Apple iTV: 10 essential apps it must have to succeed

These are the services it needs

5 PlayUp

playup

Given that the SuperBowl and Olympics bring in record numbers of TV viewers every time they are shown, sport is not a bad niche for a TV app to tap into. Working over nine sports from 194 countries, the app lets you exchange messages in real time while a game is on. It's a silo from Twitter and the like but this is no bad thing as it offers a number of ways to enhance the way you watch your sport – bringing the perfect forum to pitch in about what is happening on the pitch.

6 Shazam

Shazam

Given that Shazam now recognises audio from 10 channels in the US, the social discovery app is perfect for Apple. Like GetGlue, every time it is used the data is logged so channel and show popularity can be seen in real time. And then there's the Shazam effect for adverts.

If Apple managed to use Shazam in a way to gamify advertising, so people actually watch the annoying bits in between shows rather than fast-forward, then dollar signs will soon appear.

7 Plex

Plex

Plex already works well with Apple's devices (through a clever DNS interruption) but it would work even better if it was deeply integrated into Apple TV. Apple has never really liked its users to use any format that they want to view video so it's up to clients such as Plex to make sure whatever your media library consists of it plays nicely with an iDevice.

And in turn, this would make Apple's TV the ultimate place for all your media needs – no matter what pipe they come through.

8 IMDB

IMDB

Amazon may hold the keys to IMDB but it is Apple that should seriously think about snapping up the film and TV database. The sheer amount of data available about pretty much every actor and actress who has ever been on film would marry well with the ultimate television setup.

Instead of being on a second screen IMDB could revolutionise Apple's EPG with relevant information and a glut of recommendations - much like how Virgin Media's TiVo box delves into actor profiles. Given that you can now also buy movie tickets through the service, this would mean that Apple could rule your viewing even when your eyes are transfixed on its television set.

No wonder Amazon is rumoured to be making its own set-top box. With services such as IMDB in its family, it could be a serious TV contender – something Apple can snuff out with one swift but pricey purchase.

9 Opera

Opera

It may be best known for its mobile and desktop browsers but Opera may soon take the Smart TV market by stealth. The company already has an SDK for televisions that Panasonic and others are using, which means that 50 million or so devices are operating Opera for their Smart TV setups.

Some technology it is bringing to market, which Apple could do with, is seamless side-by-side app and TV connectivity and it is busy working on ways to bring the millions it is making in ad revenue through its browsers to television.

10 Gracenote Now TV sync

Gracenote Now TV sync

Gracenote is already the hidden power behind iTunes. It's thanks to them that you don't have to type the name of every track you upload to the service. Gracenote has recently moved the focus of its data banks to televisions, offering an API that brings information about your favourite shows to a second-screen app.

At the moment, the app offers unofficial information about shows but the power of Gracenote's audio fingerprinting is what should be of interest to Apple – imagine this combined with IMDB's database and you will never want to turn your television off again.

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