sports, HBO, Netflix and the list continues to grow. People want choices and with the addition of second screen viewing, the consumer can be the king of what content they choose to experience as well as what controlling device with the free Xbox SmartGlass application.LaunchPad is involved doing just that in two sports-related social/mobile plays.

LaunchPad is involved doing just that in two sports-related social/mobile plays.   Be sure to check out our collection of great infographics on Social TV here.

Update 6/11:  This new study was published overnight by Comscore.   It provides compelling new data for the rate of multi-screen/device TV viewing.   Here is a handy summary of the major findings:

  • People who watch a network’s video online also spend 25 percent more time watching that network on their television sets.
  • TV networks, on average, are reaching more than a quarter of their total audiences via mobile or Internet media, and 11 percent are digital-only consumers.
  • Among news, sports and youth-oriented networks, up to 30 percent of the audience was reached through multiple devices during the five-week study.
  • 61 percent of consumers used the Internet at the same time as they watched TV at some point during the study. Nearly half of those used Facebook, specifically.

6/26 Update – Today brought some interesting news from the Apple TV front which we believe  is about to make this space even more interesting in the weeks to come.  Readers of Walter Issacson biography of the late Steve Jobs recall his sharing that Apple’s founding genius believed he had “cracked the code” on how to reinvent television.  We think elements of this vision are now forthcoming and perhaps a taste is in this piece, “As the battle for the living room heats up, Brightcove bets big on Apple TV“.   The post shares the observations of Jeremy Allaire, a New Market Entrepreneur Rock Star who is betting his video technology company Brightcove big on Apple TV.

Today Brightcove announced that its App Cloud platform will create a toolkit to focus on helping media companies create dual-screen apps: programs which use the iPhone or iPad as a remote control while streaming HD video to television sets through an Apple TV.

Brightcove built its business providing backend support for video content produced by big media and marketing clients. It was successful enough to IPO earlier this year, raising around $55 million in its public offering. But Alliare has his eye on that last bastion of old media, the television. “We’re talking about the biggest, best screen in the house. It’s time to re-imagine them as a rich computing service.”

This isn’t a pipe dream of some far off future: a recent survey found that 80 percent of Americans are multitasking on a smartphone or tablet while watching TV. “The iPad with Airplay changes all of that, by putting a powerful, intuitive remote into people’s hands,” says Alliare.

“The stuff I have heard about recently, what they are working on with Airplay, just makes my head spin,” said David Pakman, a venture capitalist with Venrock, who previously joined Apple in 1991 and went on to co-create the Apple Music Group in 1995. “With Airplay, all the pieces of the puzzle are in place in a way that simply isn’t true for any other big tech company.”

Check out this video and be blown away.  “I want my Dual-screen / SocialTV”!

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