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Sentab Delivers A New Concept Among TV Media Streaming Devices: InTouchTV

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The basic idea behind Sentab is to offer connectivity to the entire family, but combining the most used platforms such as smartphones, tablets and PC-s with the platform, that has been the most underused for communications – TV. Below is our interview with Tarmo Pihl, CEO at Sentab:


Q: What inspired you to create Sentab?

A: Sentab was born from the personal experiences of the founders. Both, my fellow co-founder and I had a similar problem of trying to keep in touch with a few of our older family members – it seemed like the main medium for keeping in touch was a traditional phone call. This was fine however, nowadays there are so many different platforms and methods that make long distance communication much more enriching.

Being connected on any device, virtually from anywhere at any time empowers our generation to have real time conversations in a more visual form. Video conferencing is becoming a commodity and often we do not need to travel long distances for business to take care of tactical things. So why are we still in the previous century when connecting with the people who are the dearest to us? Even now, around 40% of the older adults are not online, the online revolution is something that they have not grown up with. As such, the benefits of internet and digital services do not seem to be profound to older adults, while take-up of technology in many instances poses barriers. As per Pew Research, around 80% of older adults expect someone to walk them through a particular online application to be able to use it later on their own. On the flipside, many of the applications have not been designed for simplicity and call for a previous experience in using them. Not to be overly negative – the availability of tablets and significantly improved user interfaces have helped to reduce the digital divide, but there’s still obviously a lot of room for development.

The basic idea behind Sentab is to offer connectivity to the entire family, but combining the most used platforms such as smartphones, tablets and PC-s with the platform, that has been the most underused for communications – TV, however most ubiquitous with older adults and most used by them. Sentab caters an easy to use communication and entertainment platform to empower connectivity and to align with older user needs. Apart of video calling, we offer cognitive games, communities of interest, free content, newsfeeds and media posting. So, next time when you are on a vacation you can start sharing your photos and videos immediately with all the members of your family via Sentab, or have a video call with your grandmother on her TV.

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Q: What are the main benefits offered by Sentab’s platform?

A: There are several benefits to the Sentab Platform. First, communication is made really easy. Our Android TV box uses pass-through functionality, so it basically sits between a set-top box and a TV as such it does not require manual switching between two devices. We use overlays on the set-top box content stream for accessing Sentab services. Secondly, we have unified user interfaces across all our platforms so any Sentab user can choose whatever platform he or she prefers, including but not limited to TV. The most profound benefit is that from now on you are able to include every person from a family into a social circle without allowing the digital divide to kick-in due to the fact that someone is not on Facebook or Whatsapp. Neither of these popular apps are that popular with older adults, and therefore sharing a media is actually a big problem between generations.

Q: You’ve recently announced the release of the SentabTV digital media player; can you tell us what inspired this device’s creation?

A: Older adults spend on average between 4-5 hours a day in front of TV. It is by any measure much larger number than usage of online devices. TV has been available for quite a while compared to tablets, representing a medium with the least barrier to entry for people who are distant from tablets and smartphones. This has motivated us to design a functional environment for TV that makes one’s TV smart and connects to the rest of the world.

SentabTV is a new concept amongst TV media streaming devices – we have expanded entertainment with social connectivity and have made it absolutely simple in use. It is an inexpensive way of powering your TV to share the latest vacation photos, allow unlimited video calls and enjoy on–demand media on a big screen. This could be a perfect gift to your older family members, who want to stay in touch, or use it as a social extension while communicating with your friends.

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Q: How does it work?

A: It is pretty much like an Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV, except it has content pass-through capability – meaning one can use it on the same source with the set-top box – and has social connectivity interface with discovery, linking and collaborative features that build a successful social network. Sentab uses a subtle notifications and reminders on the TV screen, so that any new posts and events will not go missing on its users, but at the same time will not disturb TV viewing experience.

Q: What does it cost?

A: Our apps are free of charge and available both in Google Playstore as well as Apple Store. Sentab TV costs $149 when bought on our site or via Amazon, and that includes Android TV box, HDMI cable, web camera and adapter. There are no other costs involved for our basic package.

Q: What can we expect from you in the future?

A: There are many interesting things we are involved in. One of our short term priorities is to finalise the negotiations with some of the leading OTT content providers to add them onto our social TV box. Another unique feature that is being added to Sentab TV box is a personal wellbeing index that we have called Sentab Index. Sentab Index analyses the data around social activity, memory and physical activity of its user and represents the results in a visual form. We believe that this will stimulate people to pay more attention to pro-active ways of leading their lives in order to increase their wellbeing and this will be available to customers by end of October timeframe. We are also expanding our partnerships to add third party applications onto Sentab TV box to benefit our users and provide value added services such as video conferences with a GP and caregiver, will be adding live broadcasts and voice communication capabilities.

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