October 23, 2014

Sprint brings Streaming TV to iPhone –Including Live Sports!

Apple iPhone users have finally caught up with smartphone users powered by Android and Windows phone users – they can now get a wide package of streaming TV offers that include both free and premium channels from Sprint on their phones, if they are Sprint users of course.

The basic program is free with most data plans and additional packages will range from $4.99 to $9.99 a month and come in wide range of options tailored for everybody from news junkies, sports and comedy fans and also has 20 stations for the Spanish speaking market.

The basic Sprint TV has 15 channels including live sports and news as well as daytime, primetime and kids entertainment channels. Included are ESPN Mobile TV ABC and NBC News, Disney Channel, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, The Weather Channel and a variety of shows such as CSI, NCIS, The Office, and 30 Rock.

On top of the basic services are a number of premium offerings with Sprint TV Xtra, that includes a number of cable and news programming such as FOX Sports, FOX News, ABC Family, MTV, Discovery Channel, , Nickelodeon and more, all for just $9.99 monthly.

It is servicing the business market with a $5.99 monthly package that includes live and on-demand business and financial news and a $7.99 Spanish language package that has 20 channels including programming from Univision, Telemundo, ESPN Deportes, Azteca America and others. There are a number of additional packages available as well.

Now iPhone users have an additional option for live sports and news streaming to their phones, previously they only had the option of AT&T’s U-Verse app, which comes with a basic fee. There are also carrier specific sports deals available.

The video can be streamed over Wi-Fi or via cellular connections.

Facebook makes Mobile Push at Mobile World Congress

One of the interesting things about the discovery period for Facebook’s initial public offering was that the social media giant reported that it had literally no income from the mobile environment. Since mobile is the top form of access this is surprising.

It is obvious that this is one of the most important market segments for the company to monetize as the opportunities are huge. And it has started to lay out its plans during a public speech by Bret Taylor, Facebook’s chief technology officer at this week’s Mobile World Conference in Barcelona.

In its push it is also striking a blow against a number of companies such as Apple that have been able to cash in on the markets demand for apps. Apple reaps as much as 30% of the revenue from app sales.

Taylor laid out a series of moves the company is currently working on that could tremendously enhance its position in the mobile market, including an effort to partner with mobile carriers for billing on Facebook transactions and the establishment of cross platform standards.

In the mobile payments market it is working with carriers to fix a process that it calls broken and fragmented. It is talking with a number of players including Vodafone, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, KDDI and Softbank.

It wants to streamline the process and reduce the number of steps needed to make mobile payments. App developers would sell their offerings from the carriers via Facebook, allowing carriers to garner some of the revenue for the apps that are often used on their networks and allow app developers to avoid paying Apple, Sony and others a portion of their revenue.

It seems to me that the issue here is that this is letting Facebook become a partner in this, how do you then later stop them from gaining a more controlling position and adding on revenue for themselves from the users and or carriers as well?

On the standards side Facebook is part of a workgroup called W3C Mobile Web Platform Core Community Group that is seeking to develop HTML5 standards for the mobile web. The recently formed group has 30 members that come from a wide spectrum of mobile players from carriers to web browser developers according to its web site.

The current members of the group have a very impressive lineup. Samsung, HTC, Sony Mobile Communications, Nokia, Huawei, ZTE, TCL Communication, AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone, Orange, Telefónica, KDDI, SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp., Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc., NVIDIA, ST-Ericsson, Intel, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Mozilla, Opera, Microsoft, Adobe, Netflix, VEVO, Zynga, @WalmartLabs, Electronic Arts, Sencha and Bocoup.

Of course a prestigious lineup is no guarantee of a successful solution but it seems that it is the interest of these players to have a more efficient mobile web and as long as there are no hidden agendas in the group hopefully we will see a stead stream of updates from the W3C showing progress.

ESPN Delivers a new Mobile App for Soccer Fans

ESPN’s promise to further establish its presence in the soccer world despite losing out to Fox future World Cup matches is coming to fruition as the sports media company has taken the wraps off of its latest mobile app, this one that promises to provide comprehensive coverage online.

The company will leverage its established web site ESPNsoccernet to provide fans the level of news and information content that is currently available from that site but deliver it to mobile devices.

The app will enable users to personalize it to some extent adding their favorite team, league and tournaments to enable them to more easily follow the action on field and off. News from teams or leagues can also be groups so that it is available on a single page rather than having to go to different pages for the information.

The App is the latest in a series of International sports focused offerings

In addition to the static news there will also be a range of videos and podcasts available from the app including ESPNsoccernet Press Pass podcast, plus, video content from ESPN’s studio-based discussion and analysis shows.

ESPN is striving for comprehensive coverage with the app, which is asking a lot considering the depth and breadth of soccer. Aside from the news a features it will of course have the scores from around the globe including tournament scores. The app will allow push notification so that both half time and full game results will be proactively delivered to the phones.

The app will initially only be available in the English language and only on Apple iOS powered devices but ESPN said that it expects to quickly expand the platforms that it is available to also include those powered by the Windows Phone, Symbian, and Android operating systems.

ESPN has been increasingly looking to mobile apps to enhance its position in the international market and has already launched two similar ventures that focus on mobile sporting content, including the ESPNF1 and ESPNcricinfo apps.

Highlight Hunter Helps Sports Fans Create Video Highlight Reels

Amateur sports videographer? Soccer parent? Career little league coach? Just like to shoot video? All of these, and most of the rest of us have miles of video and for most users, no real skills in video editing so we force people to watch hours of bad film for the few minutes of footage that you are truly proud of.

The ease of shooting video, much like the low cost of digital photos, has lead to a huge backlog for many people who then need a solution to help sort this all out. There are a number of solutions out there seeking to solve this issue for you and one that we just recently bumped into is from Highlight Hunter.

Program helps to quickly separate the wheat from the chaff in videos

It will not actually fix any backlog issue you have but going forward could tremendously ease the task of finding the highlights in the video you are shooting at to edit it much faster, by as much as 8x according to the company.
It is a simple three step process. The first is simply record your video, as much as you want. Taking the example that Highlight Hunter uses, let’s say you record 3 hours of a ski trip of a group of friends on the slopes. The second step is very simple. After any event that was noteworthy you bookmark it by simply putting your hand over the lens of the recording device for one second.

A user then downloads the video into the company’s app and it will automatically create a 30 second highlight backtracking from the one second bookmark. So for a three hour video a user could do all of their editing within ten minutes rather than be forced to watch the entire three hours.

The Highlight Hunter app is available for both Macintosh computers and PCs and can handle video from all digital cameras. It is compatible with most other video editing applications so that a user can add additional features to the program as well. The company also has a free version of the app so that potential customers can give it a test drive.

PlayUp Signs Exclusive ‘Fan Engagement App’ Deals With America East, Southern and Sun Belt Conferences for Hoops Tourneys

Following its first-ever exclusive deal to be the “fan engagement app” partner for Fordham University, fan-based social network app provider PlayUp has signed a similar deal with the American East, Southern and Sun Belt conferences for their upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

The PlayUp app, which gives sports fans the ability to track teams, scores and to converse with other fans in either small or large, or private or public groups, is a good fit for schools and conferences who have interested alumni who might not be able to view games in person. PlayUp said in addition to hosting conference-specfic “rooms” on its platform, it will be giving away prizes based on participation in the respective conferences’ rooms.

In a press release, PlayUp CEO Dennis Lee said:

“Each of these conference tournaments will showcase high-level basketball, and we are looking forward to bringing the fan experience closer to the court. As social media further integrates itself within the sports world, athletes, teams, conferences and brands will be pursuing opportunities to best reach fans in this capacity, and the America East, Southern and Sun Belt Conferences are leading this trend.”

The Southern Conference tournaments runs from March 2 – 5 and will be played at the Asheville Civic Center and Kimmel Arena in Asheville, N.C., the home of the University of North Carolina–Asheville Bulldogs. The Summit Arena in Hot Springs, Ark. plays host to the Sun Belt Conference Tournaments from March 3-6, and the America East Conference men’s and women’s tournaments will be held from March 1-4 at the University of Hartford’s Chase Arena at Reich Family Pavilion in Hartford, Conn.

Daytona 500 History: First In-Race Tweeted Photo!

If you are watching the Daytona 500 live on Fox you may have seen the spectacular crash-and-explosion when Juan Pablo Montoya’s car skidded into a safety vehicle, blowing up a whole bunch of airplane fuel. When something like that happens the race is red-flagged, meaning the drivers stop on the course — and of course since it is 2012 driver Brad Keselowski took out his iPhone, snapped a picture and tweeted it:

Now kids — don’t tweet and drive, especially when you are going 200 mph. But when you’re stopped for a red flag? Go ahead, make social media sports history.

UPDATE: Jalopnik had a great breakdown of the moment in NASCAR and Twitter time.