The television companion platform zeebox will integrate Gracenote Entourage automatic content recognition into its iOS and Android applications. That will enable the identification of what show is being watched, whether live or time-shifted, to deliver a synchronized second-screen experience. It gives zeebox similar capabilities to other apps using audio recognition, such as Shazam.

Gracenote Entourage uses advanced audio fingerprinting to let apps on smartphones and tablets identify television programmes and movies based on a few seconds of the dialogue or soundtrack.

This will allow zeebox, which has so far been focused on live television, to offer an interactive and synchronized experience for programming recorded on a home digital video recorder.

“The ability for zeebox to automatically deliver social and information experiences synchronized to the show you’re watching — whether it be live or time-shifted — will form part of a very exciting upcoming zeebox release,” Anthony Rose, the co-founder and chief technology office of zeebox told informitv.

“Real-time data about what’s hot and trending now is key to the zeebox discovery experience, and Gracenote Entourage will make it fun and easy for viewers to identify and share what they are watching,” said Stephen White, the president of Gracenote.

Gracenote Entourage includes the ability to “always listen” and actively identify what is playing throughout a broadcast. It will work equally well if the programming has been previously recorded, allowing zeebox to act as a companion for time-shifted viewing.

British company zeebox recently announced a strategic alliance with Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal, among others, offering the first such endorsement by major media companies of a cross-channel, television companion application. It recently added support for the remote control of 20 million Comcast set-top boxes in the United States, with additional cable and satellite providers to come.

Gracenote started out as a database of compact discs that continues to serve applications such as Apple iTunes. The company was acquired by Sony in 2008 for $260 million and is a wholly owned independent subsidiary of the Sony Corporation of America.

The deal with Gracenote offers zeebox similar capabilities to Shazam, IntoNow and Viggle. Other companies offering automatic content recognition include Audible Magic and Civolution.

Ultimately, automatic identification and synchronisation services may be built into television platforms, but in the meantime there is useful space for the likes of zeebox to occupy and build partnerships with platform providers.