The BBC’s former iPlayer head Anthony Rose is targeting second-screen devices like Apple’s iPad and smartphones with a new startup called tBone TV.
The company is still in stealth mode, but Rose revealed some of his plans for tBone during an interview he gave at the Connected TV Summit. Tbone’s main mission seems to be to build a platform that will allow second-screen devices to interact with TV programming.
Rose said connected TV experiences have so far been hamstrung because broadcast content and devices have been closed platforms, and new developments are slow to make it to market. “On the set-top box and on TV, you’ve got often long lead times; you’ve got complicated committees,” he said, obviously speaking from his own experience at the BBC as well as the former CTO of British set-top box maker YouView. “On companion devices, you can write something today and have it live tomorrow.” (Check out the entire interview embedded below.)
Tbone isn’t the first company to target second screen devices for connected TV experiences. Social TV startups like Miso and GetGlue have been using mobile apps to allow users to check in to TV shows and movies similar to the way users can check into a location on Foursquare, and ABC has been experimenting with delivering content on iPads that’s relevant to what’s shown on TV.
ABC is using audio fingerprinting to make the iPad hear what a user is watching, but Rose called this approach messy, and limited because it’s a one-way street: incapable of talking back to the TV. “What you really want is software built into TVs that connects it all together,” he said.
This approach sounds very similar to what Synchronize.tv is attempting to do, and the similarities between the two companies don’t end with the syncing technology. Both tBone and Synchronize want to open up second-screen synchronization through accessible APIs, making it possible for others to build apps based on their platforms.
Some of these apps will undoubtedly use social networks to enhance the broadcast TV experience. Rose said that a tBone app could help to discover content based on what your Facebook friends are watching at any given moment, or deliver additional web content based on what’s covered in the news. “This will be the biggest disruptive thing ever in this space,” said Rose.
Check out the entire interview with tBone TV co-founder and CTO Anthony Rose below: