MESA at CES: TiVo Touts Metadata, Technicolor’s Big Win

LAS VEGAS — Where to start with TiVo at the Consumer Electronics Show?

A long-term, intellectual property (IP) license agreement with HBO, with the Time Warner-owned programmer acquiring TiVo patent portfolios and the over-the-top assets was a great way to kick things off.

There was the launch of TiVo’s new Audience Management Platform (AMP), data-agnostic platform which offers optimized audience targeting and data-driven TV services. That service is geared toward media planners and service providers, helping them increase profitability using data-driven audience targeting and better ad inventory usage.

Or you could put the launch of SongConnect up top. That music metadata service works via a unique TiVo song ID, allowing providers to collect together alternate versions of any song, covering live, studio, acoustic and remixes.

And, by the way, TiVo shared that its CubiTV hybrid TV solution was picked up by Reliance Jio Media Pvt. Ltd (RJMPL), powering that company’s advanced HD and 4K set-top box platforms. Product will include access to linear TV with PVR, VOD and network PVR, along with access to OTT services.

Kathy Weidman, SVP and GM of metadata for TiVo, chuckled a bit when asked about the sheer amount of announcements at the show, and while all are big for the company following its name change from Rovi, she’s partial to the SongConnect news, because that shows the power of metadata.

“It’s only the start,” she told MESA. “We’re going to be able to do a lot of different things using that concept, improving the viewer experience, and we’ve been working on it for a very long time. It’s a signpost for us, and stay tuned for more.

“The TiVo acquisition has been very good for us, and now we’re seeing first-hand the direct-to-consumer capabilities the company can offer.”

As for the Blu-ray Disc Association at CES, it was all about the numbers: 110 Ultra High-Def titles were released in 2016, 250 more are expected in 2017, roughly 300,000 standalone UHD Blu-ray players were sold in 2016, and now, with seven device manufacturers (LG, Microsoft, Oppo, Panasonic, Philips-Funai, Samsung and Sony) that number is set to explode in 2017.

“The launch of the Ultra HD Blu-ray format last year was successful beyond expectations, with consumers buying discs faster than they did when the original format was introduced a decade ago,” said Victor Matsuda, chair of the Blu-ray Disc Association’s global promotions committee.

“Consumers who have made the jump to Ultra HD, and in particular Ultra HD Blu-ray, are seeing that Ultra HD is about much more than just 4K resolution. For those considering an upgrade to UHD, these new materials will help to reinforce the format’s many benefits, especially HDR and color spectrum.”

img_0099 Working with DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the BDA unveiled at CES a new suite of informational tools to highlight and demonstrate the benefits of UHD TVs and programming, including a new brochure with simple explanations of UHD benefits, as well as a new “sizzle reel” (produced in 4K and HDR) that features studio home entertainment presidents relaying the benefits of the format.

“We are impressed with consumers’ enthusiastic reaction and adoption of 4K Ultra HD products,” said DEG president Amy Jo Smith. “Ultra HD provides an immersive experience for movie lovers that they can only get from the premium content available on 4K Ultra HD discs and played on the new displays and Ultra HD devices. This is truly an exciting time for bringing a whole new way of enjoying movies in the home.”

For Technicolor, the major CES news was that it was chosen to produce the hardware for Dish’s new cord-cutting brand AirTV, an Android-based streaming and over-the-air channel device, with built-in WiFi. When used with an AirTV adapter and an OTA antenna, viewers can access pretty much any service they’re looking for, including the Sling TV OTT video platform and more than 2,000 games and apps via the Google Play Store.

Technicolor held a private sit-down with several analysts and MESA, to discuss the implications of AirTV on the industry, and how Technicolor fits in, with Diego Gastaldi, SVP of business development for Technicolor’s Connected Home North America division, saying the 2015 acquisition of Cisco Connected Devices playing a major role.

“It made us a leader in the connected device category, and it was easier for us to roll [the AirTV] product out,” he said.

Gary Gutknecht, SVP of broadband and video solutions for Technicolor, said discussion with Dish had been going on for a long time before the AirTV solution was announced, but when they dig pull the trigger on it, Technicolor’s ramp-up time would once have been surprising. “In a traditional network product space, that’s a very quick launch,” he said.

Mitch Weinraub, director of product development for AirTV, said Dish launched AirTV to provide a simpler entertainment experience for consumers, and Technicolor was the best choice to make the hardware happen, with the company manufacturing more than 30 million devices in the video delivery space each year.

“Technicolor delivered a superb 4K Android TV streaming device that unifies the viewing experience across live and on demand services with access to thousands of entertainment choices in the Google Play Store,” he said.

Meanwhile, information tech, consulting and business services company Wipro scored a major win during CES, with the announcement that its digital TV middleware solution would be used to power the 4K TV sets for Hisense in Japan.

“We are delighted to partner with Hisense in the launch of their 4K TV products in Japan,” said Anita Ganti, SVP and global head of product engineering services for Wipro. “The successful deployment is a testament to the best-in-class quality of our digital TV middleware solutions and reinforces our commitment to become a partner of choice for the global media industry.”

Wipro’s been handling digital TV middleware solutions for TVs and set-tops for 15 years running, covered a host of services, including ATSC, DVB, ISDB and other interactive standards. This time around, Hisense tapped the company for its work on ISDB-T/S broadcast and HD-PVR, with the solution being compliant with those standards.

Wipro’s solution also enables other Smart TV features, including hybrid multi-tuner, antenna diversity, one and full segment services and more.