This morning LUS officially announced its newly implemented TV Apps in an emailed publicity release. (see PDF)
Lafayette Pro Fiber reported this development on December 30th shortly after an alert user posted the appearance of a new “Extras” button in the menu bar on a local tech talk board. A more extensive review, replete with pictures, an alternate method of access, and hints at further services can be found in that day’s post.
The significance of this announcement lies less in the apps we see today—they’re pretty mundane for anyone using a smart phone—than what they offer for the future and the promise the keep in the present. LUS opted for an IPTV-based system rather than run its new video service using more traditional technologies. IP based systems are much more flexible and extensible. The internet functions as an IP based framework that supports a fantastic range of functions. The appearance of apps on the system shortly after the completion of the network makes good on the promise that LUS Fiber’s IPTV will offer its users new and excitingly different ways of using their TV. It also validates the choice of Microsofts’ MediaRoom as an interface platform. MediaRoom provides a layer that allows the apps to coexist with the video stream and provides developers with a relatively comfortable environment that does NOT require that they learn arcane set top box commands or limited-only-to-cable development environments. The developer interface is a minor variant on the familiar .Net framework.
It is easy to imagine chat apps that float over popular “event” shows like the Saints or Ragin Cajun games, or scrabble games played between different family households or…(your favorite idea here). LUS’ system will allow users to link video, phone, and data functions. Almost anything you can imagine could conceivably be presented on the TV screen and manipulated there. The MediaRoom layer makes it much easier to get between here and there without depending upon extreme specialists that, frankly, a smaller city like Lafayette simply cannot afford on its own. We’ve already got a (small) .Net community. And the developer base worldwide is simply huge.
We live in interesting times.