This streaming TV platform will force you to bin your PVR
You won't have heard of Perception before. And you probably won't in future either. Yet you will likely use it and love it.
Perception from Vision247, you see, is television streaming platform that is being offered to mobile operators and other television delivery companies that are interested in pushing TV content over the internet.
It is fairly platform agnostic in that operators who adopt the tech can decide which way they want to deliver the service. Pocket-lint had an exhaustive demo of the iPad app at the Pocket-lint Tech Tavern in London, but the service is equally at home on a smart TV, set-top-box, Android device or Windows Phone handset.
The iPad application offered perhaps the best representation of Perception's capabilities though, as the user interface is more intuitive and has more options, say, than a smart TV app that needs to be controlled through a conventional remote.
Touch controls, the ability to expand and constrict the EPG through finger movements, those kind of things made a difference for us. And we were suitably impressed.
The Perception platform effectively offers all television stations - or whatever ones the operator has licence to use - as live streams that you can access instantly over Wi-Fi or 4G data. Plus, through cloud personal video recording, a user can record shows to watch later, but stored remotely rather than on the device itself.
On demand content can also be accessed through the platform, which includes the purchase of the latest movies through a metadata-rich hub that is still part of the overall experience. In short, even when on the bus, a user can watch live, record, playback, or even buy video. And it's all done in a seamless experience.
Currently, there are no partners in the UK, although Vision247 is in talks with several operators. Licensing, therefore, was not in place for the content we saw and that was clearly marked on the screen. It was test footage for what might be possible over here.
It is currently being used by T2 in Slovenia and several other partners worldwide. But Pocket-lint was told that positive meetings with UK networks and a major television service provider have already taken place.
There are many cool features, including record functionality, which stores all recordings in the cloud on a personal server - the size of which determined by the operator. For example, the version we saw tested offered 30GB, but there could be several different payment tiers for different amounts of storage.
Plus, thanks to the company's rich metadata and hosting talents, certain shows can offer a more interactive stream on those recordings than you would get with a conventional PVR. We were shown one example, of a recording of one of the World Cup matches, which had jump points on the time stream bar at the bottom of the feed. These represented significant moments during the match, including a goal, sending off, etc. Tap on these and the action starts at that point.
There are plenty of other features too, but each really depends on which manufacturer or operator takes it on. We certainly hope a UK firm takes the plunge and manages to sort the licences required to feed the Freeview channels at least. The platform is easily good enough to encourage us to ditch our stationary hard drive based PVRs, we just need it to be adopted.