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Top 5 Tech Articles You Might Have Missed – Week of Jan. 30

What good are your favorite TV shows, songs and photos if you can’t share them? Motorola Mobility’s Larry Robinson discusses how the company has opened the floodgates for content delivery and sharing.  He highlights the company’s efforts to transform DVR recording units into home video gateways, designed to stream content to other IP-connected devices in the home.

The way we consume content has certainly changed as we grow more and more attached to our second screens. In fact, survey results show that the average Super Bowl viewer will check their mobile device up to 10 times during the game and almost a third of viewers will have their devices in hand while they watch the big game! Specifically, advertisers are leveraging social media as an opportunity to advocate their brands and keep viewers engaged. The value of these channels can be seen in Facebook’s public filing this week as the company seeks to raise a whopping $5 billion. Do you plan on using Facebook or Twitter during the big game?

1. Motorola’s New Strategy Brings Content to your Tablet (Jan. 28) By Jillian, PadGadget: Motorola has the details on how they would change the face of DVRs by replacing those recording units with home video gateways designed to move content between all of your devices and technology (including gaming consoles, computers, tablets, smartphones or other set-top boxes).

2. Super Bowl Viewers Will Check Phones 10 Times During the Game (Feb. 1) By Sam Laird, Mashable: Nearly half of Super Bowl XLVI viewers will check their mobile device as many as 10 times during the game, and almost a third of viewers under age 45 will watch the game “with device in hand.”

3. Super Bowl advertisers seek buzz on social media (Jan. 29) By Yinka Adegoke, Reuters: In the age of Twitter and Facebook, many Super Bowl viewers will use the commercial breaks to go online and see what people are saying about the game. This year, advertisers want them to tweet about their favorite commercials as well.

4. Facebook Seeks to Raise Up to $5 Billion in Biggest Internet IPO on Record (Feb. 2) By Brian Womack, Bloomberg: Facebook Inc., the social-networking website that in eight years changed the way the world communicates, filed to raise $5 billion in the largest Internet initial public offering on record.

5. TV’s Next Target: 4K Displays (Jan. 30) By Todd Spangler, Multichannel News: The next big leap in high definition TV is so eerily realistic, watching it is almost like looking out a picture window.

Motorola Mobility Booth Photos @ CES 2012

Motorola Mobility is showcasing its lastest innovations in home and mobile devices at CES this week. Check out some photos from our booth below or, if you are at the show, stop by and see us in booth #8644.

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EastLink Brings All MPEG-4 HD Services to Consumers

Bandwidth intensive services like high-speed Internet, HDTV and 3DTV continue to put a heavy strain on networks.  That is no longer an issue for EastLink, Canada’s largest privately held Cable company, who will now be able to increase high definition (HD) services for its customers. EastLink will now incorporate MPEG-4 video compression technology in all of its broadcast and on-demand HD services.  This major step is a first in the industry and solves bandwidth requirements for EastLink, especially as more services migrate to HD and 3DTV. EastLink deployed the Motorola SE-6601 Encoder to offer MPEG-4 encoding along with two HD set-tops, the DCX3400-M and DCX700-M. These set-tops allow for the migration of HD broadcast and on-demand services to MPEG-4, again saving bandwidth without sacrificing the user experience or picture quality. 

The Motorola SE6000 line of Encoders includes our patented perceptual video processing technology that selectively attenuates details in an image, leading to improved compression efficiencies. Additionally, through integrating the Motorola CAP1000, EastLink can now benefit from more advanced capabilities like ad insertion, rate shaping and simultaneous channel substitutions.

The move to provide all HD services in MPEG-4 allows EastLink to free-up the bandwidth needed to easily support the first steps to IPTV delivery. Read more in today’s announcement.

Delayed gratification holding the industry back

One of the many dichotomies discussed at this years’ Connected Home Summit in London ran something along the lines of ‘why must consumers undergo a negative experience before they can experience a positive one?’ 

 Indeed, all too often, consumers have to go through the pain of setting up a complex pieceof new kit before they can begin to enjoy many of the life-enhancing qualities. When they spend a sizeable chunk of their salary on a HD, super-size flat screen TV, they have a right to expect that all they need to do is plug it in and switch it on when they get it home.

Competition in this industry may be fierce, but consideration must be given to the consumer who needs to master the new product before they can begin to enjoy it. The manufacturer with the most consumer-friendly out-of-the-box user experience will gain the most.

By the same token, service providers have to ensure the set-up user experience is simple and problem free for the subscriber, a task that is becoming more complex as TV goes beyond the set top to other devices connected over a home network.  The device that can be used with their service will be linked to their brand regardless of whether they have supplied them or not. Remote device management tools and customer self-help tools such as Motorola EDGE are a great help in improving the customer experience and reduce support costs. And there are cost savings too – for instance, user-friendly set top boxes that can be self-installed by the customer, represents massive savings in deployment costs for the service provider.

Until the industry as a whole takes this issue on board, companies that pass on that complexity are delaying gratification not only for the consumer, but for themselves,too.

True to form

The growth in smartphones and tablets are fuelling demand for remote access to managed services in the home, according to Motorola’s Andy Hooper speaking at the TEN Digital Home event last month. 

Why? As service providers look for ways to add value and differentiate, a number of them are laying the foundations for home monitoring and control services – but need a device such as a smartphone or a tablet to act as the consumer’s point of control.

Although the jury’s still out in terms of which will be the best form factor, the number of smartphone owners is steadily increasing. Huge numbers of consumers now own a smartphone, whilst tablets are gaining in popularity. Although larger than the smartphone form factor, tablets offer a larger, easier to use screen while still having the advantages of being compact, lightweight, and portable.

Pay TV service providers have been quick to take advantage of their popularity and their form factor, and are now using tablet devices for  companion services such as social TV and enhanced EPGs which enhance the TV experience. Some are offering tablets as an incentive to join their service or lock the subscriber in for longer. Using a tablet as an incentive also increases the service provider’s chances of increasing subscriptions to other services they might offer, such as VOD. It’s a win-win situation.

Industry leaders discuss multi-screen TV and more in CSI Mag videos

CSI Magazine recently hosted an interesting roundtable discussion highlighting the latest developments in multi-screen TV, digital rights management and the opportunities and challenges presented by this changing landscape, particularly in the European market. 

Motorola Mobility’s Andy Hooper, director of converged experiences and software in EMEA, participated in the discussion and brought a technology provider perspective to the table.  He said, “Motorola very much wants to be a leader in this regard in terms of helping [cable operators and service providers] innovate around key processes and pieces of the puzzle and then build those together… to help deliver new and interesting services to subscribers.”    

Check out the conversation in this series of videos posted from the discussion and let us know what you think.  Do you agree with some of the challenges and opportunities that the participants discussed?  What did they miss?   

http://www.csimagazine.com/csi/video-vault.php

IMG 1.9 Sneaks Out – Let the Guide Wars Commence

Verizon threw down the gauntlet early on with its FiOS IMG guide interface and features like TV widgets, a decent search function, and VOD cover art. However, the guide has always had certain shortcomings – like no HD display – and cable companies have started to roll out their own improvements to compete with the FiOS threat. Now Verizon is moving to the next level. In a “sneak peak” program, the telco has started selectively pushing out IMG 1.9 to Verizon community forum members in New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.

New features in the 1.9 release include an “expanded TV listings guide, improved graphics, and new functionality in DVR and parental controls settings.” The “improved graphics” part refers to the long-awaited 16:9 HD display as well as updated image art across menus and specifically in the VOD library. Reports are also coming in from the DSLReports forums that the eSata port is now open on the Motorola QIP7200 set-tops. And, near and dear to my heart, the multi-room DVR service (Home Media DVR) now lets subscribers manage and record shows from any set-top in the home, creating a single virtual library across both set-tops and external hard drives.

Electronic program guides have always been a major point of contention among operators, and a major pain point among consumers. Expect the wars to heat up in 2011, however. Between new IP-based guides and regulatory wrangling over who controls the interface when new CE devices have broader access to pay-TV services, the EPG is likely to be in the spotlight for the industry next year.