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13 September 2012

Tversity AirFlinger ready, cloud based browser around the corner

We first came across Tversity earlier this year at IPTV World Forum when it began to show the underlying technology of its AirFlinger, at the time quite a way short of a finished product. At IBC this week, just 6 months later this looks like a genuine contender to become the AirPlay for non-Apple devices, at least where a pay TV home has a set top to drive it.

The interface is now slick in redirecting content from one screen to another, and back again, with multiple devices, an iPad, an Android Tablet and a smart phone, each jumping in and taking over each other’s session (the system listens the to the last device which streams to it) and you can imagine friends at home using multiple device types to put video and images on the TV screen on after the other.

Inside the software on the set top it is transcoding and replacing the streaming container and throwing out HLS one minute then smooth Streaming the next and converting them to whatever the set top supports, and flipping the stream via WiFi. The product is being delivered as an SDK for apps on these devices, and the company is ready to license it now.

‘TV operators all have set top boxes in place and they have the processing power to transfer content in real time, from a consumer’s PC or tablet, to the TV screen. The set top is the most obvious place to target content,’ CEO Ronen Mizrahi said.

‘Lots of apps on a tablet know which TV program you are watching, but they don’t know where you are within that program. By throwing the video from the tablet, this enables other applications which need that information. Imagine you are watching Game of Thrones and you have an app which tells you where on the map the action is taking place. If it knows which piece of video you are watching it knows which piece of the map to show you.’

The AirFlinger will also come up against WiDi and AirPlay but also the idea of Miracast, whereby WiFi players will make direct WiFi linkes between devices, although this is not really aimed at set tops or the TV so far.

Tversity told us in the past that operators who are planning to work with the AirFlinger technology include Israel’s Yes, Bouygues Telecom in France and Videotron in Canada.

Mizrahi had yet another surprise for us, and every bit as exciting as his AirFlinger, something he calls a cloud browser. The cloud browser is literally what it says, a browser that operates on a server in the cloud, and which then sends the results to a device in the form of video or an image. This way a device which is not man-enough for the job of say an HTML 5 capable browser, can be retrofitted with one, moving the processing elements to the Netfront browser in the cloud. It uses any choice of a remote UI technology, for instance RVU, to deliver the browser image to the device.

One area Mizrahi sees this being used is once YouTube has pulled away from its current spate of deals where it lets smart TVs and pay TV operators use YouTube. This is because Google doesn’t like the way they have implemented it in some instances and it doesn’t always allow for any changes in its format to come through. When many YouTube Lean Back deals expire they won’t be renewed, unless the image can be rendered as it was intended, using HTML 5.

Mizrahi says, ‘You need a more capable Javascript engine, an upgraded GPU and 3D acceleration to show full HTML 5 and there will be plenty of devices out there that just can’t be upgraded.