The latest advances made by an EU-funded team of researchers to marry the Web and TV demonstrate how technology convergence is making our lives so much easier.
The NOTUBE ('Networks and ontologies for the transformation and unification of broadcasting and the Internet') project has developed solutions which convert the humble TV into a personalised, interactive experience. It used to be that we turned on the TV and had no choice but to watch a specific show at a specific time.
Thanks to NOTUBE services, the TV industry has caught up and we can benefit from personalised TV applications with improved data control. Watch news programmes that are tailor-made to individual tastes, or personalise social TV and even advertising.
Over a three-year period, the NOTUBE partners developed a number of technologies. One example is the N-screen, a web application that can help small groups determine what they want to watch. Beancounter is another: it is social web user profiling that can bring people together, regardless of their location or the tools they use to connect. And the NOTUBE TV API gives broadcasters the means to develop novel web-based applications and systems that make TV both more interactive and better.
'Our prototypes show that the "Web+TV" experiences which most benefit viewers and users will be those using open standards that work across different hardware, software and service providers,' says NOTUBE member Dan Brickley, who is currently a developer advocate at Google and a former researcher at Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam in the Netherlands. 'We have tried to develop solutions that give viewers choice and flexibility.'
The unique aspect of NOTUBE is 'linked data': users' information, including social networks, contacts and preferences, is stored in a cloud. Various databases and formats are used to hold and connect the data.
'The concept of linked data allowed the NOTUBE team to set reference standards for online publishers,' Mr Brickley said. 'This made it possible, for example, for broadcasters to create personalised news environments and online programme guides, showing users what they most want to see. Moreover, these work across devices and in multiple languages. The results and prototypes from NOTUBE are now more relevant than ever, and show the way forward to develop personalised TV applications where the user still controls their data.'
The NOTUBE team, which was supported under the Seventh Framework Programme's information and communication technologies (ICT) activities to the tune of EUR 9.24 million, paid particular attention to building cross-platform solutions, including a prototype recommendation engine and sharing system that allows users to find and filter the programmes they want.
Explore further: Web-TV: a perfect match?
For more information, please visit: NOTUBE: notube.tv/