Beam yourself live into the TV

Jun 23, 2005

At the Innovations Day on Communication Networks 2005, Siemens and GRUNDY Light Entertainment – a company belonging to the UFA Group, Germany’s largest supplier of television entertainment programming – presented a new dimension in entertainment by connecting television with broadband fixed and mobile networks. In the first experiment of its kind anywhere, both companies recently succeeded in linking in viewers live either from home or out and about to let them participate in a game show. The viewers called in during the show and were "beamed into the television studio" via video telephony.

The caller's live video transmission was effected either via mobile radio on a UMTS mobile phone or over the fixed network with the aid of the Surpass Home Entertainment solution from Siemens . Siemens is confident that the combination of telecommunication with television will open up new business opportunities for the entertainment industry and network operators.

“The demonstration program, which we recorded at a regular television studio under real-life conditions, showed that video telephony will add a new dimension to television. There are no more obstacles to the linkage between video telephony and television, which will generate new business models and open up new revenue sources for the telecommunications and media industries,” said Stefan Jenzowsky, head of Business Innovation at Siemens Communications.

Ute Biernat, CEO of Grundy Light Entertainment, added: “We are thrilled about the new possibilities which video telephony opens up for us. We hope that we will soon find a station that wants to implement such new formats.”

There has already been a lot of speculation about the new applications which may result from mobile and fixed broadband networking. Siemens simply put the new technologies to the test: How will this work technically? And what about the quality of the video transmission? In GRUNDY Light Entertainment, Siemens found a partner who was willing to experiment and who immediately came up with an idea for a new program format: a game show with participants selected not only from the studio audience, but also from people calling in with their video phones. Both companies successfully completed their innovative demonstration project in mid-June.

Background info: Surpass Home Entertainment from Siemens

“Surpass Home Entertainment” brings fun and entertainment into the living room, along with simple and novel types of communication. Network operators can offer their customers all this with the new Siemens solution for TV-based entertainment services. In the field of communication this includes video telephony and receiving e-mails over the TV set, as well as sending SMS and MMS messages. A complete TV entertainment offering with video/audio-on-demand, “yesteryear’s” TV programs, video recording, and the internet adds a new dimension to home entertainment. And the fun of playing online games hasn't been left out either.

Grundy Light Entertainment

GRUNDY Light Entertainment is a network-independent producer of entertainment programming for German television stations. The company’s core business consists of developing and producing various types of entertainment such as variety and game shows, panel shows as well as dating, comedy and music shows. The company, which is based in Hürth near Cologne, produces for all major television networks, including RTL, Sat.1, ARD and Pro7. GRUNDY Light Entertainment has production facilities at the media centers Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Baden-Baden. As of 2005, GRUNDY Light Entertainment, under the name "GRUNDY Schweiz AG" also has an office in Zurich and produces programs for Swiss national television (SF DRS).

The company had its start in 1997 when Grundy TV and Fremantle (Deutschland) Produktions GmbH merged to become Pearson Television Deutschland. Since August 2001, the production company goes by the name of GRUNDY Light Entertainment. The name “GRUNDY” goes back several decades to Australian Reg Grundy, one of the pioneers in international television entertainment programming. GRUNDY Light Entertainment is part of the UFA Group in Germany and of the FremantleMedia Group internationally, one of the largest international producer of entertainment formats. London-based FremantleMedia produces more than 260 formats in over 45 countries.

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