Archives For TV

BingPadLast Thursday (April 7), the free Bing for iPad app was officially released into the wild.  Since then, it’s hit #1 on Apple’s Marketplace and it’s easy to see why – it’s like a swiss army knife for search and discovery of contextually-relevant content.  From voice-recognition to easy to understand gestures that use a standard swipe, this app is the future of NUI-enabled Search.  My favorite features are the seamless integration of weather, search, stocks, and what’s trending.

I just wish there was a little more social integrated into the experience.  Today it feels like I’m getting half the equation by consuming content vs. being an integrated part of the experience like you see on Stumbleupon and Twitter while sitting down watching TV (the primary place I use my iPad).  Perhaps someday the two can come together?  Tie together with Comcast’s (EBIF-based) remote record and control APIs and I could see a really interesting scenario where I search for trends on TV, and set my STB to remote record, all right from within the app.  Are you listening MVPD’s?

SimpleTV_Logo_medium_full_aspect_mediumIf you’re a Windows Media Center fan and have an iPad, iPhone, or other iDevice – be sure to check out Simple.TV.  The software is in beta, but does a good job of making your content portable by converting into H.264.  The content is then playable via a webpage (which calls the built in video player on your iDevice) or sync to your device via a Podcast created in iTunes.  It’s a hub and spoke model with the website at www.simple.tv being your starting point as opposed to a dedicated iApp.

I have been testing the beta software (0.9.0.0.829) using a Silicon Dust HDHomerun and Windows Media Center.  and it works as-advertised but is rough around the edges on the video compression end.  I recorded an HD QAM signal from our local ABC affiliate and about a five seconds into the video, audio sync was lost and frame compression issues started to show up on my Intel Core i5.  It’s a beta though I will probably uninstall until it is a little more stable.

Most of my suggestions/gripes are related to the branding consisting of a weird space-bunny with TV visor?  Maybe do a competition on www.99designs.com to get the best logo. And the way it integrates into iTunes as a podcast – “Unknown Category” is not very discoverable. There are other details I’m sure will be fixed – visit http://simple.tv and I get a Bad Hostname error. I don’t want to have to add “www.” on every device.

There are other solutions out in the market as well. If you have a Mac, Elgato’s EyeTV now supports Live TV streaming as well as on-demand playback on an iPad via a dedicated app.

Here’s to hoping Simple.TV lives up to its name.  I know some of the folks building the app and suspect it’s only a matter of time.