Norway’s Sumo TV showcases Windows 8 features

One of the mainstays of the European online TV landscape, the Vimond Media Platform-powered TV 2 Sumo, has become one of the first to launch an app optimised for Windows 8.

TV 2 Sumo, which has a huge online sport presence, has just reached 100,000 subscribers after almost a decade in existence and is the largest commercial online video service in Norway. Impressively enough, and somewhat bucking the European trend, since introducing a subscription model the number of customers logging in has grown each year. The launch of a Windows 8 app is part of the strategy of keeping it ahead of the pack too.

“The market has been flooded with a wide range of new devices since we first launched TV 2 Sumo,” says Eva Iselin Husby, head of the service. “It’s important for us to meet our users where they are, and that means not only accommodating the devices they use, but also the latest systems that power those devices. By making Sumo compatible with Windows 8, we’re ensuring it will keep pace with innovation in the market.”

The service has been powered internally by a version of the Vimond Media Platform since it started, though Vimond itself wasn’t spun out of TV 2 as a separate entity until early 2011. “Several other leading broadcasters across the region are now also using the Vimond Media Platform to power their online programming. Vimond is the preferred online video platform in the Nordics, and the company is receiving traction worldwide,” comments Helge Høibraaten, CEO of the company.

Vimond built the app together with its partner Knowit. “The Vimond Media Platform is built so that we can create applications easily and efficiently,” says Høibraaten. “This includes building new frameworks, as in this case, or when building new applications in Vimond’s extensive app suite. The Windows 8 app uses natively supported XAML and is based on video distribution in smooth streaming and PlayReady.”

PlayReady is Microsoft’s new DRM content protection system and deploying it has interesting advantages for Sumo. “Win 8 supports DRM , something iOS not does natively support, and we can therefore offer the same content as we do via Silverlight on Web. Windows 8 also supports profiles so that several users can use same device, which is also something users can’t do on iOS and Android,” says Høibraaten.

Behind the scenes, the Vimond Media Platform enables a centralised workflow that allows TV 2 Sumo to make services available for viewing on any IP-enabled device owned by a subscriber from the same workflow. After downloading the appropriate client app, subscribers can then use the same username and password to log in to the service across multiple devices.

The main difference with the Win8 flavour of the app as far as end users will be aware is that the team has been able to leverage some of the UI’s new features. “What is unique with the Windows 8 app is the navigation system that Windows 8 requires semantic zoom, snapped view, and other Windows 8 specific adjustments,” adds Høibraaten. “Windows 8 supports many different formats such as  the kitchen TV/PC, hybrid laptop, laptop with touch, tablet, Xbox and so on. Windows 8 could therefore be seen as a total OTT solution regardless of where and when it’s used. And premium sports, especially soccer, across all devices is a killer app here in Norway.”

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