Korean-based middleware company Alticast is currently working on two different – but possibly interconnected – projects that will change the way consumers interact with their TV.
Taken together, the ideas represent a new vision not just for the role of the TV in the home, but also for the future of operators.
Aimed at contextualizing a viewer’s TV experience, Alticast’s upcoming Altiview 3 user interface will use metadata to create a relationship between the consumer and their content.
Rather than presenting viewers with one-dimensional options, Altiview 3 will create a web of interrelated viewing selections based on information like what the viewer has previously watched, the genre of previously viewed programs and actors or songs present in different programs.
“We’re working on expanding the information architecture and the ways to move through that,” Alticast’s U.S. president and CTO John Carlucci said. “There is quite a bit of information about the content out there and we want to make that accessible to the viewer to enhance the viewing experience. For us it’s about finding that right recipe on how to present (that information) in an entertaining and useful way but not in a way that gets in the way of (the viewer) enjoying the content.”
“We continue to see through competition the expectations of the consumer ratcheting up with regard to that navigation experience,” he continued. “So we see Altiview 3 as the next step there.”
In addition to offering viewers a unique path to discovering new and relevant content, Altiview 3 will also offer viewing experience that has been optimized for the increasingly popular 4K TV.
Alticast 3 is still in development, Carlucci said, and no release date has yet been set. The platform will be a follow up to Alticast’s Altiview 1 and 2, which are already commercially deployed.
Carlucci also noted that Alticast is also working Wi-Fi capabilities for set-top boxes that would make them a hub for the connected home.
“When we look at television and video services where they intersect with the Internet of Things, we think about it in a number of ways,“ Carlucci explained. “The first is using the set-top box as a physical gateway so it can connect those devices and be part of an orchestration scheme. But we also see it as a visual portal where interactions with the Internet of Things can be achieved through the TV set.”
In a world where set-top boxes are the single gateway into the connected home, users would be able to receive – and respond to – alerts from their smart appliances, sensors and other devices right on their TV screen.
But Carlucci said a single gateway set-top box could also provide new revenue streams for operators.
“When you walk into a place like Home Depot and you imagine that every device in that store has intelligence in it….I think that creates quite a data storm that puts the operator in a place to monetize that,” Carlucci said.
The data collected by the box about device performance and user habits, Carlucci said, could potentially be sold to other companies and researchers.
“They are in a position to have early mover advantage here,” Carlucci said. “Quite quickly they could have a sensor network into every nook and cranny in the home.”
Though the idea is mostly fiction now, Carlucci said the concept has become increasingly popular in the industry over the past several months.
Though no release date for a single gateway product was given, Carlucci noted that 2017 would likely be a “significant” year in terms of rolling out IoT services.
“We do see this as a broader industry move, and as folks continue to think about what does it meant to deliver a broadband service and a data service we’re going to see them connecting to data in the home as an integral part of that,” Carlucci said.