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CES 2016: Opera TV 2.0 debuts

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Smart TV, Blu-ray Disc player and set-top-box manufacturers will now be able to offer their viewers an interactive content discovery experience with Opera TV 2.0, which made its debut at the International Consumer Electronics Show last week.

The new Opera TV 2.0 brings video content to the forefront, offering greater content personalization and an enhanced understanding of consumer preferences. The next generation of this popular HTML5-based application platform provides a tailored consumer viewing experience that also creates new after-sale revenue opportunities for manufacturers and operators.

“Consumers today want a dedicated video experience where app content is delivered to them based on their preferences, location, language, and what content is new,” says Aneesh Rajaram, Senior Vice President for TV & Devices at Opera. “Opera TV is a turn-key, Smart TV solution with a truly global footprint. We’ve made it simple for operators and OEMs to deploy, allowing them to easily differentiate and monetize personalized content offerings, and allowing content owners and publishers to bring their content to the top of the consumer experience, increasing user engagement through fresh content.”

Opera TV 2.0 is a managed cloud solution that provides a wide selection of popular OTT content – including video channels and clips, movies, apps, games and live TV from sources such as CinemaNow,  Crackle, IGN, Feeln, Pitbull, Paula Deen, Red Bull, TED, Washington Post and Young Hollywood, among others – directly to households. A new user interface (UI) organizes recommended, trending and most popular HD movies, videos and channels into neat rows, incorporating Opera curation for increased user engagement. This UI can be customized for increased viewer stickiness, with curation and promotional scheduling system tools in place for enhanced personalization.

Enhancing the HD viewing experience, Opera TV 2.0 allows consumers to engage, favorite and enjoy HD content on their biggest screens. In addition to prioritizing content at the top of the consumer experience, the entire solution is built on top of our backbone of over 800 apps in categories such as Lifestyle, Music, Kids, Nature and Travel, News and Weather, Sports, Social, Internet TV, and as well as many more. A Games section allows easy access to games developed using HTML5 and hosted in the cloud. Universal search across all sections simplifies user discovery, allowing them to enjoy the extensive portfolio by searching for specific terms or accessing trending keywords. With the emphasis on a “lean back” experience, consumers can use a standard TV remote control to navigate, select and launch content. They can also favorite and follow the channels they are most interested in.

Monetization opportunities and billing support

Opera TV 2.0 creates a hybrid approach to content discovery that enables increased consumer engagement across all touch points of the OTT platform. This capability opens up new after-sale revenue opportunities based on the content consumers view, including advertising and billing capabilities.

Opera TV 2.0 comes with fully integrated support for video advertising. Built on Opera Mediaworks ad-serving and mediation platform, a robust and scalable advertising infrastructure used by more than 19,000 sites and apps across smartphones, tablets and connected TVs, and reaching 1.1 billion users worldwide. Content owners and manufacturers can rely on Opera’s fully managed monetization service, as well as leveraging the self-service tools for their directly sold campaigns. The Opera TV Ads SDK is a one-stop solution for placement of video advertising anywhere inside the device user interface, including targeting of users across apps and interactive advertising via linear broadcast, where available.

Opera TV 2.0 also simplifies billing support with the seamless integration of a PayPal-powered certified payment solution. Billing is integrated into the overall user experience, allowing consumers to purchase additional items or extend subscriptions within seconds. The solution supports multiple markets and currencies with account authentication done securely through a second screen. Premium content owners can also charge customers for premium content access through the billing API.

Opera TV 2.0 to premiere on Hisense Smart TVs 

Opera TV 2.0 is coming to Hisense Smart TVs in the first quarter of 2016. Hisense is the fourth-largest global TV manufacturer, and this recent integration extends a partnership begun in 2013.

“Hisense believes that technology should make what we want to do, where we want to go and what we want to learn easier,” says Charlie Wang, Vice President of Hisense Group. “Opera TV 2.0 maximizes the capabilities of today’s Smart TVs by delivering to consumer’s highly-customized content based on their viewing habits and preferences.”

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Prepare for Digital TV migration

The deadline for the digital migration is fast approaching. JACQUES BENTLEY, Skyworth Southern Africa Sales Manager, lets us know what we can expect.

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By now you’ve probably heard about the impending digital migration for South African broadcasting. Initially, this shift from old-school, analogue technology to newer, more efficient digital technology was set to take place in 2015 but the deadline for a national migration has been pushed out several times. With our neighbours Namibia and Botswana blazing ahead with their own digital transformations, the pressure is on for our own government to push forward to a fully digital South Africa.

But what does this overdue switch really mean for you and me?

What is digital migration?

Basically, the process involves moving over from an analogue transmission to a Digital Terrestrial Television/Transmission (DTT). We currently use analogue technology, transmitting video and audio through analogue signals. The drawback of this traditional broadcasting format is that the colours, sound and brightness are heavily impacted by the quality of the signal, resulting in a less-than-ideal snowy effect, and your TV deciding to randomly fade or ghost.

Digital TV, on the other hand, boasts crystal-clear image quality and excellent sound without interference because of its land-based network of TV transmitters that broadcast digital signals. This kind of technology also allows viewers to access a wider range of channels with different programmes.

Why is it happening?

Apart from the fact that everyone wants clearer sound, more channels and an enhanced viewing experience, the conversion to digital TV also has a far-reaching goal that ultimately

aids developing nations like our own. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the objective of Broadcast Digital Transition (BDT) work is to help developing countries with their smooth journey from analogue to digital broadcasting, including terrestrial TV, mobile TV and sound broadcasting. In turn, this means that we can enjoy new broadcasting services as well as an allocation of the digital dividend.

When is it taking place?

June 2019 is D-Day for all countries to have completed their digital migration. Our Communications department is determined to meet this international deadline and has implemented a specific DTT war room to ensure that all the boxes are ticked, and they can deliver on time.

The first province to undergo the digital migration was the Free State back in August, where digital Set-Top Boxes (STBs) were launched in Senekal. Essentially, STBs decode digital signals for old, box-style TV sets and the government aims to distribute these devices to about 5-million poor households, so that all citizens can enjoy prime TV, despite their financial situation. In fact, Skyworth is one of the chosen suppliers of these set-top boxes and is proud to be a core part of an all-inclusive transition to digital.

What can you do about it?

While the government has agreed to subsidise cash-strapped consumers with STBs, the only guarantee is that the digital migration is upon us and it is our responsibility to digitally transform our homes in order to meet the requirements. This means that you’ll either need to invest in a digital-ready TV or purchase your own STB to work with your current TV’s analogue signal. Whichever route you decide to go, you can look forward to exceptional viewing entertainment in the comfort of your own home.

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5 things you should ask about buying a new TV

With so many technological advancements that cater to various needs, and endless options on the market, buying a new TV for your home can be pretty daunting. JACQUES BENTLEY, Southern African Sales Manager at Skyworth, offers a few tips when buying a new TV.

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Given the role a TV occupies in the home – providing entertainment, relaxation and a window to the world for the whole family – it’s not a purchasing decision to be made lightly. Not to mention the fact that you’re likely to spend a rather large sum of hard-earned dough in the process. Fear not – we’re here to help you decide. Here are five important things to think about before you swipe that plastic to ensure your new TV will bring nothing but joy into your home (ok, and maybe a couple of disagreements on what to watch).

  1. Size matters

If you’re a fan of action-packed movies or nail-biting sporting events, you already know how important the size of the screen is. Consider the space into which your new TV will fit, and take measurements of the wall area or cabinet it’s going to sit on to make sure that you’re being practical about its size. How many people will be watching the TV at the same time? Now opt for the largest screen size that will fit comfortably in your lounge (and your budget). Generally, anything between 55 and 65 inches is a great all-round pick according to price, performance and how close most families sit to the TV.

  1. Is it digital-ready?

South Africa’s digital migration is upon us and by June 2019, you’ll either need a digital-ready TV that can transmit digital signals or a Set-Top Box to decode digital signals for your old, box-style analogue TV set. The benefits of investing in a digital TV include crystal-clear image quality, excellent sound and a wider range of channels. Ask the sales assistant to show you their range of digital ready TVs when making your selection.

  1. Does it have a 4K screen resolution?

Resolution refers to the sharpness of the TV picture, usually in terms of horizontal lines of pixels. Ultra HD/ 4K sets have four times more pixels than current Full HD screens. That’s as many as 2 160 horizontal lines, or 3 840 x 2 160 pixels. The result? Super-sharp, detailed and lifelike images, even on large screen sizes. For this reason, a 4K resolution is becoming increasingly popular because it’s a much better choice if you want to future-proof your investment – Skyworth’s G6 model was created with this in mind; it’s basically an Android TV made for the future.

  1. What will you be using your TV for?

Apart from the obvious activity of chilling out to watch your favourite shows, what else do you want to be able to do with your TV? Will your kids be using it to play games? Will you be streaming shows on it? All of these preferences will impact the specific features that will attract you to buy a certain model over another one, so it’s wise to do your research, either online or in store, before you say ‘yes’ to the device. Also, look out for at least four HDMI ports at the back of the set as these tend to get used up very quickly, especially if you are using accessories like a sound bar.

  1. Does it include cutting-edge technology?

From Google Voice Assist, allowing you to speak to your TV, to rich connectivity via Bluetooth, selecting a TV that has advanced capabilities makes for a smarter TV and one you aren’t likely to need to replace in a few years’ time. With Android System 6.0, an easily updatable operating system, the G6 TV is your best bet when it comes to constantly upgrading your TV without forking out money every time.

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