Apple has acquired video recommendation site, Matcha.tv, as competition for the living room from over-the-top players heats up.
The acquisition was for a rumored sum of between $1 million and $1.5 million, according to VentureBeat.
The two-year-old service provided content aggregation, allowing customers to watch the movie of their choice on various channels such as iTunes, Amazon or Netflix.
It appears that this was the reason for the service going dark in late-May, which we first reported on. Matcha co-founder and CEO, Guy Piekarz, told us at the time that this was in order to work on a “new direction” for the service.
That new direction, it seems, is bad news for existing Matcha users. The company website says that the service has been shut down, with all customer data deleted.
Matcha’s technology brings to Apple TV the kind of smarts that other technology companies have been boasting about recently. Microsoft, for one, has been reorienting its Xbox away from a pure gaming play to include TV offerings like Hulu and Netflix, as it tries to anchor Xbox’s role in the living room.
The company’s upcoming next-gen Xbox One will takes this to the next level, allowing personalized recommendations, as well as content aggregation. A home viewer will be able to say “watch Arrested Development”, for example, and the service will pick and pull up the TV show automatically.
Nintendo’s newest Wii generation, the Wii U, also aims to replace cable boxes and smart TVs. Its free TVii service, launched late 2012, has an on-demand streaming TV service, pulling in content across various providers including DVR, live TV and online providers.
It allows users to search online video sources as well as cable subscriptions for shows they want to watch, similar to what Matcha did. The impressive thing about TVii is its ability to track what you’ve watched, and even pair it with another user at home, allowing TV shows recommend to couples to watch together, for example.
Alibaba has roped in a group of Chinese manufacturers to build Alibaba OS-equipped TVs, and users will be able to use their phones to control their TVs and buy video content (and possibly physical items from Alibaba’s other e-commerce sites like Taobao).
Purchased content won’t just be for the living room; users will be able to stream that to their mobile phones so they can watch their TV on the go too, Alibaba said.
The mobile play is key, especially to Asia. Chinese search giant, Baidu, purchased Chinese video provider, PPS, for $370 million in May, making its iQiyi video platform the country’s largest video site. At last count, iQiyi reported a 200 million monthly mobile viewership.
According to comScore metrics from August 2012, Chinese viewers watched 4.1 billion hours of Web video in the month alone.
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