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First view of concept interface

A new way of watching television and video was presented for the first time at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. It was conceived by informitv in conjunction with Craftwork, which developed the prototype in just a few weeks, based on its LUNA user experience engine.

The Mercury concept interface combines smart channels and playlists to create a custom viewing experience. The prototype, running on a low-cost Android TV box, was presented as a live demonstration in a session on “Rethinking the Television User Experience” in the Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference at NAB.

William Cooper of informitv explained that the premise of the prototype was that viewers are often already familiar with what they want to watch and generally have a range of programmes that they regularly enjoy.

The idea is to allow viewers to select such shows in advance, based on their particular preferences, so that when viewing they are only presented with programmes that they might want to watch, retaining the flow of the television experience.

Mercury concept - viewers screen - offers multiple viewing profiles.

Attendees saw how different viewer profiles provide channels and playlists that are relevant to those watching. Programmes were chosen using only Up, Down, Left, Right and Select actions on a simple remote control, without having to wade through a sea of irrelevant options.

The whole experience was seamlessly presented through a series of smooth transitions contributing to the fluid televisual impression.

Mercury concept - transitions screen - shows coming up in the current playlist.

Although it employs web standards, rather than using a markup language and browser designed for rendering documents, LUNA provides an application programming interface that deals directly with accelerated graphics functions and the underlying operating environment.

The product of over a decade of experience in developing applications for limited hardware like set-top boxes, LUNA allows sophisticated user experiences to be created with the convenience of JavaScript while providing performance usually associated with native compiled applications.

LUNA is already deployed with leading pay television services and is available as a licensed software toolkit to allow companies to develop their own user experiences.