Technicolor believes it’s found the answer we’ve all been searching for over the past year, in terms of figuring out what a tablet should be used for in the home.
“MediaNavi was developed to bring the real service power of networks to devices such as tablets, set-top boxes, and mobile device enabling consumers to discover new content, share their discovery with their social network and consume content in a rich and immersive manner”, says Frederic Rose, the CEO of Technicolor at CES in Las Vegas.
If the name Technicolor sounds familiar, it’s because it's the same company that’s been processing Hollywood movies since 1914, but rather than simply making movies look good, for the 21st century the company wants to help you share them as well.
Its premise, as Marc Beckwitt, vice president of Strategic Partnerships at Technicolor tells Pocket-lint, is to allow:
“Simple, seamless, and social interaction with the user”.
To achieve that Beckwitt says Technicolor is working on an app for iOS, Android, Win CE and webOS platforms that will turn your tablet - whether it’s made by Motorola, HP or Apple - into a companion device for your TV as long as your set-top box is in on the game.
To get the ball rolling Technicolor is partnering with Talk Talk in the UK to trial the MediaNavi user experience as a “personalized and enriched second screen video experience”, it says. The two companies are working together on the future integration of MediaNavi into TalkTalk’s set-top-boxes and Beckwitt tells us that if trials in the spring are successful it should be making its way into homes before Christmas.
Great, but what does “simple, seamless, and social” actually mean? Beckwitt explains further:
“You pick up your tablet with the app, the camera on the tablet recognises you, logs you in, and automatically tells you what’s on television right now and what you might like to watch”.
MediaNavi as the name suggests is basically an enhanced remote control that, rather than just allowing you to change channel, lets you navigate your media whether it’s stored locally on your set-top box or on the web using a service like the BBC iPlayer, without you having to worry about where the content is coming from.
Instead of actively asking what’s on YouTube for example, the content would be there automatically either recommended to you via a range of cues from metadata based on content you’ve already watched, or suggestions from your friends or television stations.
“There are a number of different areas in the app; the Library that lists your stored content, Live Guide that shows you what’s on now, Editorial that’s recommendations from television stations, Recommendations from friends, as well as, social network connectivity like Twitter and Facebook”, says Beckwitt.
In an attempt to be more than just an electronic programme guide as found on the Sky iPad app in the UK, MediaNavi will allow you to control your television, share content with your TV by flicking it from the tablet to your TV screen for viewing, as well as, offering the chance to get additional information on the shows you are watching.
That means getting BD Live content, that’s either in Flash or HTML5, to go with the film to create a synchronised experience, be it voice overs, educational pop ups or something else.
You’ll also be able to look up an IMDB style database so you can see whom a certain actor or actress is, then look up other films they are in, before seeing if they are available to watch.
“If they are, it’s simply a case of pressing play”, says Beckwitt demoing the system to Pocket-lint.
It’s all about empowering the user without taking up the main screen in the living room, Beckwitt explains, echoing comments from other manufacturers at the show like Panasonic and its Panasonic Viera Tablet that acts in a very similar way for users who’ve also got a Panasonic television.
The difference here however, is that if you’ve already got a tablet and are already a subscriber to the set-top box provider (in this case TalkTalk) all you’ll need to do is download an app to get the system working rather than buy into a new tablet.
Technicolor wouldn’t say if they were working with other parties outside of the UK. We suspect however, that the MediaNavi has its eyes set on bigger things than just being built for one company in one country.