TV Tech Players Take on SXSW

Plenty of cable programmers are present at SXSW this year, which kicks off today in Austin and runs until March 15. But it appears that the TV industry’s tech players also find the fest hard to resist. Aereo, Google, Roku and CableLabs are a few of the companies with a presence. Here’s what they have planned.
 
Aereo
 
The over-the-air service provider isn’t backing down, despite a pending Supreme Court case against it filed by broadcasters. And with the service launching in Austin this week, SXSW is the perfect marketing and networking platform for it.
 
It’s the 2nd year attending SXSW for Aereo, Virginia Lam, vp of communications and government relations told us. “Every year, SXSW brings together technologists, artists, policy makers and entrepreneurs…It’s a great opportunity for our team to engage with that community and tell the story of our technology,” she said. It’s also an opportunity to meet with “a wide range of stakeholders that you normally wouldn’t have access to,” she said.
 
To kick things off, the company is hosting 2 full days of events on March 8 and 9. During a “Surf the Airwaves Party,” or as the invite says, “#SurfParty,” CEO Chet Kanojia will sit down with Re/code’s Peter Kafka for an intimate rooftop chat about the company, the future of television, the cloud and Aereo’s upcoming date with the Supreme Court. Kanojia will also join “New York Tech Meet Up” for its Austin demo day, showcasing Aereo’s cloud-based individual antenna and DVR technology.
 
Google
 
With its deployment of fiber networks in Austin, Google wouldn’t miss the party either. The company is hosting a “Google Fiber Meet Up” and put together a panel focusing on the process, dynamics and impact of the fiber project in the city.
 
Roku
 
The Roku Streaming Lounge at SXSW will be the 1st place to see the new Roku Streaming Stick in action, before the Chromecast-like dongle becomes available in retail stores in April. Also at the lounge, guests can meet the cast of Hulu’s new original series “Deadbeat,” mingle with ESPN football analyst/former NFL star Robert Smith, WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter, and Mindy Kaling of “The Mindy Project” on Fox.
 
Sportvision
 
As part of the brand new SXsports programming at SXSW, Sportvision CEO Hank Adams will discuss the future of sports as more TVs are connected to the Internet. The company, working with major sports leagues and college football broadcasters, provides various TV viewing enhancements to pro sporting events.
 
SXsports was added as a new component of the annual event. According to Rebecca Feferman, head of Film Media Relations & Programmer, “the world of sports truly hits the sweet spot of SXSW, the vital intersection of entertainment and technology, and we intend to approach it with the same forward-thinking and culturally relevant perspective we shine on all of our events.” SXsports features events like a book signing by Nate Silver, editor-in-chief of ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight blog, social media happy hours and an overtime party sponsored by Fox Sports.
 
CableLabs
 
Conquering SXSW, which consists of more than 1,000 sessions, could be tough. That’s why CableLabs put together a list of sessions, workshops and events that may be of interest to its members. Events worth checking out include “Building the Future with Gigabit Apps,” “One on One with Mark Cuban,” “SXSW Accelerator: Entertainment & Content Tech,” and “TV or Not TV? Defining Networks in the Digital Age” (featuring ESPN/Disney pres/co-chairman John Skipper, among others). Let the party begin.

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