Anthony Rose, who rose to prominence by re-launching the BBC iPlayer and went on to become the chief technology officer of YouView, is now betting on a new startup to bring social recommendation to television. He has re-emerged as the co-founder and chief technology officer of tBone TV, and he has attracted some of the software team from YouView to work with him.
He left YouView, the joint venture between the BBC and other broadcasters and broadband service providers, after just eight months in December 2010. An Accenture consultant replaced him as head of technical delivery, as it became increasingly apparent that the launch of the YouView platform was behind schedule.
Meanwhile, a range of network connected televisions are already bringing services such as the BBC iPlayer direct to the main living room screen, with millions expected to be sold in Britain this year. Anthony Rose clearly sees this as an opportunity for a startup.
He was recently quoted in the Guardian as saying: “Success will come for the service that is pervasive across all platforms.” He said: “There is still space for somebody to create a cool consumer proposition that is not only about content but connectivity and social TV.” He has described tBone as a new platform that turns live television into a two-way, social viewing experience.
The chief architect at tBone TV is Alex Nunes, formerly head of systems at YouView and previously head of media services for BBC iPlayer. He is joined by one of the technical architects of YouView who is working in the same role on the new venture, together with a software engineer who also worked on YouView.
Currently in stealth mode, the company is based near Old Street, known as the Silicon Roundabout of London because of the proliferation of web technology companies in the area.
Before being appointed to the BBC as head of digital media technology in October 2007, Anthony Rose was chief technology officer at Altnet, which was associated with the file-sharing network Kazaa.
He made his name by re-launching the BBC iPlayer, streaming programmes using Adobe Flash, and did much to pioneer the development of the platform, including the introduction of social recommendation features. He was closely associated with the development of Project Canvas, which went on to become YouView, a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva.
Anthony Rose has said in the past that in an ideal world there would be a television that knows what he wants, with only one channel, a Channel Me that understands the personal preferences of the viewer and recommendations from their social network. At the BBC he also advanced the rather disconcerting prospect of a news bulletin personalised to the individual interests of the viewer.
As for the name tBone TV, we’re not sure what it means, but T-bone is a popular term for a broadside or side-impact collision. With broadband and broadcast on a collision course, television may not know what hit it.