Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Next-Generation Online Video Player Applications

My recent independent consulting efforts have been focused partly on the research and development of new and emerging media applications -- with multiplatform transmedia projects in particular. The discovery of creative new forms of visual entertainment has been a focal point of my work in this area.

Moreover, experimenting with consumer electronics (CE) devices that facilitate increased consumption of online video content has changed my perspective of the future of in-home entertainment. During that exploratory process, I’ve abandoned traditional linear broadcast television -- and fully adopted on-demand service delivery offerings.

Streaming online video content to my primary TV set, via a first-generation media player, helped me evolve my perspective of the upside potential for Web-based multimedia. My prior online content experience revolved around my viewing video on a much smaller notebook computer screen.

Clearly, a typical PC display is not the best way to consume long-from content -- but it’s often the only way to be exposed to everything that’s available on the Internet.

While much of my time over the last year has been invested in exploring the depth and breadth of the available content delivered via a Netflix subscription, I’ve also used the first-generation Roku streaming player’s ability to add channels.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the ongoing addition of these video channels -- they are essentially device applications (apps) that are built using an open software developer kit (SDK).

The Media Player Market Opportunity

Much of the recent discussion about embedded video apps has been regarding the emergence of Connected or Smart TV sets. However, the largest addressable market is -- by far -- the legacy TV sets that can only utilize these apps via a peripheral device, such as a streaming player.

I’ve been using a next-generation device -- the NETGEAR NeoTV streaming player -- for the last month, and I really appreciate the user experience advances enabled by this new product. The NTV200 player has many of the capabilities that I’m already used to -- plus, some forward-looking features that demonstrate where this product category is heading in the future.

Access to current feature films via the VUDU service is a welcomed addition (previously, I’ve used the Amazon video on-demand service). YouTube Leanback is another option that I’ve not used before. The sleek handheld NeoTV remote, in combination with intuitive on-screen navigation, greatly enhances the process of finding the best categorized videos on YouTube.

Also, the NeoTV remote control smartphone app, available at the Apple App store and Google Android Market, apparently makes it easy to find and play your favorite movies or share the channels that you are watching on Facebook (which I haven’t used).

The Emerging Market for Innovative TV Apps

Music apps, like Pandora and Napster, work as expected. Besides, there’s already a good selection of channel options to choose from within the NeoTV main menu.

That being said, I believe that the most exciting capability is the integration of FLINGO -- an innovative new app that enables the quick transfer of online video to the TV screen. Flingo is a product and service of Free Stream Media Corp -- learn about their app platform features, and just imagine the creative possibilities for new media companies.

If you want to experience over-the-top video on your current TV set, then consider the NeoTV player from NETGEAR -- it's an innovative device.