You.i, a startup that has developed a new cross-platform user interface, said it had attracted several new tier one cable clients, though it declined to identify any of them, although the company has previously identified Rogers as a customer.
A few years back, the development of HTML5 was heralded as a solution to the problem of having to write multiple versions of the same interfaces for every different category of device. HTML5 was not as functional as many had hoped, however, and proved to be unable to keep up with developments in the various native environments of those different devices.
So You.i is yet another company eschewing HTML5 in favor of operating in native environments.
According to You.i director of marketing, Matthew Nelson, (who responded in an e-mail), the company’s engine compiles from the artist’s design files to one C++ codebase (with, he said, perfect motion precision) that sits next to the metal [IC circuitry] and is optimized for GPU acceleration – giving us the “write once, run everywhere” promise of HTML5, without the painful performance issues of HTML5.
HTML5 is a managed language that must be interpreted down to the metal (which results in a performance hit) and is technically incapable of leveraging the GPU (which constitutes yet another performance hit), Nelson explained.
“Also, HTML5 developers always ask designers to water down their design so that it can be pulled off in code…we ask for the designer to swing for the fences. The result is a UI that feels more like a high-end video game than a tired TV UI,” he continued. “We’re ripping HTML5-based UI companies out of projects all the time now…they’re a mess.”
Built from ground up, and based on animation and graphics (e.g., access to GPUs), You.i’s UI can be run across every platform, including RDK, the company insists.
To demonstrate the capabilities of its UI technology, the company has been demonstrating what it’s been calling FlipTV. The demo shows how the company’s basic technology will support any input type, including remotes, a second screen, gesture control, or some combination of those.
As is now standard with UIs, social networking feeds can be integrated, and apps can be offered.
The company’s basic technology also supports TV set-ups capable of sensing viewer presence. Guides can pop up when a viewer comes into the room, and can also identify which viewer in a household it is.
The company has been demonstrating a function where, when a second viewer leaves the room, the TV senses the departure and identity of the viewer and sets a marker in the content stream, so that the content in progress can return to that point.
“That was an early demo we did to help break into the TV space. The truth is, we are the UI layer and can do anything on the glass that middleware providers can support technically. We have zero limitations,” Nelson said.
Other customers listed by the company include Adobe, Pace, Technicolor and Sony.