There’s no denying Slingbox owners love to watch their favorite sports teams on TV, tablet, smartphone, PC or Mac wherever they are. With Slingbox, we empower our customers to watch their home TV and their home sports teams anywhere, but sometimes they need to be reminded when to tune in.
Through a new partnership with Thuuz Sports, we came up with a great joint solution. With the Thuuz app and SlingPlayer app on your Android phone, users will receive notifications from Thuuz when the excitement level is peaking during games involving their favorite teams. Want to watch the game? Simply tap on the SlingPlayer link and instantly tune into the action. Users can access the game quickly without fumbling through channels, guides or directories. Thuuz gives Slingbox owners one-touch accessibility to the most exciting games, right at their fingertips.
Thuuz is also available for iOS users, but the SlingPlayer integration for iPhone is coming this summer.
To give you a better idea of what Thuuz is about and how Slingbox and SlingPlayer are being incorporated, Warren Packard, CEO of Thuuz, answered a few questions for us – Q&A-style:
Sling: What is Thuuz all about?
Warren: Thuuz is enabling personalized sports entertainment by building a platform for real-time discovery and recommendations around live and upcoming sports events so that fans – whether they’re avid or casual fans – get notified about really exciting games that are taking place or upcoming. We also build a directory or guide of the most exciting games that are in progress or upcoming as well, whether a fan wants to get that information pushed to them or they want to pull from a guide. We’re able to understand your level of avidity — how avid of a fan you are, whether you’re a fanatic, enthusiast or a casual fan.
Sling: What is Thuuz’ basic service and how is it delivered?
Warren: Thuuz delivers real-time ratings and headlines. Ratings indicate the excitement level of games and headlines provide context. If you pull up a guide, you’ll see ratings that are personalized for your interests, so not everybody’s ratings will be the same. If you’re a fan of the Giants, you’ll receive a rating that will be different from non-fans. Every rating has a headline that indicates what, at that moment, is the most intriguing thing about the game that’s taking place – whether it’s an upset, a comeback, individual athletic performance or whatever best characterizes the excitement at that moment.
Sling: How did Sling and Thuuz hook up?
Warren: Sling was born out of the passion of sports fans who wanted to watch their sports wherever they were and the frustration of trying to find your local team while they were on the road. Or, they might be a displaced fan from Chicago, living in California, who couldn’t watch the Cubs, Bears or Blackhawks. Obviously, Slingbox can placeshift any content, but the core audience was comprised of sports fans. We realized that, between Thuuz and Sling, there’s an overlap in demographics, not to mention a shared synergy.
The other thing we wanted to address is how Thuuz and Sling can work together to get the most out of placeshifting. Appointment viewers who love sports will know when to watch their favorite team on TV. But if they’re in a different location — on a business trip, on vacation, at a friend’s house or they’re a displaced fan — they might forget to tune in. Thuuz is there for you – and so is Sling. Our platform as a whole is going to drive greater usage of your Slingbox because you’ll receive notifications as well as instant access through SlingPlayer. You’re reminded by Thuuz. You’re enabled by Slingbox. It’s the perfect marriage.
Sling: How does the Thuuz and SlingPlayer integration work?
Warren: It’s simple. When Thuuz notifies you of an exciting game that’s on TV, a “Watch on SlingPlayer” button will appear. With a single tap, you can watch that game instantly – via your Slingbox – without a second thought. When you use Thuuz to find games on your own without being notified, you’ll receive the same experience.
Sling: What was the inspiration behind Thuuz?
Warren: Like many ideas, they are born out of frustration and need. I’ve got four kids. I’m pretty busy taking care of them. I found myself watching fewer sports events and just missing out on really great games. I was thinking, there’s got to be a service out there that could actually tell me when a game gets really exciting, that I should tune in and how to tune in. I looked around and there wasn’t anything out there that was monitoring sports from a subjective perspective. Thuuz is not only for somebody like me who’s super-busy and doesn’t want to miss an exciting game, but for huge fans that don’t have the time or bandwidth to keep track of 60 games going on simultaneously on a Saturday. Customized notifications and a directory that always informs you of the most exciting games on TV and how to tune in is a big help.
Sling: What does “Thuuz” refer to?
Warren: It’s short for “enthusiasm” or “enthusiast.” People would ask me if I’m a sports fanatic. I could never answer yes because I wasn’t that person who knew all the statistics and everything going on at all times. You know those people, but that wasn’t me. I would always say, “I’m not a fanatic. I’m an enthusiast.” Meaning, I love a great game. I would rather watch a really exciting game involving two random teams than watch a boring game involving one of my favorite teams. Take the baseball season. There are 162 games per team. Not all of them are exciting. I just want to be there when something exciting happens. If the Warriors are crushing another team by 30 points, to be honest, I’d rather watch another game. I don’t watch tennis any other time than during the four Majors. Because of the emotion, context and hype, I want to watch. I’m not a fanatic. I’m an enthusiast who wants that entertainment value.
Sling: Beyond the entertainment value, what makes you want to watch sports on TV?
Warren: For me, it’s the adrenaline rush. There’s nothing like sports in terms of suspense and surprise. Every day, every competition is written anew. You never know how it’s going to play out. You never know who the hero is going to be. The suspense and surprise are absolutely pure. There are a number of sports that you can tune into during the last 10 or 15 minutes of the game and feel all the emotion as if you watched the entire game. It’s the last bastion of real-time content.
Thuuz provides personalized, editorial content that you can’t get anywhere else. When you go to a concert, a play or a movie, you know you’re going to be entertained. With sports, there’s no guarantee. That’s why I love what we’re doing because we’re measuring the subjectivity of sports, which is such a huge part of sports and yet no one else is doing it. There’s so many statistics that are about objective metrics. Sports are so much about emotion and subjectivity. We’re applying algorithms that are usually applied to objectivity and we’re making it subjective, which is adding a whole new dimension to sports entertainment.