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Apple wins engineering Emmy for streaming TV tech

updated 01:10 am EST, Fri January 11, 2013

Likely related to QuickTime, cloud infrastructure

Apple has been awarded a special Technology and Engineering Emmy Award at the 63rd annual Technical Emmys award ceremony in Las Vegas. The company has previous won two other technical Emmy awards, one for the Firewire networking protocol in 2001 and another for Final Cut Pro software in 2002. The new one is being given for an "Eco-system for Real Time Presentation of TV Content to Mobile Devices without the use of Specialized Television Hardware."

What precisely the description refers to is less clear, but is likely related to the company's QuickTime streaming technology along with its cloud services infrastructure, which for example allows movies or videos stored on iCloud to be streamed onto users' mobile devices without any special software requirements beyond a cellular or Wi-Fi Internet connection. The award, presented in a non-televised ceremony at the Bellagio Ballroom, is "presented to an individual, company, or to a scientific or technical organization for developments and/or standardization involved in engineering technologies which either represent an extensive improvement on existing methods, or are so innovative in nature that they materially have affected the transmission, recording, or reception of television."

Apple's work in making first movie trailers and later podcasts, TV shows, movies and other media available on its mobile devices has, along with the work of other companies and its streaming partner Akamai, changed television and movie viewing habits and built an infrastructure that makes it easy for app developers to incorporate streaming video -- even live television -- into their apps, all without relying on Adobe's Flash technology, previously positioned as the de facto delivery system for streaming video.

The transformation of television into something that can be viewed on demand or in real-time on a smartphone or tablet has been largely accomplished so seamlessly that modern users are completely unaware of the technical challenges that precluded widespread distribution of streaming or live video prior to the past few years. QuickTime Streaming Server, combined with cloud technology and other advances such as Apple's HTTP-based live streaming (which works around common firewall or wireless router settings, making the entire experience much more reliable) have allowed video viewing to become a common part of the mobile web experience.

by MacNN Staff



  1. jpadhiyar

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-16-12

    This is cool. Far away from the maddening crowd that keeps talking about maps, cloud, iTunes, trade design, patents and stuff, this news comes as a really interesting thing to read. And learn how Apple slowly changes the way you think of consumer electronics.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    Apple deserves it. Apple makes it user friendly across all devices and computers versus the other guys are full of confusion and geek-oriented only. Microsoft Media Center..... R.I.P.

  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    How about text?

    It's all well and good for Apple to win an award for something that entertains us, but I'd like to see them win an award for making easier what most of us do all the time--work with text.

    They could start with OS X's woeful, built-in spell-checker, surely the worst of the planet since the demise of those ancient DOS spell checkers. It's look-up function is dreadful. About a third of the time it flags an unknown word, it either can't suggest a possibility or offer the right one. Even single-letter transpositions or a single missing letter leave it clueless.

    As a result, I'm forced to do what I do half-a-dozen times a day, cut-and-paste that word into a Google search. Some 95% of the time, Google not only recognizes the misspelling, as the first choice it comes up with the precise word that has the right spelling.

    If Google can do spelling lookup right as merely an accessory to their search engine, why can't Apple, with $120 billion in cash reserves, toss a little money toward improving its own spell-check features?

    And, while they're at it, there's a host of other text-related features they could add. The text capabilities on my iMac are little different from those on the Wordstar that came with my Kaypro circa 1983. Microsoft Word, for instance, got named paragraph and character styles, necessary for any document more complex than a business memo, about 1987. OS X in 2013 still doesn't have them.

    It's like there is this strange time warp in Cupertino where everyone seems to think that the WordStar of their youth was the ultimate in text-handling down to those clumsy rulers and an obsession with the formatting of text (fonts and font size) rather than the actual meaning of that text, i.e. a second-level heading.

  1. lkrupp

    Junior Member

    Joined: 05-13-01

    Que the iHaters...

    ...who will claim that Apple didn't deserve this award because xyz's set top box has done this for years, iTunes is a miserable piece of doo-doo, and that all of Hollywood is on the take from Apple. :stick:

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 09-17-99

    Originally Posted by InklingView Post

    And, while they're at it, there's a host of other text-related features they could add. The text capabilities on my iMac are little different from those on the Wordstar that came with my Kaypro circa 1983. Microsoft Word, for instance, got named paragraph and character styles, necessary for any document more complex than a business memo, about 1987. OS X in 2013 still doesn't have them.

    Why are you asking for an operating system to have features that are more suited a word processor. Where do you want to apply character and paragraph styles in OS X?

    And what does any of this have to with them winning an Emmy for streaming video?

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    Pointing out what one perceives as shortcomings, in an article recognizing areas of excellence, is not an entirely unreasonable place to go. Just mostly.

    As to the spell check, maybe you should take it up with the New Oxford American Dictionary people.
    I've had Google suggest alternate spellings for things I typed in exactly as I wanted to search for. Slightly annoying, but whatever.

    As to character formatting, and styles, use a plain text editor for content. Use a real publishing application for formatting. I worked in publishing for quite a while, and maintain connections with people that still do it. A major peeve that publishing folk have with content providers is that everyone thinks they're formatting in Word, or what have you, is beautiful and that it will just seamlessly work in a real publishing environment. No. It's ugly, and usually needs all formatting stripped before it can be set up in a real publishing app. :brick:

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Inkling: the spell-checker built into OS X is meant to be a standard consumer-grade utility, and on that level it works well (and is generally better than the one in Windows, at least Win 7). A professional writer would naturally need something more advanced, and so I'm surprised you haven't done so (such as Spell Catcher or Grammarian Pro as examples.

    Flying Meat: Amen!!

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