PHD's New Tube goes global – TiVo comes to London!

Yesterday you may have noticed that I was looking particularly stressed. This was due to a large amount of IT aggro, as I embarked on connecting New Tube’s PC to a new PHD initiative: The Slingbox Directory…


For those who haven’t heard of the Slingbox, it is a neat Toblerone shaped device that connects to your TV set-top box (e.g. Sky, Virgin, Freeview etc) and broadband. Once connected you can then log onto your Slingbox, via a PC with Slinplayer software downloaded on it and the Internet, and watch your TV wherever you may be.  

New Tube, PHD’s media lab, has been using Slingbox technology for over a year now to gain access to Virgin TV and Tiscali TV. This has meant that PHD has been able to witness ad innovations on TV platforms before any other agency; eg the launch of Disney Travel’s branded content on Virgin last August and the recent launch of Honda TV on BT Vision. It seemed therefore a logical step forward to extend our ‘Slingbox directory’ globally, allowing us to access TV platforms abroad and experience ad innovations that are happening around the world. After a succession of wretched error messages and telephone calls to our New York office, yesterday we connected to the mother of TV innovation – a US TiVo box!


Although TiVo is often cited as being the evil destroyer of the TV spot, for being the first mass appeal PVR, out of all the TV services across the world it is the most innovative in its ad products. For example, on TiVo you can not only view branded content (or free bite-sized entertainment ) in a dedicated ‘Showcases’ area on-demand, like yu can on Virgin and BT, but you can also buy products featured in TV shows via Amazon, subscribe to downloadable product information (ie if you are in the market to buy a car), view recipe and


financial and other lifestyle tips, share photos and chat with friends. They have even introduced advertising solutions using PVR functionality: when you fast forward through an ad break a pop up can appear (see below and the example from Volvo) to notify you about an advertisers’ showcase channel, and when you pause your TV it even asks you whether you want to order a pizza from Dominos.


The intention is to keep building the Slingbox directory so that the entire PHD Network will have access to the most innovative TV services in the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. I’ll let you know as and when a slingbox pops up in a new country; hopefully retaining my sanity after the international IT blitz that is to come… In the meantime, do let me know if you want a quick demo of US TiVo.