Watch all the hacks above: full hack and hacker list at the end of this post!


Swing a cat in the modern-day technology industry, and it’ll fly through 17 hackathons. Which, for the uninitiated, are events where developers and designers get together for set time periods (usually 24 or 48 hours) to dream up, code and present working ideas to their peers.

MIPCube has its own TV Hack, which this year involving 15 participants spending a couple of days thinking about TV tools and applications. This morning, they presented the results from the event, which was organised by BeMyApp.

Cyril Attia, founder of BeMyApp, kicked things off. Two judges – Jens Fischer from EVS and Gene Liebel from Huge – had the job of deciding which hack they liked the best.

First up: hackers Loic and Christophe, and The Mood Project. “Now, actually you don’t get a lot of feedback on how spectators are looking at TV, and if they enjoy your TV show,” said Christophe. “On the other hand, now TV shows make the spectators participate more and more with hashtags etc.”

The hack uses gesture and sound recognition, and uses people’s smartphones to recognise where they are in a TV show, and the Xbox 360’s Kinect controller to track their movements – clapping, for example. It can also detect when viewers are shouting, tweeting all this activity out.

Mood also comes with analytics to give broadcasters stats on which parts of their show viewers enjoyed most. “It’s real-time, so you can eventually adapt your TV show in real-time with the mood of your spectators,” said Christophe.

Second up was Syd Lawrence. “I wanted to make a TV station for the next generation,” he said. “The whole point of it was showing what were the most popular videos that were shared online. I don’t want to work out what ones I want to watch. I don’t want to find them. I just want to be told what to watch and watch them.”

So his hack plays a stream of the most popular YouTube videos, according to what’s being watched, Liked, tweeted about and so on. Lawrence also noted that “all of that system can be gamed… there are people out there selling tweets or selling views or selling Facebook Likes. That kind of ruined my whole thing here.”

Lawrence has created an algorithm to find out videos where tweets have been bought, showing one video that had been tweeted more than 8,900 times, but it’s only been watched 16 times on YouTube. “How can something be tweeted 9,000 times legitimately if it’s only been watched 16 times?”

So the results of Lawrence’s hacking are less a TV station for the next generation, and more a dashboard for video publishers to see how their videos are being shared on different social networks – whether they’re buying tweets or not.

The third hack was something integrating television and social networks, built on an Italian TV service called “It is a social TV network… It’s basically Facebook meeting television.”

The hack took the form of an app that enables people to send messages and emoticons to their friends – “FaceMesages” – which appear on the screen as they watch “This allows you and your friend to go live on TV, with your profile from Facebook… Everybody in the nation can see, not just your friends.”

The fourth hack was called Twitter Timelord, with developer Adam Howard noting that he’s watching a lot more television on-demand now, which means he can’t read the tweets that people were posting when it originally aired.

“You’re missing the conversation that’s going on,” he said. “If you’re watching on-demand, it rolls back your social networks so they’re replaying in time with the show.”

“The best hack ideas are when you’re scratching your own itch, and this is me scratching my own itch,” he said. “I was wanting Doctor Who, and I wanted to read the tweets that went along with it.”

Twitter Timelord thus replays the user’s own Twitter timeline as they watch, but also pulls in tweets with the show’s hashtag – again, synchronised to their place in the programme. These streams are captured at the time the show airs, ready to be displayed for on-demand viewers.

The fifth hack was called Jefotecs, which aims to allow people to watch YouTube videos from different points of view, whether music gigs or experiments for students. The platform can be web-based, and has considerable scope for expansion, said its developers.

Sixth up was a hack called Social TV Sport, an application for sports events that collects friends’ reactions on Twitter and Facebook. The idea being that people watch a match or event, while seeing friends’ status updates and tweets relating to it, displayed alongside the video window. People can also change the view of their camera from events.

The seventh hack, from Audrey and Andrei, was working with the same multi-camera code from Bemyapp partner EVS as some of the earlier hacks. But it has the fun twist of bringing in gesture controls: the viewer moves forward, backwards, left and right in front of their laptop’s camera to change the video footage’s viewpoint.

“So instead of using controls like buttons, you’re just doing gestures,” explained Andrei. They were asked who their ideal partner would be to roll out this kind of technology. “Something like talk shows or studio shows where you can have multiple cameras. Also sports,” said Andrei.

With more smart TVs building in webcams, there’s scope to use this on TVs as well as laptops. But what about multiple viewers? “Currently it looks for the closest. So it’s who has the biggest face!” he laughed.

Eighth up: a “social teletext” app from Wasabi App Factory, mixing the TV’s built-in schedule with social media. It’s an app showing what programmes are airing right now, highlighting the ones you already Like on Facebook, as well as others that are similar to them – this recommendations part has yet to be built.

You can mark programmes as ‘liked’ from within the app, which will send you a notification when one of these shows is about to start. The app also lets people tweet about what they’re watching, and read other viewers’ tweets.

The ninth hack was aimed at children, or rather the parents of children who are watching TV. It’s a TV companion – a teddy bear – which can be picked up and put down to pause and play the TV, or squeezed by kids if they’re scared by something they see. It sends an SOS message to the parent, and makes the picture smaller on-screen.

The TV Companion can also be accessed remotely when the parent isn’t in the house, alerting them to content that’s made their child scared. It can even automatically tweet the activity: “My daughter was scared of…” with video links, for fun.

The judges were asked for their first impressions of the demos. “It’s just amazingly refreshing,” said Liebel. “There’s people who might just fix TV pretty soon.” Meanwhile, Fischer was enthusiastic about the hacks using Twitter to bring in the social conversation around shows and videos.

The winner will be announced later in the day: discover them in our liveblog!


MIPCube TV Hack 2013: full hack list

1 – Mood
Christophe Dupont
Loic Guillois

A tool that detects hand clapping and laughs, and sends behavioral statistics to TV channels.

2 – Metricator
Syd Lawrence
Presents the most shared videos on social networks and eliminates the shows who bought tweets (cheaters). How does it work ? Compare the number of retweets and the number of times videos were actually watched on the website (mostly on Youtube)

3 – Face message
Gabriele De Gennaro
Mobile app which sends smileys or photos to your friends live, during a TV show.

4 – Twitter Timelord
Adam Howard
While watching catch-up TV, see the same twitter feed as when the show was broadcast on TV.

5 – Sefotecs Qs
Jonathan Bar-Magen Numhauser
Alvaro Sola Soria

Helps you choose videos taken from different vantage points to see an action from a better angle at a specific time.

6 – Social Tv sports
Guillaume & Sebastien Teillet
Helps you watch a sports event with different cameras and link tweets to the corresponding cameras

7 – Reactive vidéo player
Audrey Martel
Andrei Gheorghe

Changes the vantage point in accordance with the moves you make in front of your TV.

8 – SoGo
David Shaikh
José María Larrea Pérez-Lobo

Visual recommendation system that presents TV shows we like and which are similar to those we like on Facebook, all contained in a mobile app. What’s more : comments creation and aggregation on Twitter.

9 – TV Companion
Wesa Aapro
Your child’s Teddy Bear becomes your indicator : it controls the play/stop functions and stops the video if the child is scared. All that, while sending an e-mail, tweet or push to warn the parents.


About Author

Stuart Dredge is a freelance journalist, and a regular contributor to Music Ally, The Week Junior, and more... including MIPBlog :)

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