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CES 2016: Opera TV 2.0 debuts

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.”

Audio/Visual

Planet Radio TV tune in on any device

Planet Radio TV plans to be Africa’s first online broadcaster that allows its listeners to watch via Internet and satellite TV as well as listen via FM or Internet radio. SEAN BACHER visits its studios.

Planet Radio TV (PRTV) is broadcast much like any other terrestrial radio station, allowing its users to tune into it with a standard FM tuner. But its owner, Planet Image Productions, is about to launch two other means of tuning into the station.

In the coming month, MultiChoice will place a new satellite in orbit that will, by the new year, allow Planet to broadcast to subscribers via the satellite. Planet has also announced the PRTV app, which can be downloaded to Apple, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile devices, allowing users to stream the content to their phones and tablets.

‚”What makes this unique though is that our systems will automatically detect a user’s connection speed and stream content in a format that suits that speed, says Planet Image CEO Wale Akinlabi. ‚”For example, someone connecting through 3G will be able to view high-definition video and hear high-definition audio. A user with a slower connection will still be able to view and listen to the station, but at a lower quality.‚”

This, he believes, will eliminate the buffering issue which discourages many users from streaming video and audio to their devices.

The radio station comprises 80% African music, with the remainder being international, and is targeted at Africa’s youth.

‚”At PRTV we intend to change the way consumers view, listen and interact with television, radio and Internet mediums,‚” says Mabel Mabaso, chief operations officer and director at Planet Image. ‚”It is an exciting platform that synchronises three mediums, providing opportunities for consumers and advertisers alike.‚”

Planet RadioTV differentiates itself from other local broadcasters with its clever use of software and hardware. Planet Image uses a high-definition video-graphics (HDVG) rendering program, designed by Orad, an Israeli company specialising in TV production software. This software suite, combined with four Panasonic high-definition cameras, is able to detect and focus on a person’s voice. When the camera fixes on a voice, that camera is automatically activated and begins broadcasting. Should someone else begin talking, a separate camera will detect the voice and focus on that person.

The software controlling the cameras also performs basic video editing. Mabaso says that, although the initial cost of the equipment was more than that of standard cameras, it will prove well worth it, as it eliminates the need for a dedicated cameraman filming the show in the studio.

‚”Another payoff is that we don’t need that much office space,‚” she says.

Based in Randburg in Johannesburg, the studio is small in comparison to most others and the control room is just big enough for one person.

‚”The control room merely serves as a back-up should one of the cameras fail. It also allows us to control when and where visual adverts appear.‚”

The system is also tightly integrated with applications like Skype.

‚”We can interview someone overseas without having to send a crew there to perform recording. We simply communicate via Skype, making the interviewee’s Internet camera an extension of our own in-studio cameras.‚”

Besides featuring local and international music, the station has regular fashion, food and cooking, music and culture segments, which are broadcast to around 30 000 listeners around Africa.

Rounding up the technology aspect, PRTV has integrated Twitter and Facebook, allowing its listeners to interact with DJs.

Listeners can tune into Planet Radio TV by logging onto www.planetradio.co.za

* Follow Sean Bacher on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Canon EOS M – small and simple

Canon has extended the EOS range with the EOS M, its first compact system camera. Although not yet available in South Africa, the EOS M offers DSLR quality images and full HD recording in a compact, easy to use device.

Canon has expanded the EOS range with the launch of the EOS M. The company’s first ever compact system camera (CSC), the EOS M offers DSLR-quality imaging and full HD movie creation in a compact and easy-to-use model.

The EOS M is available in sleek black, glossy white, stylish silver or bold red colours, and condenses Canon’s EOS imaging heritage into a stylish, compact design. The model launches alongside two new lenses, the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake and the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom, as well as a new compact EX Speedlite the Speedlite 90EX. For those who want to push their images even further, the EOS M can also use Canon’s range of EF lenses with the new Mount Adapter EF-EOS M, for even more creative freedom.

The quality of a Canon DSLR

The EOS M’s high-resolution, 18 megapixel APS-C hybrid CMOS sensor also allows you to blur the background for beautiful portraits, or for close-ups with impact.

With the inclusion of Canon’s DIGIC 5 processor, colours ‚’pop’ and skin tones are beautifully natural, while a super-fast shutter allows you to capture split-second action.

Shoot what you see and easily express your creative vision

Every aspect of the EOS M has been designed to make it simple to capture high-quality images. With the high-resolution, 7.7cm (3.0‚”), Clear View LCD II Touch screen, the EOS M gives you as much or as little control over your photos as desired. Simply select different shooting modes and settings via the on-screen icons, or let Scene Intelligent Auto adjust the camera settings according to the subject and shooting conditions, leaving you free to focus on composition and selecting the perfect moment to hit the shutter release button.

Turn film-maker with EOS Movie and Video Snapshot

When a moment calls for more than a still image, the EOS M lets you switch to Full HD video with stereo sound.

Extending the EOS System with dedicated accessories

In addition to compatibility with Canon’s existing EF lenses, accessories and Speedlites, the EOS M launches with its own range of accessories. Two new EF-M lenses offer portability and high performance when using the new model the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom and the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens. Both feature new stepper motor technology for exceptionally smooth AF performance, as well as precision Canon optics, while their compact designs offer the perfect form-factor to complement the camera’s pocket-sized body.

Additionally, the EOS M will ship with the new Speedlite 90EX flash unit as standard. Lightweight and highly-compact, it offers a maximum guide number of nine and supports wide-angle lenses, making it an ideal general-purpose flash for everyday use. A wireless master function also allows the control of multiple flash guns wirelessly, allowing more advanced users to experiment with a range of creative lighting effects.

EOS M key features

· The quality of a digital SLR in a compact body

· Scene Intelligent Auto

· Be versatile with interchangeable lenses

· Create out-of-focus backgrounds for high impact

· Easy-to-use touch-screen

· Atmospheric photos in low light

· Full-HD video with Video Snapshot Mode

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