The ‘Out of the Box’ TV Challenge is calling for developers and designers to rethink the way we watch television. Companies including Google, Freeview and Channel 4 are supporting the free weekend workshop in London that promises to change the way we think about the television viewing experience. Individuals and teams are invited to participate in the competition to demonstrate new ideas, based on existing products or services, practical prototypes, or simply bold creative concepts.
The convergence of television and the internet, the emergence of smart televisions, smartphones and tablets, and the availability of new open standards are opening up the world of television and enabling new opportunities for fresh thinking, out of the box.
The ‘Out of the Box’ TV Challenge is designed to allow anyone, from students, home hobbyists and small companies, to teams from within the television, creative and technology industries, to get involved and demonstrate their creative thinking and technical abilities. Over the weekend they will develop and present concepts or prototypes intended to explore what the future television viewing experience could look like.
“We are looking for bold concepts, event if they do not conform to industry norms,” said William Cooper, the chairman of the judging panel and the chief executive of informitv and editor of Connected Vision.
The idea is to allow developers and designers to produce a prototype or presentation over the weekend that challenges traditional thinking about how we view television, in terms of content, presentation or interaction.
“We have already received interest from teams from some major players but we are also encouraging groups of enthusiasts, students, software and hardware hackers to get involved,” said Will Neale, the chief executive of Showcaster TV, one of the local companies in the TV Triangle initiative involved in organizing the event.
That might involve bringing along home-brew hardware, developing apps on second screens, or using web technologies to create new types of experiences.
The availability of inexpensive hardware, open source software, powerful software development kits and application programming interfaces means the barriers to entry are lower than ever.
For the less technically inclined, it could simply involve creating a compelling presentation of a concept, without worrying about the technology.
The event is free to participants, but numbers are limited. Individuals can participate in their own right or by joining teams at the event. Collaborations between organisations and companies are also welcome.
Experienced mentors will be available to offer advice. A wide variety of consumer electronics products will be available to explore and test ideas. There will also be refreshments provided to keep the creativity flowing over the 48-hour period.
Creators will retain ownership of anything they produce but there will be opportunities to showcase concepts to industry professionals.
The judges include representatives of the BBC, Channel 4 and Google, among other industry professionals. Judging categories include hardware, software, design and presentation. The best ideas will receive awards, rewards and industry recognition. They could even result in a commission.
‘Out of the Box’ is a non-profit initiative organised by TV Triangle, an informal networking forum for the television industry that promotes co-operation around creativity and technology innovation.
The ‘Out of the Box’ event will take place at iBurbia Studios in Chiswick, West London, with facilities generously donated by Decipher and Workspace, over the weekend of 22-24 March 2013. Further information and registration form are available here