SyncTV Pushes Digital TV Platform - InformationWeek

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SyncTV Pushes Digital TV Platform

SyncTV claims it's bringing a video content distribution system to a wider audience.

It looks like 2011 is the year it becomes a lot easier to be a video content distributor.

A few months ago, SyncTV provided content distributors with a unified platform for delivering shows and movies across a wide variety of devices -- from set-top boxes and Blu-ray Disc players to Android-powered phones.

Execs tell us it has since signed up a whole slew of content partners, from NBC Universal to Japanese anime distributor DLE Inc.. They're also in talks to add more providers from the U.S., Europe and Asia in the coming months.

In an interview with BYTE, Alex Garcia-Tobar, CEO of SyncTV, described his strategy to make SyncTV the leading IP-based entertainment distributor by providing a single turnkey package.

Encoding, content protection, monetization, user management, device compatibility -- Garcia-Tobar claims it's all accessible through a single web-based interface.

Garcia-Tobar told us the vision for SyncTV is universal coverage, and says they already offer a wide range of supported devices. We previewed a roadmap for development of additional devices and platforms, with more more to come.

SyncTV supports digital rights management, including a number of subscription and pay-per-view models. Support for advertising is also an integrated part of the platform, with feeds from multiple ad networks for targeted placement within the SyncTV range of video content.

Even small video producers can tap into and gain access to distribution, advertising, and management tools.

SyncTV provides fully automated administrator functionality available to the smallest media distributor, and Garcia-Tobar claims this platform can scale to the largest global networks.

BYTE Analysis

The availability of this “back of house” processing promises to make it easier for even the smallest video producer to bring their product to market.

While BYTE has yet to see SyncTV in operation, if SyncTV delivers on its promise, it will be a significant step in breaking down the hold of major studios and networks on the distribution and commercialization of video entertainment.

What's striking is how platforms like SyncTV make possible the independent commercialism of video on a massive scale. What has taken pioneering internet video producers like the TWIT Network and Revision 3 years to develop can now be replicated in a matter of days.

For example, today we find more high quality video podcasts available than ever before. But the podcasting model limits the creator’s ability to manage digital rights or charge per view or per subscription. Many devices support podcasting, but it's still up to the end user to handle subscribing and downloading, and the creator’s ability to develop a brand around the podcast is limited. SyncTV could potentially address these needs for video producers large or small.

The real proof of SyncTV's claims will come when more major players sign on, and talks are reportedly under way to make this happen. It's not just for the sake of getting big-name content pushed through SyncTV's system, but also to see how one of SyncTV's other claims holds up: The ability to deliver content scaled to fit network capacity and demand.

With high-speed bandwidth in the U.S. lagging so far behind much of the developed world, any interim technical solution is going to be welcome. BYTE looks forward to a deep review of SyncTV soon.

BYTE senior editor Mike Rothman and BYTE's managing editor of reviews Serdar Yegulalp co-wrote this article.

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