Technicolor Puts Universal UI In Play as a Downloadable App

Greg Gudorf, COO, MediaNavi

Greg Gudorf, COO, MediaNavi

February 1, 2012 – In another signal that consumer electronics manufacturers are stepping up their efforts to deliver real consumer benefits with smart TVs some of the major players in the field are embracing the companion device navigation and apps system Technicolor has now named “M-GO.”
At the Consumer Electronics Show Technicolor announced the newly branded MediaNavi consumer-facing app was being incorporated into products by Samsung, VIZIO and Intel, with each supplier featuring the app in their public presentations at the show. For example, M-GO was part of the demo in Intel CEO Paul Otellini’s keynote, where he showed how the new Ultrabook links to M-GO in the app store.

As described in previous reports about the MediaNavi platform (see October, p. 19), M-GO is primarily a personalized navigation system with discovery and recommendation capabilities that bring a rich enhanced content experience to individual users on companion devices in sync with what they’re viewing on the TV. The cloud-based system, when tied in with network operators, would leverage that relationship to handle synchronization with the viewing, but, without that relationship, M-GO relies on another approach to achieve synchronization, says Greg Gudorf , COO at MediaNavi.

Starting this spring, consumers will be able to download M-GO from app stores, and when they do the setup on their devices, “we know where they are and who they subscribe to, and we do a channel map and render their selections to them in the navigation UI on the companion device,” Gudorf explains.

The system, once informed of which channel or other video source has been chosen on the device UI navigation system, uses its awareness of the video flow and timing from whatever source the user is accessing to sync viewing enhancements on the device. In the case of tie-ins with CE manufacturers, the companion device can also be used as a remote control to tune the connected TV to specific video feeds.

The uptake by CE manufacturers serves as an interesting contrast to the lack of enthusiasm shown by service providers. “Last year we tackled three customer focus areas: network operators, CE manufacturers and studios,” Gudorf notes. “While our platform is still viable for operators, the interest is hugely stronger elsewhere.”

Like its competitors, MediaNavi is finding “the interest from the CE side and studios is very strong,” Gudorf says. “So we drove our sales and marketing strategy to match.”

In Samsung’s case M-GO will come pre-loaded on Samsung’s 2012 Smart TVs and Blu-Ray Disc players and will be accessible on Galaxy tablets. As for VIZIO, M-GO will come pre-loaded on televisions, tablets, Blu-Ray players and stream players that are part of the VIZIO Internet Apps Plus ecosystem.

Gudorf stresses the importance of a unified environment that “stitches everything together” for app developers. “Understanding the content world to where content suppliers are comfortable with an application is one thing,” he says. “Understanding the world from the IP perspective is another thing. We see a lot of fragmentation of solutions, so we’ve built a great outlet for creativity where people can develop apps for different environments.”

Gudorf also sees signs that a universal navigational and discovery app that consumers can download to their devices could free content providers to take advantage of the connected device space in ways that break with their traditional bundling practices with cable and other service providers. “There’s a groundswell of pressure on content providers at this point,” he says. “People will begin to test the market and see where it takes them.”

M-GO provides a distribution environment that allows content suppliers to deliver programming directly to whatever devices the app is running on. “We fully expect live content for M-GO,” Gudorf says.