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Sony Tunes Into Samba TV

Samba TV has notched a major new customer win with one of the world’s largest consumer electronics makers.

Samba, which was formerly known as Flingo, is announcing that Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) has deployed its TV apps and automated content recognition (ACR) technology across the CE giant’s Bravia TVs, Blu-ray players, and Blue-ray home theater devices with Sony Entertainment Network. Apps include content from TMZ, TV Guide, and Samba TV's Launchpad, which aggregates media from brands like A&E, Fox, Fitness Magazine, and Vimeo.

In addition to its TV app platform, Samba focuses on second-screen apps that supplement the main television experience. Samba works by embedding its ACR technology into the firmware of chipsets on TVs and set-tops. Unlike other ACR solutions, however, Samba's technology analyzes video content rather than audio to determine what show a user is watching and therefore what app content to deliver. The approach is supposed to be dramatically faster than audio-based ACR.

Samba claims its software and applications are available now on more than 30 million screens around the world, which adds up to a significant advertising footprint. The new apps for Sony devices, for example, are all free to users because of sponsorship from companies like American Express Company , Nike, and McDonald's. Media brands can also use the platform to make their own shows more interactive or to partner with advertisers for joint promotions. Examples include delivering polls, related video clips, and information or discounts on products featured in a show.

Beyond Sony, Samba has racked up several other impressive supporters and customers over the last 18 months. Industry veteran Mark Cuban is one of the company's investors, and TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) deployed Samba TV apps on its Premiere set-tops earlier this year. Other customers include Haier and Hisense Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd. for TVs and Roku Inc. and Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) for set-top devices. (See: Mark Cuban Invests in Flingo and TiVo Flips On Flingo.)

— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

albreznick 11/6/2013 | 4:47:33 PM
More TV apps? So now we have more TV apps heading our way, at least if you buy Sony products. Will any of them be killer apps? What would a killer TV app be for TVs? Inquiring minds want to know.
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