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24 September 2020

MediaKind snatches at You.i TV update, recognizing significance of 6.0

In deploying You.i TV’s new Engine One 6.0 technology to speed up application development, MediaKind has revealed that smart TV and connected TV markets are high priority targets for the vendor. It comes as more and more of MediaKind’s traditional customers take their content assets and technology stacks beyond the set top – none more significant than the parent company of a certain You.i TV investor.

Some operators and vendors have spoken about a perceived challenge for developing a single set of cross-platform code for UI development, deterred by high prices and slow time to market. But by side-stepping the SDKs of major OS platforms, You.i TV has helped developers defragment multiscreen app ecosystems which have grown convoluted in nature via its unique method of writing and maintaining a single codebase.

MediaKind is the initial deployment partner for version 6.0 of the Canadian UI developer’s Engine One software which debuted last week, two whole years after v5.0, adding updated tooling, debugging, and core performance gains across supported platforms, as well as the latest version of the React Native framework from Facebook. With v6.0, You.i TV’s patented Design Workflow has been given a refresh with updated tooling, new cross-platform component support, and key updates to the workflow.

MediaKind will bring Engine One 6.0 to its video provider customers on the promise of accelerated cross-platform app deployments – putting You.i TV in front of some major pay TV types. This allows MediaKind’s product teams to focus on what they do best on the back-end side of things.

It’s worth noting that Sky was part of You.i TV’s $23 million Series C funding round secured in November 2018, headed up by Causeway Media Partners, in turn arriving two years after You.i TV’s big Series B break in the form of a $12 million injection round led by Time Warner. Then in May 2019, Sky took an investment of an undisclosed size in You.i TV – impressed by a customer list boasting AT&T, Fox, WarnerMedia, NFL, Twitch and A+E Networks.

It was fitting then that Engine 6.0 arrived just a few days after Faultline explored Comcast’s latest X1 licensing strategy after CEO Brian Roberts confirmed rumors of a Comcast smart TV incursion for the RDK-based X1 video platform. We are not aware of You.i TV actively working with RDK before, but the company has all the minerals to make Comcast’s transition to the smart TV space (or connected TV, if that’s where the operator ends up focusing) a luxurious one.

Since You.i TV embraced the open source React Native development framework, its Engine One has been able to realize the benefits of a unified app strategy – allowing developers to configure applications to retrieve all UX elements dynamically from a server, including layout, styling and motion, without requiring recertification.

While others have followed stringent rules laid out by Google and Apple to the letter, You.i TV has prospered from a heavy GPU-focused approach involving smooth graphics performance at 60 fps and a fluid screen-rendered UI to suit video applications, with a design workflow allowing production app changes in just 5 minutes.

With Engine 6.0 comes React Native 0.60, which in turn comes with React 16.8 and the new Hooks API – a set of functions designed to hook directly into mechanisms like exposing side effects, state, content and refs to better capture the semantics of the React system. You.i Engine 6.0 also brings the open source Hermes JavaScript interpreter to the table, again developed by Facebook engineers as a drop-in replacement for JavaScriptCore on Android, which You.i TV has brought to Android TV (including Operator Tier), Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Tizen, and LG webOS.

This is a major update for the Engine framework with more to come. Later this year, You.i TV will introduce the first set of modules and samples from its Developers Resources initiative. The modules will bring a range of functionality over time, such as common UI components not already found in the core You.i Engine SDK, from toggle buttons to third-party integrations, to graphics features, and additional ways of debugging.

Another new capability called screen reader helps reduce the operational load and free up time to tackle other backlog items, that is often a side effect of the essential yet repetitive process of making and maintaining a video streaming service accessible across as many platforms as possible.

Crucially, this is all about time. You.i TV makes it abundantly clear that cross-platform app development is a real pain in the backside, and it will take time to overcome the issues inherent with this process. Engine One 6.0 is a major leap forward.