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Motorola Dreams Up a Sweeter TV Interface

Motorola Dreams Up a Sweeter TV Interface

Motorola Mobility's DreamGallery is a TV interface that allows cable providers to tailor offerings to users' preferences. However, cable companies "are very slow with new technology and tend to break it, so I wouldn't hold my breath for this to show up within 12 months, or for it to initially look as good as it could," said analyst Rob Enderle.

By Richard Adhikari
05/23/12 2:54 PM PT

Motorola Mobility this week unveiled its DreamGallery video navigation software for content providers at a cable industry trade show.

DreamGallery lets users search hundreds of channels in seconds, bookmark and store their favorite content in one place, and discover new content tailored to their preferences.

It's written in HTML5, so it will offer a consistent user interface across connected TVs, PCs and mobile devices, Motorola Mobility claims.

Content providers can tailor offerings to users' preferences through DreamGallery. They will also be able to create and deliver merchandising and advertising easily.

"Cable providers are [Motorola Mobility's] likely initial target because they haven't shown well against [Verizon Wireless's] FiOS or [AT&T's] U-Verse in terms of user experience, although they're better in terms of bandwidth," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld. "This could help them close a significant usability gap."

"I would jump for joy to get rid of my clunky Comcast interface," said Andrew Eisner, director of community and content at Retrevo.com. "It's slow, it hangs up, it's not the friendliest environment, so I'd welcome something as slick-looking as DreamGallery."

What's a DreamGallery?

DreamGallery is a solution based on the cloud and HTML that's aimed at service providers. It lets them deliver what Motorola Mobility calls "immersive" and "personalized" TV experiences to consumers. DreamGallery has a portal server that lets service providers customize the on-screen interface to each subscriber and update it on the fly with new services, features and applications using HTML5.

Service providers can use DreamGallery's fully extensible software development kit (SDK) to develop client-side applications and customized graphical user interfaces. Users can customize a UI once for all devices regardless of the OS, Motorola Mobility claims. This lets service providers deliver a consistent user interface across connected TVs, PCs, smartphones and tablets.

It's doubtful that DreamGallery will be able to run across various OSes without needing modification, "but they should be able to get close," Enderle remarked. "They'll likely need to take into account the differences in hardware to assure an optimum experience but the work will be far less than it would be were they not using HTML5."

Still, there might be quite a bit of work involved because "there are all kinds of compatibility issues," Retrevo.com's Eisner told TechNewsWorld.

DreamGallery is part of the Motorola Medios suite of software solutions launched in 2010.

Teaming Up With the Big G

With Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility now complete, the question is how or whether DreamGallery will fit into Google TV, which will run the Android OS.

It's likely that DreamGallery will be merged into Google TV "within the next 24 months," Enderle speculated. However, he's not convinced that would be a good idea because of the "lack of success" for Google TV.

It's not clear whether Google will then restrict DreamGallery to TVs running Android. Google did not respond to our request for comment for this story.

Sweet Dreams Are Made of This?

Offering new technology is one thing; getting it accepted by the market is quite another. "I think [DreamGallery]'s interesting, but I'm skeptical about how soon or how widely it will be accepted by carriers," Retrevo.com's Eisner observed. "I'll believe it when I see it."

In fact, Motorola first showcased DreamGallery in November at the 2011 SCTE Cable-Tec Expo.

DreamGallery's success will "depend on both adoption and how badly the cable providers break it," Enderle said. Cable companies "are very slow with new technology and tend to break it, so I wouldn't hold my breath for this to show up within 12 months, or for it to initially look as good as it could."

Some cable providers in Europe are already using DreamGallery, Motorola said. Another user is Canada's Shaw Communications, which began using DreamGallery last year. Shaw used Motorola's DCX320 set-top box for services using DreamGallery.

Motorola Mobility did not respond to our request for further details.


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