Multi-screen video

Startup Automates TV Apps for Devices

With so many connected devices in the world today, one of the big dilemmas for TV programmers and distributors is deciding which screens to prioritize for app development. 1 Mainstream thinks it has a solution.

The young company, founded by veterans of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Roku Inc. , and TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO), is launching its own digital TV platform today. In a novel concept, this platform aims to make life easier for video programmers and distributors by automating app creation, video streaming, ad serving, and billing for connected devices.

The upstart has some impressive backers too. 1 Mainstream is funded by DCM Ventures, Menlo Ventures , and British Sky Broadcasting Group plc . BSkyB is also an announced customer.

The roster of the company's supported devices includes the Apple TV, Google TV, Samsung Smart TVs, Roku box, Xbox, iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets. As for Chromecast, 1 Mainstream CEO and founder Rajeev Raman told Light Reading that it's "very much on our roadmap as a device to support in 2014." (See Google Chromecast Lands HBO.)

Company officials say the big advantage of 1 Mainstream's platform is how little effort it requires from programmers and pay-TV operators. As Rajeev Raman described it, "You can literally self-serve your way to an Xbox app."

Further, 1 Mainstream says it can launch an app on a new device in a very short period of time. According to the company's press release, Sky used the software platform to set up Apple TV and Roku apps -- complete with live HD streaming -- in just weeks.

Actual app creation is only a small part of the package. 1 Mainstream manages several other video processing and distribution components, including content ingest, encoding, digital rights management, ad serving, content delivery, and authentication.

As one example of the platform's capabilities, Raman explained how 1 Mainstream is powering the Sky Sports app launched for the Apple TV just this week. Raman said his firm makes it possible for Sky to offer day passes to viewers using the platform's support for in-app purchasing. Users buy a pass on iTunes and get 24-hour metered access to Sky Sports content.

While Sky is 1 Mainstream's premier customer at launch, the company says it has more than 20 customers in total. It says the list includes several undisclosed "Tier-1 satellite TV and Web content providers."

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable

albreznick 12/23/2013 | 6:06:36 PM
What kinds of savings? Very interesting piece, Mari. I'm wondering what kind of cost and time savings 1 Mainstream can produce for customers. Do they have any estimates to offer? Any takers yet?
Sign In