June 28, 2013 report
TouchCast introduces its interactive video iPad app
(Phys.org) —A company founded in New York in 2010 is aiming to lift the online video experience to a new level. Erick Schonfeld, a co-founder of the startup company TouchCast, said that the problems with video today are that it doesn't interface well with the Internet and that it hasn't yet achieved its full capabilities of interacting with other web content.
Schonfeld and TouchCast CEO Edo Segal set out to reinvent online video content so that it feels like web content while looking like television. Their product, the free TouchCast app for iPad, is a stepping-stone to their final goal, and allows users to create video needing no post-production editing, and that can be enriched using its video applications, or vApps.
The iPad app uses an HTML5 standard web media player, which interacts with vApps that enable users to incorporate elements such as Flickr photos, Google Maps, stockmarket charts, YouTube videos, or Twitter and Facebook streams directly into their content. The vApps are interactive and update in real-time. The company has already created over 20 vApps, but plans to allow other developers to add their own vApps on the TouchCast platform.
The video creator opens the vApps before shooting, and then simply taps on the icons while recording to bring the vApps into the video. Once the vApps are inside the video the users can interact with them in the same way as they can with any other online content, using the iPad's touch interface. The videos will be watchable on TouchCast's own website, and eventually on all websites.
Schonfeld suggests the system would be useful for journalists, YouTube video creators, educators, students, and video enthusiasts generally. According to Segal, the new system differs from YouTube's current ability to insert interactive elements in fully immersing HTML inside the video instead of them being an annotation.
The basic iPad TouchCast app is free for videos up to five minutes long, but the company expects to make money through subscriptions for storage of video content longer than one hour, and for additional features, advertising, and licensing fees. They are not expecting to be a competitor to YouTube, and at present, videos created with the system can be uploaded to YouTube but none of the interactive features function.
TouchCast employs over 20 people and is funded by its founders, Segal, Schonfeld, and Charley Miller, who was previously a designer of video games. Segal's history includes being vice president of emerging platforms at AOL and developing Relegance, a real-time search engine.
The TouchCast app for iPad can be downloaded free from the Apple iTunes App Store. Videos using the technology can be viewed on the iPad, or at Touchcast.com using either Safari or Chrome. The ultimate aim is to have the videos watchable with all interactive features on a wide range of devices.
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