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SyncTV, Brightcove, and HBO Are on the Cutting Edge of Video Apps

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I spoke with Brightcove VP of technology Ashley Streb about the development and feature set of App Cloud. As Streb explained, “From the ground up, App Cloud has been developed from the focus of a web developer being able to create apps on top of App Cloud. It is based on HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3. Developers will be able to use the tools they are already familiar with.” With mobile development there are always considerations of bandwidth and processor speed, so Brightcove built a set of tools that make it easier for the developer. The main tool is the App Cloud Workshop that is installed onto iOS or Android devices and permits the developer to preview, test, and demo applications on the actual device. The App Cloud Workshop is freely available from the iTunes App Store and the Android Market.

Streb outlined the development process of an application: “As you are developing an app, known as a template, you are developing locally on your machine and web server, or maybe your files are hosted on a development web server. You basically just need to point the Workshop at where your files are being served from so the Workshop can pull the files into the device and display them.” A very unique way of doing this is to generate a QR code that points to a URL where the files are stored. Then, on the mobile device, all you need to do is take a screen shot with your QR reader of the QR code on the screen of the development machine, and the files are transferred to the device. This can be a much simpler method than having to manually type in a usually very long URL to where the template files are stored.

As demonstrated in a sample template provided in the downloadable App Cloud Workshop, a typical app might contain videos, photos, blog entries, and newsfeeds. The app would probably pull this content from many different locations across the internet and internal systems. App Cloud provides a layer of services on top of the content and metadata to optimize it for mobile delivery. This means, for example, that you can use your own CDN. You are essentially transferring the metadata while the media objects reside wherever you have them stored.

Many of us are already familiar with using the Brightcove Video Cloud to store, organize, and deliver our media. As the App Cloud was being built, Brightcove found many organizations wanted to be able to pull content from multiple Video Cloud accounts into a single application. One of the examples that Streb highlighted is that of a national news agency with multiple local outlets. Each of the local outlets typically has its own Video Cloud account for its local media. It is a straightfor- ward process to go into App Cloud and configure any number of connections to Video Cloud accounts to pull the media into the App Cloud. As an example of helping developers to speed the creation of applications, Brightcove also provides entire sections of code from its code library that will pull videos from multiple Video Cloud accounts.

As advertising is a significant factor in monetizing applications, App Cloud supports it out of the box initially with AdMob. But as Streb noted, “If you can put your advertising into a webpage, you can put it into App Cloud.” More ad networks are being added so integration will become simpler for the developer.

App Cloud is currently in private beta and is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of this year. The pricing model of App Cloud is proposed to be very similar to the Video Cloud model. It is delivered as a service with different tiers and a yearly license subscription. Essentially, Brightcove is licensing software on a subscription basis and more information will become available at release.

Brightcove has created a successful video app by helping developers rapidly create mobile applications and deliver content to a growing number of devices. More Brightcove App Cloud information is available at www.brightcove.com/en/content-app-platform.

HBO Go/MAX Go

Those of you who attended Streaming Media East in May saw a very impressive keynote by HBO co-president Eric Kessler on the launch of HBO Go. More recently, I spoke with Hans Deutmeyer, vice president, HBO Go and MAX Go, on the day that the MAX GO mobile app became part of the mobile family at HBO. HBO Go is the mobile platform for HBO premium content; MAX Go is the Cinemax equivalent. Both services are available from distribution partners at no extra cost to customers who have a subscription. The service can be accessed anywhere in the U.S., and it permits up to three simultaneous viewers in the same household. Customers of HBO can view more than 1,400 titles online, including every episode of series such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and True Blood. HBO classics such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and Deadwood, as well as HBO original films, miniseries, sports, documentaries, and specials, are available on mobile devices including laptops, iPads, iPhones, iPods, and Android devices. Most programs are in high definition, and subscribers can personalize the service through a custom “Watchlist” that keeps track of bookmarked content. Cinemax has roughly 400 titles available now and a new original series, Strike Back. 

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