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Monday, September 22, 2014

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  • Beachfront Media's App Platform Now Supports Connected TVs and Devices [VIDEO]

    Beachfront Media has announced that its Beachfront Builder video application development platform now supports connected TVs from LG and Samsung, along with connected TV devices such as Roku and most Google TV products. In addition to these devices, apps built using Beachfront Builder also run natively in iOS devices, Android phones/tablets, HTML5/Web and Windows 8. Beachfront apps also include analytics and monetization in the form of video pre-rolls.

    As Frank Sinton, Beachfront Media's CEO explained to me, all of this has been accomplished by writing to each one of the devices' native SDKs. For example, the Google TV app was written in Java, the LG and Samsung apps use the companies' JavaScript SDK, and the Roku app using Roku's own custom SDK. Not only is this significant upfront work for Beachfront, but it's an ongoing task to update and maintain these apps as the SDKs change over time.

    All of this addresses content providers' desire to deliver video to intended audiences across an ever-wider array of different devices, each with its own set of requirements and expense. Beachfront is essentially eliminating this complexity and cost, freeing content providers' to focus on their core skills of programming and audience development.

    I explored the complexity/cost issues a couple of weeks ago in, "Post-CES, The Stage is Now Set for an Apple Television," in which I asserted that absent core software layers uniting disparate brands' Smart TVs, Apple was being presented with a massive opportunity to extend iOS to its own line of televisions.

    As I suggested, for any device or platform to gain mass appeal in video's new world, it is essential not only to enable comparable experiences across brands (i.e. a user's Samsung Smart TV user experience must be comparable to one with an LG, Sony or Panasonic Smart TV), but it must also interoperate with other video-enabled devices (smartphones, tablets, online, etc.)

    The only reason Apple has a quasi-exemption is because its own ecosystem and user base are so massive. However, as all Apple users know, there are plenty of downsides to submitting oneself in full to the Apple ecosystem. And that's why apps builders like Beachfront Builder offer reason for optimism that a truly cross-platform, cross-device and cross-brand future for video deployments - which would be beneficial for content providers, users and advertisers - may actually be possible.

    There are still plenty of real-world limitations though. As Frank further explained, Beachfront Builder based apps - like all others - are subject to the capabilities of different vintages of devices (e.g. my 2010 Samsung Blu-ray player may not have the company's full App Store) and what app stores' policies are with respect to promotion, user interface, etc. While Beachfront has cracked the tough technical nut of delivering video to different devices, pesky business and policy issues still must be navigated.

    All of this serves as a reminder that we're still living in the relatively early days of video's ongoing evolution to ubiquity. Progress is coming, but there are no silver bullets.

     

     

    (note: Beachfront Media is a VideoNuze sponsor)

     
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