New Orleans — Tablets as TV companions have been one of the big flavors of the week at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo.
NDS demo’d the “Mango” guide concept on an iPad, which is laid out like a magazine to highlight programming personalized to an individual subscriber. The Mango application, in addition to enhancing navigation and letting viewers control their DVR, could also serve advertising associated with programming on TV.
“It’s a much improved experience over the guide you get on the set-top box,” says Steve Tranter, NDS’s vice president of broadband and interactive. “It cures the human interface issue.”
While the demo was on an iPad, the app could run on any device, according to NDS.
Meanwhile, Ericsson was showing a tablet prototype based on Google’s Android operating system, which allows viewers to preview channels on the device before tuning to them on the big screen. And Technicolor has developed a second generation of its Media Touch tablet device based on Android, with a sleeker design and a 7-inch color touchscreen (see Technicolor Plugs Android-Based Tablet Device For Operators).
The heightened vendor activity comes after some operators are already moving full-speed ahead on the concept. Comcast is gearing up to launch an enhanced iPad app for TV navigation next month, and CableLabs has an initiative underway to arrive at a common technical approach for communicating between tablets and set-top boxes (see CTAM Summit: Comcast, CableLabs Click On iPad Remotes, TWC Developing An iPad App For TV, Too).
Also, Verizon has an iPad app in the works that will allow FiOS subs to watch live TV (see Verizon Sets Live TV iPad App For FiOS).