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.